In a joint project with the Polizeichor Frankfurt and Pro Musica Karben, we performed “Die Schöpfung” (The Creation) by Joseph Haydn in September – at the Alte Oper Frankfurt!
Taking on a huge project with non-professional choir singers was something the Rhine-Main area had not seen in decades. Six ensembles with some 260 singers joined together in mid-September, 2023, to perform Joseph Haydn’s oratorio “Die Schöpfung” / ”Creation” in Frankfurt’s premier concert hall, Alte Oper. This performance was under the patronage of the governor / Ministerpräsident of the state of Hesse, the honourable Boris Rhein. The patron of the second performance, held in the Bürgerzentrum Karben, was the chief administrative officer / Landrat of the Wetteraukreis, Herr Jan Weckler.
“Each of the six choirs represent diverse backgrounds and bring special talents to this project. From Frankfurt come both the, rich in history, Frankfurt Police Choir as well as Trinity International Concert Choir, made up of singers from 10 different nationalities. Joining from Karben Pro Musica Internationaler Chor Karben e.V. and singers of the Neue Ensemble from Büttelborn which celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Add to this, the Kinder- und Jugendchor des Peter-Cornelius-Konservatorium in Mainz and the Kinder- und Jugend choir LaCappella from Friedrichsdorf. Both youth choirs take on special rolls during the performances.
Bringing this all together are musical directors Steffen Bücher and his wife Marion E. Bücher-Herbst. The well-known soprano soloist studied at the Musikhochschule Mannheim and the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik Heidelberg der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden. She sings the solo parts of Gabriel and Eve as well as serves as the music instructor and director of the Neue Ensemble Büttelborn.
Once Bücher selected this work to perform, the various choirs quickly and enthusiastically agreed to undertake together the musical project. However the two musical directors indicated from the beginning, “We aren’t bringing this great work from the first to the very last note before the audience, but are gingerly tweaking the oratorio. Today, where our planet shows signs of being so harmed and injured, performing the work as it was during Haydn’s time without commentary appears unsuitable.” For this change from the classical presentation, the two youth choirs take on the lead to express where they see the future of our globe is headed. “Just as our children and young people ask us what kind of a world we are leaving to future generations, so will the youth choirs undertake this during the performances,” says Bücher.
Nevertheless Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece remains the core of the concerts. The music director’s plan is to have the adult choirs sing the entire first half and an almost complete second half of the work. Besides Bücher-Herbst singing the soprano solo parts, other soloists include tenor Michael Porter from Oper Frankfurt, and Thomas Faulkner (bass) for the parts of the archangels Uriel and Raphael. Steffen Bücher is conducting the Capitol Symphonie Orchester.
The second half of the concert evening begins with Haydn’s “Creation” following the end of part 2 when the youth take over in a 15 minute segment. The Mainz-based singers present Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” while LaCappella performs two new compositions to the topic of climate change which were just been premiered at Germany’s Federal Botanical Exhibition in Mannheim. Both youth choirs conclude their performances by singing works from the musical “PlastiXX”, composed by Bücher-Herbst, concerning the pollution of the earth through plastic waste. The youth will be holding a mirror before the adult world to reflect on where our planet, God’s Creation, is going and how we got to this point. This presentation concludes with all choirs singing Haydn’s great final piece of the “Creation”, “Sing the Lord, ye voices all”.”
Time and Venue
16 September 2023, 19.30 Uhr, Alte Oper Frankfurt
17 September 2023, 17.30 Uhr, Bürgerzentrum Karben
Marion E. Bücher-Herbst (soprano)
Michael Porter (tenor)
Thomas Faulkner (bass)
Trinity International Concert Choir e.V. / Polizeichor Frankfurt / Pro Musica Karben
Neues Ensemble Büttelborn / Kinder- und Jugendchöre des Peter-Cornelius-Konservatoriums Mainz sowie LaCappella Friedrichsdorf
Capitol Symphonie Orchester
Steffen Bücher (artistic director)