Der Tölzer Knabenchor wurde im Jahr 1956 von Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden ins Leben gerufen und zählte wenige Jahre nach seiner Gründung bereits zu den gefragtesten und vielseitigsten Knabenchören. Die Tölzer leisteten mit wegweisenden Interpretationen insbesondere auf dem Gebiet der Barockmusik einen nicht unerheblichen Beitrag zum Wandel der musikalischen Aufführungspraxis. Tölzer Solisten übernahmen die Knabenpartien an den führenden Opern- und Konzerthäusern Europas. Der Chor ist ebenso gefragt bei Aufführungen großer oratorischer und symphonischer Werke mit renommierten Orchestern und Dirigenten. Künstlerpersönlichkeiten wie Carl Orff, August Everding, Hans Werner Henze, Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt und Claudio Abbado zähl(t)en zu den Förderern des Chores. Herbert von Karajan bezeichnete den Tölzer Knabenchor seinerzeit sogar als "einen der besten Chöre der Welt".

Mittwoch, 2. Oktober 1996

Neue Aufnahme: Bachs Messe in h-Moll

hyperion CDD22051/ CDA67201/2
J.S.BACH: Messe in h-Moll BWV 232

Matthias Ritter, Manuel Mrasek, Knabensopran
Maximilian Fraas, Matthias Schloderer, Knabenalt
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Tenor
Michael George, Bass
Tölzer Knabenchor
The King's Consort

Aufnahme 27. September - 02. Oktober 1996
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden

Sopran: Peter Feierlein, Klaus von Gleissenthal, Christoph Härtl, Maximilian Hinz, Wolfgang Kick, Georg Kreiter, Wolfgang Fink, Stefan Meier, Franz Mittermaier, Florian Moser, Manuel Mrasek, Stefan Pangratz, Matthias Ritter, Tilmann Straßer
Alt: Andreas Burkhart, Maximilian Fraas, Tristan Franke, X-------x X.......x, Felix Lehner, Peter Leininger, Robert Meyndt, Matthias Schloderer, Wolfgang Strube

Robert King begründet den Einsatz von Knabenstimmen, und insbesondere der Tölzer Knaben, für diese Aufnahme wie folgt:

"We know that Bach did not use women’s voices in any of his sacred compositions: his choir at St Thomas’s Leipzig used boys’ voices on soprano and alto lines for both choruses and solos. So as much as using ‘baroque’ violins or ‘natural’ trumpets, any performance that tries to follow historical precedents must use boys’ voices in both the soprano and alto lines of the choir and in the upper-voice solos if it is to have much validity. It is true that voices broke later in the eighteenth century than they do in the twentieth (due largely to our greatly improved medical and sanitary conditions which give young bodies fewer diseases to fight, and thus allow them to grow and mature sooner), but it is fair to presume that those eighteenth-century voices also ‘strengthened’ later as well: comparison of the relative sizes of eighteenth-century children with their twentieth-century counterparts shows them to be consistently smaller and less developed physically. Bach’s best boys were probably fourteen to sixteen years old: similar twentieth-century ones tend to be twelve to fourteen. It is not unreasonable to imagine that the sound produced by both groups is fairly similar. Musicianship is not automatically ‘better’ in an older child than a younger one, for one is often astonished by the innate musicianship of a younger child over that of an older one, and (as any experienced cathedral organist will tell you) a choir and its voices can change radically over the course of just a few months – it is hard to imagine Bach having any easier a task with the cultivation of his choristers than does a twentiethcentury cathedral organist!

A much more important consideration is to use voices which produce a ‘continental’, strongly chestvoiced style of delivery, far removed from the ‘white’ head voice that is sometimes produced by English choristers, and to use not only boy sopranos but also the unique sound of boy altos. The argument that Bach’s boys possessed an enhanced musical maturity through their greater years has been advanced as a reason for not using boys’ voices at all: the substitution of women’s voices seems to be a radical one, creating a sound which Bach could not have expected to hear.
Whilst it is far harder work performing Bach’s Mass using children on choruses and solos than it is calling on experienced and technically more assured female adults, the sound of unbroken soprano voices and the astonishing timbre of boy altos is inimitable and, in the end, seems so utterly right for Bach’s music. It is this choral sound which he heard almost every day of his working life. So, whilst we would be foolish to suggest that with this recording we have got any nearer to Bach’s actual performing intentions than has anyone else, we have tried to lay in every possible store to do so."

(aus dem Booklet zur CD)

CD 1997 erschienen bei Hyperion Records