St. Helena starts with Bach, Prätorius and Rutter

New Year’s Concert in St. Helena
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Into the new year with Bach, Prätorius and Rutter

The Ensemble Niederrhein Brass made a guest appearance for the New Year’s concert in the Rheindahlen parish church. Those were the highlights of the program.

Usually there are insights into the annual program at the New Year’s concert, but due to the current planning uncertainty, promises are hardly possible, confessed church musician Reinhold Richter in greeting. The cantor should have been all the more pleased that the performance of the Niederrhein Brass ensemble announced by the support group “Geistliche Musik an St. Helena” could actually take place.

The many visitors in the parish church of St. Helena came with great anticipation in compliance with the 2G rule. They greeted the musical guests at their second guest performance in St. Helena with extremely warm applause. Under the direction of the new ensemble director Jan-Philipp Arendt, the musicians served a varied program with works by Bach, Prätorius, Rutter and other composers as well as traditionals in arrangements for “the big ten-piece cast” of brass music.

The ensemble, founded in 2002 by wind players from several Protestant trombone choirs of the YMCA district association in Moers, performed with four trumpets, horn, large tuba and four trombones. It is not possible for the audience to sing along to the selected chorales because of the pandemic, but humming along under the masks is definitely desirable, emphasized Arendt before the start. However, the majority of the visitors limited themselves to just listening.

The conductor led through the evening with explanations of the works and their surroundings. With Kilian Sander’s “Weihnachts Blech”, he chose a festive and spirited start, which found a calm counterpoint in Bach’s chorale melodies “Brich an Du schön Morgenlicht” and “Jesu bleibet meine Freude”.

Jan Matèrne, trumpeter with Niederrhein Brass, wrote some of the arrangements presented in the early evening. For example, he adapted John Rutter’s work “Look at the World”, written for four-part choir and accompaniment, for the brass section. In the original, the melody of Largos in Dvorak’s symphony “From the New World” is played by the cor anglais. In the brass section, however, the flugelhorn takes over the part, the conductor explained.

The performance showed that the recast for brass also has its appeal. With high-spirited nuances, the musicians captured the happy character of the spiritual-like song “Oh, dem golden Slippers”. They composed the English folk song “Scarborough Fair” with restraint. The concert ended with “Christmas Crackers” with a medley of Christmas themes in a cheerful, lively character with funny accents and festive sounds. The audience rewarded the guest performance with long applause. There was a truly fairytale conclusion with the “evening blessing” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera “Hansel and Gretel”.

Info Unfortunately, the memorial concert originally planned for March 6 for the bombing of Rheindahlen had to be cancelled.

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