(Photos: Alexander D. Nikolić)
On Sunday afternoon of January 8th, a very special concert took place in the Collegiate Church of St. Paul. The Stiftschor (directed by Edward Münch), the Ensemble Kanti (directed by Agnes Schnabl) from Graz, the Duo SonusNovus (Edward Münch and Sabrina Maritschnig) and Stjepan Molnar on the organ repeated a concert they had already performed before Christmas, on December 10th in Graz. Upon entering the church, you could literally feel the anticipation and excitement in the air.
The program was opened to full pews by the Stiftschor. After the third song – Haendel‘s “Joy to the World” – the audience was visibly enthusiastic. When the Ensemble Kanti, with their likeable young choir director Agnes Schnabl, performed the first part of the concert from the upper level of the church and only partially visible to the audience, the attention grew with each piece. Stjepan Molnar’s organ accompaniment accentuated the singing and at times the choir’s voices were so unified that they sounded like a single instrument. The acoustic pieces performed by the duo SonusNovus were also a pleasure to listen to.
For the final part of the concert, the ensemble proceeded to the altar at the front of the church, so that their young faces and the choir director became visible to everyone. The next songs, some of which traditional Carinthian, were performed with a lot of emotion – you could see and feel how the choir director was guiding the choir with her energy and expression. After 90 minutes and the initially last song, there was a well-deserved standing ovation.
For the final piece, both choirs sang the Krumpendorfer Jodler together. When the choir director turned around and invited the audience to sing along, she had the whole church in her hand and it was full of singing. By then everyone had realized that they were experiencing something very special.