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Friday, April 23, 2010

Angelic vocal choir to sing Lennon, hymns

Staff writer

The "voices of the angles" are back.

News photo
Where the boys are: The Vienna Boys' Choir is coming. © WWW.LUKASBECK.COM

The Vienna Boys' Choir, the world's most famous boys' choir, will visit Japan later this month for a 25-performance nationwide tour. The choir, established in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg, initially sang exclusively for the court, performing Masses and private concerts. The choir has worked with such renowned musicians as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner.

The choir, whose current 100 members are aged from 10 to 14, gives about 300 performances a year across the globe, and is divided into four groups bearing names of famous Austrian composers with ties to the choir's history: Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. The choir coming to Japan this year is the Haydn group.

The choir, which has a huge following in Japan for the boys' exquisite voices and extensive repertoire, will perform not only the classical music of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, but also a selection from the 1965 movie "The Sound of Music" and contemporary titles such as John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Let It Be" for Program A, and the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" and "Sekai ni hitotsudake no hana" ("The Only Flower in the World") originally performed by Japanese pop musician Noriyuki Makihara, for Program B.

Vienna Boys' Choir starts at Narashino Bunka Hall in Chiba Prefecture on April 29 and concludes at Tokyo Opera City in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on June 20. For details, call Japan Arts Pia at (03) 5237-7711.

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