Schola Cantorum Jubilate visits Austrian cities
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The Schola Cantorum Jubilate, one of the leading Maltese choirs, continues its venture in international shores. After the success of their music-cultural tour in 2007 in Rome and Assisi, this time the destination chosen was Austria.
Schola Cantorum Jubilate, the Gozitan choir, left Malta on Thursday, the 10th of September and was back home on Thursday, the 17th of September. They spent eight magnificent days in the northern part of Austria spending 3 nights in Linz and the other 4 nights in Vienna. This year Linz happens to be the European Cultural City and in fact the group met Martin Hellar, the artistic director of Linz09. When in Linz, the choir performed during a concert at the Old Cathedral of Linz where Anton Bruckner served as organist.
After the concert, the choristers had the opportunity to have a look and listen to the organ which Brucker himself built and on which he used to play. The group visited the main attractions of the Linz like Hauptplatz and Postlingberg with its pilgrim church. From Linz, the choristers went to Salzburg where they visited the fascinating Schloss Hellbrunn with its tricky fountains. In Salzburg they visited also the Mozart Geburtshaus, the Cathedral of Salzburg, the Christmas and Easter shops, the Mozart (sweet) Shops, the surrounding churches, the river Salza and the typical open markets. Before leaving Mozart’s birthplace, the choristers visited and performed in Mirabelle Gardens.
On Sunday, they reached Vienna and animated the liturgy during the 6pm Mass at the imposing gothic Cathedral of St. Stephen’s. The choir was accompanied by organist Ewald Gargitter from the Krems Monastery who is friends with the Schola Cantorum.
The following day they went on excursion visiting two main attractions in the Danube valley. They visited Göttweig Monastery and Melk Abbey where apart from visiting the Imperial wings, they had the opportunity to perform concerts in their churches. The church of Melk is the most well preserved baroque church in Europe. It was frequently visited by Empress Maria Therese where she held banquets and invited Mozart occasionally.
Tuesday (15th) was rather hectic. Apart from visiting the main attractions in the Austrian capital, the choristers had two concerts. One in the early afternoon at the Haus der Musik and the other in the evening at Peterskirche. At the Haus der Musik, Alex Vella Gregory who accompanied the choir in this occasion performed a world premier of his Piano Sonata no. 4. Luckily enough in the morning the choristers had the opportunity to meet His Eminence Cardinal Christophe Schönborn in his residence. This Dominican Cardinal is of papal age and is mostly know for his theological writings.
Wednesday morning started with the tour of Schönbrunn Palace. After visiting the imperial chambers, the choristers participated in the project ‘Voices of the World’ which implies singing in the entrance of the palace. The choristers performed secular pieces by Elgar, Sullivan and Camilleri and after the short concert they received a certificate indicating their participation in this project. They performed also at the Schloss Kapelle before leaving for a visit to Stadtpark particularly for posing for photos near the Strauss golden statue.
The repertoire performed in Austria by the Schola Cantorum Jubilate included sacred pieces by Palestrina, Gabrieli, Mozart, Bach, Bruckner, Arcadelt, Caruana, Bartolucci, Debono and by their resident composer Paul Portelli. The Director and soprano Marouska Attard interpreted also various sacred and secular pieces mainly by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Canteloube and Portelli. Choir member Philip Attard, a young promising saxophonist interpreted pieces by Demillac, Chailleux, Genin, Borowski, Mozart and Bach.
The group was accompanied by members of the Citadel Video Communications who filmed all the concerts and excursions of the ‘Maltese ambassadors in Austria’. This trip was possible mainly for the sponsorship offered by Air Malta together with the Ministry for Gozo, MTA, GTA, Miller Distributors and last but not least the Embassy of Malta in Vienna which offered its collaboration.