Among the faces in and around Caius this week is a group of students from Mannheim, Germany, who have joined forces with our renowned chapel choir for four days as part of a cultural exchange supported by the German government's education department. Their visit culminates in a concert at Great St Mary’s this evening with a programme honouring composers from both countries.
The singers' sumptuous offering includes Bach’s glorious cantata Actus Tragicus, which will be accompanied by period instruments, including viols, gambas (an early form of cello) and recorders. ‘This piece is suitably sombre for the period of Lent,’ said Caius Choral Director and Precentor Dr Geoffrey Webber. ‘But it is full of hope and expectation, too.’ The concert will also feature works by Purcell, Elgar, Blow and Mendelssohn and will be conducted by Dr Webber and his counterpart from Mannheim’s University of Music and the Performing Arts, Professor Harald Jers.
The German visitors’ itinerary includes a whistlestop tour of Choral Evensongs at different Cambridge colleges, and at Westminster Abbey on the day they head for home. They will also take part in a series of conducting masterclasses, working with postgraduate students across the University preparing for their Master’s degrees in Choral Studies. “We’re very pleased to be able to participate in this exchange, which has been made possible by the DAAD – the German Academic Exchange Service,” says Dr Webber. “It promises to be a very memorable occasion. A bonus is that there is University-wide aspect to the visit, too.” Dinner at Caius, the chance to observe a choir rehearsal at King’s College and post-concert socialising in one of Cambridge’s pubs complete the visitors’ packed schedule.
The concert takes place in Great St Mary’s Church at 7.30pm tonight (Wednesday, 9 March). Tickets are £10 (concessions £5) and can be bought in advance at email@example.com or on the door.