Agency for Early Music

Zweierweg 35c - D-97074 Würzburg - +49 931 714 23 - -

A very special project: Lorenzo Ghielmi - La Divina Armonia - Tölzer Knabenchor

The other Mass in b minor
A rediscovery of a work by Antonio Caldara

Bild Antonio CaldaraJohann Sebastian Bach's Mass in b minor was supposed so far to be the only mass setting in this key till the 19th century. But recently, thanks to the research of the conductor, organist and harpsichordist Lorenzo Ghielmi we know that there actually is another one: The Missa in b minor by Antonio Caldara (1670-1736)!

When Lorenzo Ghielmi detected the manuscript of this fascinatingly melodious, impressively tuneful composition with the subtitle Missa Matris dolorosae in a Dresden library some time ago, it was immediately clear to him what a gem he held in his hands - which had nevertheless been forgotten for centuries. So he had the manuscript made into an edition from which he will play the modern premiere of this fascinating work in 2020 with his ensemble La Divina Armonia and in collaboration with the gorgeous young singers of the Tölzer Knabenchor.
And of course one can raise the question on this occasion, if not Bach could have known the piece and even has used it for his own inspiration? Because also with Caldara the choir plays the main role in the event for instance, and many other structural affinities speak for this thesis either - while Bach's fascination with Italian music is already widely documented in his Weimar days, as well as from later times.

Since this Mass in b minor is much shorter than the later one by Bach, it can be combined in a concert with Caldara's Stabat Mater in g minor, as well as with one of Bach's smaller masses or another work from the ambit of the Dresden court in Caldara's time.

So look forward in this project to a - for modern ears - completely new work from the early 18th Century, which should have good chances though, to conquer a permanent place in the canon of todays well-known Baroque literature sooner or later!

Soloist of the Tölzer Knabenchor - soprano
Soloist of the Tölzer Knabenchor - contralto
Roberto Rivieli - tenor
Mauro Borgioni - bass
28 choir boys of the Tölzer Knabenchor (direction: Christian Fliegner and Clemens Haudum)

La Divina Armonia (14-16 musicians):
2 oboes
6 violins
2 altos
possibly: 2 trombones
direction: Lorenzo Ghielmi


With trombones: 26.000,- Euro, plus travel, accommodation and partly catering for choirboys

Without trombones: 24.500,- Euro, plus travel, accommodation and partly catering for choirboys

With two or three concerts in a certain period we can offer this project for only 22.000,- Euro, plus travel, accommodation and partly catering for choirboys. A first period where this might be possible is the second half of August 2020. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us about available dates!

Please also visit Lorenzo Ghielmi and La Divina Armonia on our YouTube Channel!

You can find several audio samples of the orchestra on our website.

Bild Tölzer KnabenchorThe TÖLZER BOYS’ CHOIR has roots leading to a Boy Scout troop formed after the 2nd World War in Bad Tölz, whereby folk and hiking songs were routinely sung during group activities. The 18-year-old high school student Gerhard Schmidt took on the leadership of the singing group when the Boy Scout troop disbanded in January of 1956 thereby laying the foundation for the unprecedented success of the TÖLZER BOYS’ CHOIR.

The Choir has rehearsed in Munich since 1971. Two hundred boys in four developmental ranks are instructed by artistic directors Christian Fliegner and Clemens Haudum, the director of the soloist division Ursula Richter as well as eight additional singing educators. After their voices change, the students are trained in their own men’s chorus. Now as then, the chorus receives guidance and support from its founder Professor Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden.

Joy in singing, creativity, spontaneity and self-discipline form the basis for the boys’ training. In the concert choir they sing music from the Middle Ages to the present in up to 250 concerts and opera productions around the world yearly. Sacred music from the baroque and classic periods is an important focal point. The soloists of the TÖLZER BOYS’ CHOIR achieved renown singing the roles of the »drei Knaben«, or three boys, in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute), which is now in its twelfth CD and DVD production with the Tölzer boys.

The TÖLZER BOYS’ CHOIR has worked with such well-known conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboin, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Pierre Boulez, Sylvain Cambreling, Sergiu Celibidache, Riccardo Chailly, Ivan Fischer, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Michael Gielen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, H.W. Henze, Manfred Honeck, Mariss Jansons, Eugen Jochem, Bernard Haitink, Michael Hofstetter, Herbert von Karajan, Rafael Kubelik, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Metha, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Georg Solti, Christian Thielemann und Bruno Weil.

Under the direction of Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, the choir was awarded the German Disc Prize for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, the French Disc Prize for Mozart’s opera Apollo et Hyacinthus, the French Diapson d’Or as well as the ECHO Klassik of the German Phono-Akademie Berlin for Orlando di Lasso’s Bußpsalmen Davids (David’s Psalms of Repentance) and Special Awards for Orff’s Schulwerk among others. A recording of the Bach Cantatas with Gustav Leonhardt and Niklaus Harnoncourt was nominated for the Grammy Award.

picture La Divina ArmoniaLa Divina Armonia was founded by Lorenzo Ghielmi in 2005. All the musicians involved in the Italian group have distinguished themselves for many years in the performance of Baroque music as soloists and musicians in several of the best known ensembles in this field. In La Divina Armonia they‘re coming together to perform music from the Baroque up to the early Classical period, in an extraordonary vivid, but at the same time beautifully cantabile manner of playing.

La Divina Armonia works with diverse soloists, but also with vocal ensembles for certain productions.

The ensemble has performed all over Europe, for instance in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, but also was invited to Japan several times. La Divina Armonia played in most of the important European festivals of Early Music as well as concert series like Serate Musicali di Milano, Bozar Brussels, Concertgebouw Bruges, Les Arts Renaissants Toulouse, Salzburg Bach Society, Oslo Church Music Festival or the Utrecht Early Music Festival, where in 2017 they were invited as artist in residence.

In 2009, la Divina Armonia gave the modern premiére of the Passio secundum Joannem (Naples 1744) by Francesco Feo, rediscovered and edited by Lorenzo Ghielmi, and achieved a great recording success with this masterpiece of the Italian Baroque, which they performed also on an European Tour.

Numerous CD-productions have been published during the last years, amongst them chamber music by Bach or concerti for violin and organ by Haydn. A CD with Handel's organ concertos Op. IV and the Haydn concertos received diverse awards, including a Diapason d‘Or, whilst Vol. II of Handel's organ concertos even was awarded with the prestigious Diapason d‘Année. Also the most recent CD, with concerti and Bach's cantata BWV 209 was received very enthusiastically by audience and critics.

picture Lorenzo GhielmiLorenzo Ghielmi has dedicated many years of his career to the study and performance of Renaissance and Baroque music. As one of the leading specialists for Baroque keyboard instruments of our times worldwide he has performed all over Europe, in Japan, Canada and the United States, and has made numerous solo-recordings for broadcast and CD.

Starting his international career as founder member of the famous group Il Giardino Armonico he in 2005 decided to dedicate more time to his solo playing and own projects, and founded his ensemble La Divina Armonia, with which in the meanwhile he realised numerous recordings, for instance organ concertos by Handel and Haydn, the St John's Passion by Francesco Feo as well as music by Bach.

Lorenzo teaches organ, harpsichord and chamber music at the Accademia Internazionale della Musica in Milan. From 2006 until 2015 he also held the chair of organ professor at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Furthermore he is the organist of the Basilica of San Simpliciano in Milan.
Besides he published a book on Nicolaus Bruhns, and several essays on organ building in the 16th and 17th centuries and on performing Bach‘s music.

Here you can find an interview with Lorenzo Ghielmi from the German Early Music journal Toccata - Alte Musik Aktuell.

Sonus - Agency for Early Music
Direction: Andrea Braun
Zweierweg 35c
97074 Würzburg
Fon: +49 931 714 23

If you want to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.