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A look beyond the musical horizon

The ensembles of the Cathedral Music demonstrate their capabilities in a stylistically broad series of concerts

In the Aachen Cathedral Choir, boys and adult singers have been singing together for more than 1000 years.

To get in the mood for the Shrine Pilgrimage from June 9 to 19, Aachen Cathedral Music invites you to a musical journey in the coming weeks. Following the pilgrimage motto “Discover me”, the choirs, supported by soloists and orchestras, will alternately perform choral-symphonic gems, some of which will be heard for the first time in Aachen Cathedral, and some of which have been newly discovered. The concert series is divided into two parts: In the first triduum “The Passion of Christ” forms the thematic focus, in the second triduum “The Veneration of Mary”. The guest concert of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra with Johann Sebastian Bach’s “High Mass” complements and connects the two.

A highly exciting program, finds cathedral conductor Berthold Botzet – and not only for music connoisseurs! “In the seven concerts plus the concluding Organ Days in September, we draw on a wide stylistic range. We invite you to a musical journey through time that begins in the Renaissance and ends in the modern era!” Beyond the normal liturgical service, he said, the Aachen Cathedral Choir, the Aachen Cathedral Girls’ Choir and the Aachen Cathedral Vocal Ensemble are committed to getting people in the mood for the atmosphere of the shrine’s journey early on. “The program may sound special,” Botzet admits, “but we hope that as many people as possible will get involved. We are not bringing mainstream music to the performance, but have “unearthed” highly interesting works that will broaden the musical horizons of both the performers and the audience, and will place high demands on the performance capabilities of the choirs!”

Medieval mystery plays

The Girls’ Choir at Aachen Cathedral was founded in 2011. It currently has over 100 female singers.

For hours, the Cathedral Kapellmeister and his colleague, Cathedral Cantor Marco Fühner, as director of the girls’ choir, can talk about the selected pieces. For example, about “The Seven Last Words”, which was not only the most frequently performed choral work of the Romantic composer Théodore Dubois during his lifetime, but also comes very close to an opera – in other words, it is unusual for the music at Aachen Cathedral. Marco Fühner is looking forward to “Le Miroir de Jésus” by André Caplet, a student of Debussy, who developed his own musical language during his short life. Like medieval mystery plays, he narrates the most important stations in the life of Jesus in 15 sonnets from the perspective of the Virgin Mary. The cathedral conductor describes Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers as a “milestone in the development of music. From the first to the last note, this sacred work shows the full range of its creator’s skill. This demanding double-choir setting of vesper psalms will be tackled by the Aachen Cathedral Vocal Ensemble – supported by The Orpheus Consort.

For information on the individual programs and advance ticket sales, please visit