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Gächinger Kantorei

The Gächinger Kantorei was formed in 1954 in the Stuttgart suburb of Gächingen. Kantorei is a common German name for a choir, especially one focusing on sacred music. The Kantorei was formed by conductor Helmuth Rilling, a key German early music conductor whose career extended to both choral and orchestral music in the second half of the 20th century. At first, the Kantorei performed mostly music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and then, after Rilling formed the associated Bach-Collegium Stuttgart orchestra, music of the 18th century. The choir's reputation soon extended beyond the Stuttgart area, and beginning in the 1960s, it mounted tours, both alone and with the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. The group traveled to regions less often visited from what was then West Germany: East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary in the mid-'60s, and then, in 1968, the U.S. Later performances abroad included one of the Brahms German Requiem with the Israel Philharmonic in Israel (the first time the work had been performed there), tours in Poland and Russia, and a 2009 performance of Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. From the beginning, the Kantorei was prolific as a recording unit. It was the first choir to record a complete cycle of Bach's cantatas and oratorios, issuing the last album on March 21, 1985, Bach's 300th birthday. In 1996, the group released Magnificat, an album of Bach choruses. The Kantorei also performed Romantic and contemporary music, and even with early music, its performances were generally not historically oriented; the choir often boasted up to 200 members. That changed when Hans-Christoph Rademann succeeded Rilling as only the Kantorei's second conductor in 2013. Three years later, Rademann adopted the new Gaechinger Cantorey spelling of the choir's name (in line with 18th-century precedents), formed a new Bachakademie Baroque Orchestra in Stuttgart, and set out to make the group conform to Baroque sound ideals. In 2020, an album recorded while still named the Gächinger Kantorei of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Op. 123, and other Beethoven choral works was issued on Hänssler Classic.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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