Amarcord in The West Australian

Expect style, substance from Amarcord
William Yeoman, The West Australian
July 9, 2012

Amarcord, Germany’s Fab Five of male a cappella singers, have been following in the footsteps of famous English ensembles such as The King’s Singers and The Hilliard Ensemble for more that 20 years.

Finally they’re bringing their quirky blend of song sacred and profane to Perth for the first time with The Singing Club – Four Centuries of Song, a smorgasbord of vocal delights including Renaissance madrigals and folksong arrangements as well as part songs by Schubert, Schumann, Elgar, Dvorak and Grieg.

The Leipzig-based group – all five are former members of the famous boys’ choir which has been singing in St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig since 1212; it’s also J. S. Bach’s old choir – now has its own international festival of a cappella singing and an enviable fan base whose members are willing to follow Amarcord anywhere.

“The feedback we get is that people like to travel with us whichever musical direction we take,” says one of Amarcord’s two tenors, Wolfram Lattke, whose musician parents met while playing in the same orchestra.

“Not only my grandmother, who follows us everywhere on her iPad,” Lattke laughs. “It’s also the audience that travels with us from jazzy arrangements back to Gregorian chant and the Renaissance masses – all those paths of musical history.”

The name Amarcord is a nod to Fellini’s film of the same name, which means “I remember” in Fellini’s native Romanian dialect.

The group was founded in 1992 and Lattke joined three years later. He says that early on the boys were interested in a much wider repertoire than St Thomas’ choir could offer.

“It really started with just being friends and wanting to sing more often than the choir allowed for,” Lattke says. “And we were always interested in other types of music – chant, madrigals, Romantic part songs, folksong and contemporary music.”

Lattke adds that The Hilliard Ensemble have been instrumental in shaping Amarcord’s musical and even personal identity. “We met them early in our career and they really shaped us as musicians and, since we were quite young at the time – I was only 17 when I joined Amarcord – as human beings.”

Amarcord may be a far cry from Il Divo and Blake, but with Amarcord’s impeccable pedigree and reputation for the unusual, there’ll be no shortage of style as well as substance in this Musica Viva concert.

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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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