9711 JB Groningen
An Italian evensong in the Der Aa-kerk, with a choir made up of singers of the Luthers Bach Ensemble conducted by Luuk Dijkhuis, with Liuwe Tamminga at the Schnitger organ.
At the end of a hot Italian summer’s day, entering an ancient church is a complete change of atmosphere. All of a sudden, there is the fresh and pleasant coolness, the eyes slowly adapt to the subdued light, and incense wafts around the nose. And then, in the slightly obscure distance, there is the sound of Gregorian chant. The steady and mellifluous unison singing is serene and almost hypnotising.
The chances are that you have walked into an Evensong, one of the divine offices daily observed – originally in the monastic tradition – with prayers, readings and chanting. A capella singing and organ music are heard in alternation. Melodies show a certain regularity, do not aim at dramatic effects, and create a meditative and almost mystical atmosphere. Listeners feel that their inner selves become part of the sublime.
Today’s Italian Vespers recreate this wonderful atmosphere. In the Der Aa-kerk – and its slimline ochre tower and its remarkably imposing interior are somewhat reminiscent of Italian magic – the organist Liuwe Tamminga will be playing liturgical pieces by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643), and alternately a vocal group from the Luthers Bach Ensemble conducted by Luuk Dijkhuis will sing Gregorian chant.
Der Aa-kerk, Akerkhof 2, Groningen
Saturday, 21 October, 17.00