WINFRIED OFFELE (b.1939): Ecce Advenit for 7 Choirs and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 12W052
Description: This is a large - two-hour - oratorio for the Advent season, by a composer noted for his long and distinguished career in choral music for church use. This is in a sense a summation of his work, having been assembled over a ten-year period to come together as a single liturgical work to celebrate the season. Stylistically it ranges from plainchant through the styles of early polyphony, neo-baroque to neo-romantic, but extending to nothing remotely modernist in any sense. An important feature of the oratorio is its range of choral styles, involving seven choirs and ensembles - a children's choir, Gregorian schola, various vocal ensembles and the large Münster choir, even congregational singing - accompanied by organ, various instrumental combinations and large orchestra. The lengthy, varied introductory movement sets the scene, full choir, soloists, and orchestra joining in the accounts of the Creation from the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of St John, and the Credo. This imposing movement is a magnificent neo-Baroque edifice introducing a succession of gorgeous, luminous choruses in styles particular to the various ensembles. There follow twenty additional movements, that include sections intoned in chant by a solo cantor, narrating the prophecies and the Evangelist's narrative of the Annunciation and the Nativity; a "motet" in the style of a modern "popular" hymn, with organ accompaniment; hymns for children's choir, radiant a cappella choruses, neo-classical movements, featuring soloists, which vary and develop plainchant material, setting texts in Latin, sung by the liturgical choir. Advent chorales, in the style of sumptuous choral hymns, provide anchoring points throughout the stylistically diverse sequence, which remains tonal and entirely accessible throughout, uplifting, joyous and ultimately, deeply moving. 2 CDs. Vokalensemble Konstanz, Kinder- & Jugendkantorei Konstanz, VoiceMix, Männerchor & Münsterchor Konstanz, Schola Gregoriana, Orchestra Capella München; Steffen Schreyer.