Tyrolean Christmas Carolling
Tyrolean Passion and Easter Vocal Productions

This DVD presents an especially valuable cultural treasure trove of Tyrolean music: vocal pieces from the repertoire of the South Tyrolean “church singers,” integrated into a newly-conceived form of mediation. The institution of the church singers was at one time responsible for the musical services in small country churches. The choral communities of a few rural singers carried out their duties across successive generations. The vocal texts were preserved in song books, while the melodies and the idiosyncratic form of polyphony were passed on by word of mouth.

This vocal practice, formerly so widespread in Alpine regions, was already acutely threatened with extinction when Manfred Schneider seized the initiative between 1986 and 1988 to record the entire vocal heritage of the last three church-singing choirs – in St. Walburg im Ahrntal, in Geiselsberg and in Mühlbach im Tauferertal – and thus preserve this valuable treasury of song. In the course of this urgent conservational enterprise, over 2000 sound recordings and several thousand song texts in their original or copied forms were made for the Tyrolean Folksong Archive.

In order to make this rich, often inventive and exquisite body of sources available not only to researchers and scholars, but also to those cultivating newer types of folksong, Manfred Schneider initiated and carried out such cyclical vocal concepts as the “Tyrolean Christmas Carolling” (1988-1993) and the “Tyrolean Passion and Easter Productions” (1989-1994). These totally new kinds of concerts were held at the Tyrolean State Museum, aired on the radio and documented as CDs. Together with the music scores belonging to each of the six projects, this initiative has not only made an extensive inventory of vocal pieces accessible, but it has also shown how an innovative concept can update this viable form of musical worship for the present day.

This DVD documentation makes all the CDs and music scores accessible in one place. Details about the source situation and performance suggestions can be found in the booklets that are included with the CDs and music scores.