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Vienna Boys' Choir

The Wiener Sängerknaben or Vienna Boys' Choir (sometimes translated as the Vienna Choir Boys) is the world's foremost children's choral groups. It is also among the oldest of all musical organizations, having been founded pursuant to an Imperial decree of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I on July 7, 1498; the Emperor wished boys' voices to be added to the choir of the Imperial Chapel, or Hofkapelle. This established a tradition of having the boys sing in weekly Sunday masses in the Imperial Chapel of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, a tradition that continues today.

Over the centuries, illustrious composers have written masterpieces for the Boys' Choir of the Imperial Chapel, including Mozart, Bruckner, Gluck, and Schubert. Many great musicians got their start as members of the Boys' Choir; among them were the great conductors Hans Richter, Clemens Krauss, and Lovro von Matacic. During the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the choir became renowned for its secular performances as well, appearing in colorful Imperial-style military uniforms, each complete with a dagger. After World War I, wide popular and governmental disfavor of all things Imperial resulted in the dissolution of many long-standing institutions, including the Imperial Chapel Choir. However, Chaplain Joseph Schnitt remained in his position at the chapel and re-gathered the choir. Sparing no personal expense, he re-established a boarding school for the choristers. He replaced the imperial uniforms with a distinctive sailor-style outfit.

The Vienna Boys' Choir has the most stringent training and admittance policy in the world. Boys wishing to join must first gain entrance to a preparatory school where they receive a complete elementary education. Their instruction includes elements of musical theory, sight-singing, and the practice of singing, and instruction on at least one instrument; at the age of nine, they have to pass an examination based strictly on musical ability and vocal quality. There is no religious requirement. The teaching is purposely intensive in order that their education not be slighted due to the frequent touring. There are usually two choirs away on a tour at any given time, most frequently for three months. They are accompanied by their choirmaster, their tutor, and a nurse. Vienna Choir Boys have visited the United States well in excess of 50 times since 1932 and have traveled to all six inhabited continents. They are beloved the world over for their lively singing style and beautiful tone, and have commissioned a number of new works, including Britten's The Golden Vanity. ~ Joseph Stevenson
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Edelweiss

Composer: Johann Strauss II
Title: An Der Schönen, Blauen Donau (On The Beautiful, Blue Danube), Waltz For Orchestra (With Chorus Ad Lib), Op. 314 (Rv 314)
Title: Annen-polka, For Orchestra, Op. 117 (Rv 117)
Title: Geschichten Aus Dem Wienerwald (Tales From The Vienna Woods), Waltz For Orchestra, Op. 325 (Rv 325)
Title: Tritsch-tratsch-polka (Chit-chat Polka), For Orchestra, Op. 214 (Rv 214)
Composer: Josef Strauss
Title: Dorfschwalben Aus Osterreich (Austrian Village Swallows), Waltz For Orchestra, Op. 164
Composer: Johann Strauss II & Josef Strauss
Title: Pizzicato Polka
Composer: Johann Strauss II
Title: Morgenblätter (Morning Papers), Waltz For Orchestra, Op. 279 (Rv 279)
Composer: Johann Strauss I
Title: Radetzky-marsch, For Orchestra, Op. 228
Composer: Johann Strauss II
Title: Tausend Und Eine Nacht (A Thousand And One Nights), Operetta ( Strauss' Works Arr. By Reiterer)
Composer: Franz Schubert
Title: Heidenröslein ("Sah Ein Knab..."), Song For Voice & Piano, D. 257 (Op. 3/3)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Opera, K. 620
Composer: Heinrich Isaac
Title: Innsbruck, Ich Muß Dich Lassen (II), Song For 4 Voices
Composer: German Traditional
Title: Aba Heidschi Bumbeidschi
Composer: Richard Rodgers
Title: The Sound Of Music, Musical
x

Track List: Vienna Choir Boys' 500th Anniversary

Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Title: Grosses Te Deum, For Chorus, Orchestra & Organ In C Major, H. 23c/2
Composer: Franz Schubert
Title: Magnificat For Soloists, Chorus, Orchestra & Organ In C Major, D. 486
Composer: Antonio Salieri
Title: Coronation Te Deum
Composer: Franz Schubert
Title: Gesang Der Geister Über Den Wassern IV ("Des Menschen Seele..."), For Male Voices & Strings, D. 714 (Op. Posth. 167)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Mass No. 15 For Vocal Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra In C Major ("Coronation"), K. 317

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