I had the pleasure of hearing the entrancing a capella vocals of the German quintet, Calmus, at the Barns of Wolf Trap last night.
Anja Poche, soprano, Sebastian Krause, countertenor, Tobias Poche, tenor, Ludwig Bohme, baritone, and Manuel Helmeke, bass, make up the German quintet, but they perform as a singular body with every breath, note, and sustained harmony perfectly timed.
The Group presented an array of songs in a program that they called Christmas Carols of the World. Some of the songs were familiar favorites, while others were less known pieces from France, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, and Sweden.
Each song on its own was a masterpiece, but there stood out some definite crowd favorites. The group informed the audience that Stille Nacht, known to Americans as “Silent Night,” is one of the most globally known carols and performed the piece in three different languages.They then sang “White Christmas,” a beloved piece for the crowd, in five different languages with a breathtaking arrangement.
To show the audience that they weren’t always ‘serious,’ Calmus sang a fantastic and hilarious version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which had everyone laughing the whole way through.
The entire performance was nothing short of hypnotic. Calmus’ five members blended perfectly in their harmonies and left the audience in awed silence many a time, before they finally broke out into applause.
As a part of the 2015-2016 Chamber Music at the Barns program, Calmus appeared for this solo engagement but their music is available to purchase through their own site and through their event page on Wolf Trap’s site, which are both linked below.
The show was an auditory feast and the beauty of this quintet should be heard by all if they come and visit your city.
Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.
Calmus played for one night on Sunday, December 6, 2015 at The Barns at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA.. For more information about Calmus, visit their website. For upcoming Wolf Trap shows, go their website.