Reviews ...

... on the productions
sic002-2Ave Maria
im Spiegel der Zeiten
(Through the Ages)
Volume 1 und 2

  Ave Maria im Spiegel der Zeiten
(Ave Maria Through the Ages)
Vols. 1 and 2

These two discs present a diversity of interpretations of the prayer to the Virgin Mary, lovingly performed with the highest artistic standards. Thirty-three settings represent 30 composers, ranging from Gregorian chant to the 20th century, from Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Hungary. Though not exhaustive, this collection is an excellent resource. Ingeborg Hischer, who centers her multi-faced carrier in Europe, is endowed with a rich, warm, colorful voice, with accurate intonation and fine control in all ranges. Hans-Dieter Karras (who provides one of the settings) is cantor and organist of the Brüdernkirche St. Ulrici und concertizes internationally. His accompaniments are stylistically appropriate. These recordings are simply beautiful.
James Hildreth
ARS ORGANI (September 2000)
  Ave Maria im Spiegel der Zeiten
(Ave Maria Through the Ages)

The 33 compositions recorded here, some of them originally for voice and orchestra (here arranged for organ by H.-D. Karras), only reflect a small part of the richness catholic church musicians have in their Ave Maria word settings. The evangelical church musicians should adopt more of this literature. Here it is not about the adoration of the Mother of God in the sense of the Vicar of Christ. The words of the angel and Elizabeth's greetings for Mary (Luke 1) moreover expressed "the childlike trust that the faithful put in the gentle, maternal support of the Virgin Mary and at the same time it reflected a feminine facet of religion" (Pastor Godzek in the booklet). The interpretation of these works is fascinating. Ingeborg Hischer possesses not only a well-trained voice in all registers, but also an admirable ability to shape the harmonic colours of the music. The sung text is always understandable. The organist from Braunschweig, Hans-Dieter Karras, is a congenial partner with his perfect orchestral organ play. Nowhere the voice is pushed into the background by the sound of the organ, or even covered. However, the organs used here provide the best prerequisites for this recording. ...

The booklets inform about the biographies of both performers. The dispositions of the organs are printed.
FONO FORUM (April 2000)
  English greetings in an encyclopaedic way

This idea is attractive; the performance is mostly worth listening to ... Ingeborg Hischer's warm timbre, full of vibrations, is convincing    as well as Hans-Dieter Karras' nuanced registration at organs in Braunschweig and the Altenberger Dom.

The option to make a detailed comparison is noteworthy. The program ranges from the 16th century (Arcadelt) via Caccini and Durante, via the dominant Romantic Period to the 20th century. The composers are still influenced by Romanticism ... Of course, Schubert and Bach/Gounod are not missing. But there are other gems to discover    works by Dvorák, Tosti or Langlais for example. Pieces arranged by Karras, also from operas such as "Cavalleria Rusticana", "Tannhäuser" or "Otello", enlarge the thematic spectrum.

The prostestant retrieval of honour of the "Ave Maria" by Pastor Frank-Georg Gozdek in the booklet to Vol. 1 is most welcome.
Braunschweiger Zeitung (28.12.1999,
on the presentation concert of Vol. 1)
  Musical interpretations of everlasting actuality

On the occasion of her new CD, "Ave Maria im Spiegel der Zeiten" ("Ave Maria Through the Ages") ... Ingeborg Hischer, mezzo-soprano, and Hans-Dieter Karras, organ, present parts of their production at the Brüdernkirche St. Ulrici. With this recording, Karras realised his long-cherished dream to present a representative selection of his more than 60 Ave Maria word settings to the wider public.

Because of its important role in the catholic church life, the concise, but powerful text of the Ave Maria has prompted musical interpretations throughout the century. Instead of merely presenting a catalogue claiming primarily a musical-historical interest, the artists wanted to make these pieces of music come alive through their timeless qualities.

Therefore the artists did without any sentimental sounds of the early 16th century compositions. Ingeborg Hischer's warm, timbered mezzo was well suited for this approach. Beautiful in tone, with clear diction, she went over the musical lines of the old composers, and with the dramatically increased expressiveness of the new masters.

The director of the Brüdernkirchen-choir, Karras, transcribed the accompanying parts for his instrument. He assisted in a confident way, forming a perfect unity with the singer. Furthermore, he sprinkled in some theme-related organ-solos and gave a sensible structure to the order of programs.

Presented in this way, it is more than delightful to listen to all the recited pieces of music with their common meditative character - the variety of the Ave Maria compositions with such different composers like Luigi Cherubini, Heinrich Marschner, Giuseppe Verdi or Charles-Marie Widor.
Roland Comes
Braunschweiger Zeitung (5.12.1998, zu Vol. 1)

Sixteen times "Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum!" (Ave Maria, full of grace, the Lord be with you!). But don't panic    it is worth getting to know alternatives to Charles Gounod's compositions. These songs are presented under the title Ave Maria im Spiegel der Zeiten, Volume 1 by the mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Hischer and the organist Hans-Dieter Karras from Braunschweig (Brunsvick, Germany). The recordings from the Altenberger Dom near Cologne and the Braunschweig churches St. Ulrici and St. Pauli combine compositions from Heinrich Marschner to Anton Bruckner, from Antonin Dvorák to Giuseppe Verdi, from the Gregorian time to the early 20th century. A worthwhile and proficient collection with a touching, heartfelt canto by Ingeborg Hischer.
Roland Comes

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