Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis brings classical Bach arrangements to UGA | Arts & Culture

Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis brings classical Bach arrangements to UGA | Arts & Culture

On Oct. 27, the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall welcomed a group all the way from Belgium. The visiting music ensemble, Vox Luminis, performed multiple songs in German of different generations of Bach composers, following the famous family tree.

After its establishment in 2004, the group has acquired many great feats including the 2012 Recording of the Year award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards, Klara Ensemble of the Year in 2018, BBC Music Magazine Choral Award Winner in 2018 and another Gramophone Award in the choral category in 2019.

The group that performed on Thursday included 10 singers and seven musicians.

Founder and artistic director of Vox Luminis, French conductor and bass singer Lionel Meunier, is highly acclaimed as an artistic leader in historical performance and choral music.

The coveted classical performance was originally scheduled to run in October 2020, but was canceled twice. Finally, the group was able to visit Georgia on their tour of North America, to the delight of symphonic listeners in Athens.

Carl and Mimi Schmidt, a retired elementary school principal and retired teacher, respectively, said they were very excited to attend the show.

“We love all the things that are part of the Baroque period,” a 17th century era of western classical music style, Mimi Schmidt said. “Bach was a real dynamo.” The couple has been attending shows at UGA’s Performing Arts Center for roughly 20 years.

One piece the group performed, “Christ Lay in the Bonds of Death,” included the unique theorbo, a type of string instrument with a long neck.

“The chord progressions of the different pieces were performed very well and their voices were kept clean, even while using different chord progressions,” Daniel Boscan, a freshman studying viola performance at UGA, said.

Boscan also noted how unique it is for Vox Luminis to play older, rarer instruments such as the viola da gamba, the violone and the theorbo.

A total of six traditional musical renditions of Johann Sebastian Bach and his forebears along with pieces by Dietrich Buxtehude were performed at UGA’s Performing Arts Center. The vocal soloists and timeless instruments alongside the eccentric pieces combined into a hauntingly alluring recital.

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