The vocal ensemble Basel Madrigalists, founded in 1978, is one of the oldest and most prolific musical ensembles in Switzerland. Its repertoire reaches from early Renaissance to modern contemporary music; it has also made a name for itself with notable first performances, in Switzerland and abroad, in the field of New Music. Under artistic director Raphael Immoos (since 2013) the choir has performed works by Dieter Ammann (b. 1962), Bettina Skrzypczak (b. 1962), and Jürgen Wyttenbach (b. 1935), among others, and has been awarded with numerous prizes, including the promotion award of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation for its interpretation of contemporary music (1991, 2002, 2006). The ensemble has toured Europe, the United State, Australia as well as Asia with musical programs that aim to create links between old and contemporary music. Thus, in the current season the ensemble is putting on a concert under the title Die Faszination der 12 Sybillen, which juxtaposes Orlando di Lasso’s (1531-1594) polyphonic motet Prophetiae Sibyllarum with Sibyllen, a commissioned modern work by Franz Rechsteiner (b. 1941). Relying on a contemporary musical idiom, the Appenzell composer has created a set of compositional reflections that alternately interrupt, extend, and counterpoint Lasso’s fascinating world of song. The twelve-voice ensemble links up with a saxophone quartet whose unusual sound arrangements give the listener sufficient time to probe into and discover the composition’s different sound layers and style levels.
The Foundation Board acknowledges the Basel Madrigalists’ engagement for contemporary classical music and supports the first performances of a work by Franz Rechsteiner with a project grant of CHF 6000.