Music and poetry from the age of Romanticism

“With this program we set out to listen to the beating heart of German Romanticism. There is such wonderful music and poetry from this period. We begin our journey at night, before shining a light on the morning as it turns to day and finally plunging back again into night.” THOMAS HENGELBROCK

This program explores an entire period by means of the works that were written at that time. The familiar and the unfamiliar are brought together here. Unaccompanied choral works by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Reger and others find a fitting place alongside poetry and prose by Eichendorff, Heine, Mörike and Novalis. Words and music complement and enrich each other, very much in the spirit of the Romantic idea that the various art forms should interact. In terms of its conception the Night Watch program was the first example of the creative partnership between Johanna Wokalek and Thomas Hengelbrock. With their eye for meticulous detail they have produced a compilation of poems and lieder and of songs and prose writings. The program’s carefully thought-through dramaturgy and its great musicality have ensured that it is an absolute high point from both a musical and a literary point of view and an outstanding moment in not only the lives of the choir but also in those of their audience.


“Can there ever be such a thing as ideal choral singing? A type of singing that combines magnificently colourful sonorities, perfect intonation and a vivid articulation of the words to create the sort of harmony that we might otherwise expect to encounter only in our dreams? Probably not. But Thomas Hengelbrock attains the unattainable with his Balthasar Neumann Choir.” CONCERTI

“It is the silent yearning and the moments of calm that are particularly affecting. Together with his Balthasar Neumann Choir, Hengelbrock creates a sound that is so simple and unadorned. It is as if the soul of the Romantic self were to appear before us, open and naked.” NDR KULTUR

“Hengelbrock’s Freiburg choir provides a masterly demonstration of how even the most discreet pianissimo can still be clearly heard. This is a cappella singing of the highest order.” HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT

“There is nothing that this choir cannot achieve in its interpretation of the Romantic lieder repertory thanks to its superior intonation, crystalline articulation and its use of the subtlest nuances. […] There are times when all is calm, others when the singers strike a note of yearning and others again when their voices ring out, filling the hall with their highly expressive singing. Bright and dark tone colours alternate skilfully, streams pour over cliffs, gondolas float and palaces flash in the light.” DER NEUE MERKER


Unaccompanied choral works by Brahms, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann and others
Texts by Eichendorff, Mörike, Heine and Novalis


Johanna Wokalek Recitation
Balthasar Neumann Choir
Thomas Hengelbrock


Freiburg, Grafenegg, Gütersloh, Hamburg, Kaufungen, Salzburg, Wiesbaden