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Die Thomaner - A Year in the Life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Founded in 1212 the St. Thomas Choir Leipzig is one of the most famous and prestigious boys' choirs in the world. This documentary accompanies “Die Thomaner”, aged between 9 and 18 years old, over a period of one year. Their unique world, from motets to boarding school and the football pitch, is distinguished by success, pressure to perform, doubt, pride, homesickness, and friendship. The film charts the breadth of the boys' experience from the classroom to traveling on tour to South America. Two tracks from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” performed by the choir for which it was written - St. Thomas Boys Choir - in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where the composer worked and is buried. No. 1 Chor: "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen" No. 39 Arie (Alto): "Erbarme dich"

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Product Details

  • Actors: St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig
  • Directors: Paul Smaczny, Günter Atteln
  • Writers: J.S. Bach
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Accentus
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008P76UP4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,927 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is simply one of the best musical documentaries I've seen. Expecting this to be a history on the Thomanerchor (St. Thomas Boys Choir), celebrating its 800th birthday this year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is more about the 'day in the life of' both chorister and director of this famed choir. Actually, it's "A Year in the Life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, Leipzig."

We follow several age groups of boys (and young men), from the newly selected choristers (aged 9) to veteran members (aged 18 to 19) who serve as mentors to the younger members, helping the younger choristers in their daily lives- with their normal, everyday struggles, the desire and requirements to be serious musicians, and their extracurricular activities, such as card playing, videos games and soccer. There is the added pressure of being members of one of the oldest musical legacies in the history of classical music.

Georg Christoph Biller, the choir's current cantor (since 1992) has some very large shoes to fill. This was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach's position with the same choir beginning in 1723 and ending with his death in 1750. (It might be worth noting that Bach's grave is located inside St. Thomas' Church. To this day, choir members show reverence by placing flowers at his grave. Luckily this is shown several times in this excellent documentary). We see Biller takes his job as cantor with utmost seriousness. He has an admiration for his young charges, though he keeps his distance, always being 'the tamer' as he puts it; you get the sense that he'd like to be their friend and in some ways he is, if at a distance.

The documentary presents what I believe is a non-biased look at the choir.
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This is a one hour 53 minute peek into the hearts and minds of the students and faculty of the St Thomas Boys Choir of Leipzig. It fills my heart with joy.

Perhaps the best way I can tell you about it is to just repeat some notes I made to myself. I made these notes after watching it several times, English subtitles ON (I don't speak German). They include the time reference and some of the boys' names. Herr Biller is the head of the choir.

Here they are.

About 90 boys ranging from 9 to 18 have been accepted into the choir, which includes a boarding house (the Alumnat) and one of the best academic schools in Germany (St Thomas, a gymnasium school). Each was only 9 when he entered, and each will spend 10 years there, receiving a superb musical education and be qualified for any college when he graduates.

Older boys, "prefects", live with, help and supervise younger boys. An "ultimus" is the name given to a close relationship between an older and younger boy, more than best friends, perhaps closer than brothers. At 6:14, observe the younger boy, still wearing his Keil blouse, embrace his older pal, who has just graduated and will soon be gone. The tears are real.

Consider 14:30: Newcomer Cornelius tells of his homesickness, having wept twice yesterday, but later tells about his older roommate who talked to him that night about life in the Thomanerchor, easing his pain and finally letting him get to sleep. That was a precious act, and Cornelius will always remember it. Note the expressions on the face of Max, Cornelius' tiny companion, who is clearly concentrating on every word said, and reflecting his own serious engagement with the trials his friend is enduring. I think his face defines empathy.
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Best movie for me because it adds a dimension into understanding Johann Sebastian Bach. If you are not turned on by Bach's music, don't watch this movie because it would not make any sense at all!
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The singing of the boys was excellent. It was pleasant to see how the new choristers were adopted into the experienced choristers.
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This video is extremely well made and shares the Thomaner story in a very up close and personal manner. Excellent!
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Fascinating presentation about a 500 year old choir. Slightly slanted as a promotion, but still very well done. I was lucky enough to be at St. Thomas Church and get a last minute ticket to a concert, once, and have been a fan ever since of this Choir.
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