Monday, August 3, 2009

Russian Voices

This weekend I attended a church concert put on by the Cossack Ensemble Ciolkovitch (now try saying THAT 5 times in a row!) in the town of Götzis. A friend of mine, Irina, is a Russian trainer from the Ukraine and is the one who organized this concert. The pieces were all in Russian, but nonetheless very moving, even for someone who didn't understand a word. The first half focused on sacred music and the second, more lighthearted half included traditional folk music from Russia and the Ukraine. There were only 7 men in the group but what a sound! And if you've never heard a basso profondo perform live, well, there's just nothing like it. He (I think his name is Dmitri) could have just sung "blah, blah, blah" and I still would have been mesmerized. I'm including a link to their website here, but keep in mind it's only in German: www.kosakenensemble-ciolkovitch.de. At least it's worth taking a look at the basso profondo, the tall drink of water (can I say that about a Russian?) in the middle of the back row - wow!

Another thing worth mentioning is the location of the concert. Now, when I heard that the performance would take place at the St. Ulrich church in the town of Götzis (population 10,000) I thought, no problem, should be pretty easy to find. Not so! Turns out that in a town which is probably the size of some neighborhoods in Houston, there are actually TWO churches with the exact same name. That's right, there's a "new" St. Ulrich and an "old" St. Ulrich. Naturally, I went to the wrong one first and had to ask a lady there for help. Fortunately, she was very helpful and even offered to walk over with me (the old church is just down the street from the new one). This usage of the same names for similar types of buildings is typical in Vorarlberg. Every town seems to have restaurants with the same names: Kreuz (cross), Adler (eagle), Krone (crown), Hirschen (deer), and, as I've now learned, churches get the same treatment.