The Lukas Church in the Zwickau district of Planitz occupies a special place among the churches of Schumannstadt. Located in a park on a hill not far from Planitz Castle, which today serves as a school building, the high Gothic sacred building, consecrated in 1876, had been in poor condition since 1968. After the fall of the Wall, a development association started …

The Lukas Church in the Zwickau district of Planitz occupies a special place among the churches of Schumannstadt. Located in a park on a hill not far from Planitz Castle, which today serves as a school building, the high Gothic sacred building, consecrated in 1876, had been in poor condition since 1968. After the fall of the wall, a support association began repairing the severely damaged building with persistent detail work with diverse support. Today it is still not completely finished and is not only occasionally used as a place for religious services. The Clara-Wieck-Gymnasium with a musical profile, which resides in the palace opposite, uses it for concerts, and the Plauen-Zwickau Theater also likes to give guest performances in the house, which can be seated in different ways. – by innovative ballet formats, among others, but “Jedermann” from Hofmannsthal was already there in front of full rows in an elegant setting across the stage.

It was the equivalent of a distinction for the church as well as for the association’s commitment when the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig of nearly 80 young singers assisted her on Saturday. The concert, which took place twice thanks to high demand, was additionally loaded with several things. It was the first major event of its kind in the church since the crown-related lockdown, no hygiene program, Thomaner’s debut there, one of their first full-fledged concerts since then, and the one of the last of the 800- year set under the leadership of Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz – Zwickauer by trade. The 67-year-old man, who as the 17th successor of Johann Sebastian Bach has held this post since 2015, officially since 2016, is retiring. He will be followed in September by the Swiss Andreas Reize.

As can be seen from the generous hour-long program on Saturday, he walks in wide and distinctive footsteps. In the basso continuo accompanied by Sascha Werchau on cello and Cornelia Osterwald on the chest organ – the church instrument so far has only the loudspeaker – the singers offered a sample of theirs by Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621) on Schütz, Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Reger to Frank Martin (1890-1974) four centuries of repertoire. In sacred choral music, they gave less firm listeners an entertaining insight into the typical characteristics of the respective eras.

What to say about the how It is the Thomaner! One of the world’s most renowned church choirs for good reason, clock-precise, organ-sounding, soulful, led by one of their long-time staff, who not only beats the pace, but also makes precise requests with body language and facial expressions. Even if there were no known works on the program – even the Saint Bach house only in homeopathic doses – the feeling, the charm of the authentic, of the real prevailed at every moment. This is the case with Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd”) by Heinrich Schütz, which is composed so precisely along the text that you can literally see the green floodplain mentioned there and taste the cool water. The ability to combine the choral movements of different composers into a cohesive sequence is also impressive. The fact that in the end, despite all the traditional ties, modernity is also a book with which to flourish the Thomaner, has been demonstrated by the fine polyphonic weaving of Frank Martin’s “Kyrie” from his Mass for two four-part choirs, which is sometimes tender, sometimes powerful, entirely French-style Choral music uses the harmonic range in all its bandwidth. Like pop stars, the audience celebrated the choir at the end and with it an experience which after a long time returned to normal.

In concert: The Chœur Saint-Thomas gives a concert on Mondays at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the church of Saint-Georges in Schwarzenberg.