The Regensburger Domspatzen

One of the things I’ve wanted to do since I arrived in Regensburg was to see a performance- any performance- of the Regensburger Domspatzen.

The Domspatzen (literal translation= Cathedral Sparrows) is a world famous boy’s choir based at St. Peter’s Cathedral, the tall pointy church known to Regensburg locals as The Dom.  The choir was founded in the year 975 by Bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg, and they’ve been present here ever since.   The institution is not just a choir-  it’s a boarding school for boys aged 10–19 and a private secondary school with emphasis on musical education.

The Domspatzen sing both regular mass services as well as concerts around Germany.  Jenny also was curious to see them sing, so we went to the Holy Mass services on the Sunday before Christmas.   Advantage:  It’s free, at least until the collection plate comes by.  Disadvantage:  It’s a Roman Catholic Holy Mass, so there’s a ton of ritual, chanting, kneeling, and the swinging of incense which is catnip for migraines, as I discovered.  I’ve been to Catholic mass services before, and my ability to follow the ritual was about the same in German as it is in English.  Still, it’s a good way to see the Domspatzen in their native habitat, and you get a sense of what they sound like without going out of town to attend a full concert.

The Dom is an amazing structure.  The altar space is very tastefully appointed, and very large:

domspatzen01

I didn’t take very many photographs, because this was a religious service.    The majority of the people present were locals attending their church, not tourists.  I try not to be too disrespectful.  Still, you can get an idea of the size of the Domspatzen by seeing the group fully assembled:

domspatzen02

Since I wasn’t partaking of Communion, I used that time to try to get a little bit of the Domspatzen singing.  This clip is the older boys with the black vestments in the back.  If I’d kept the video running for another ten seconds, the younger group in red would also have been audible.

Because my video isn’t a complete song or a very good example of what seeing this group is like, I’ve gone out to the Tubes Of You, and found two pretty good clips that will give you an idea of how they sound.

Have you ever seen a world famous boy’s choir? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “The Regensburger Domspatzen

  1. gorthx

    The choir was founded in the year 975

    Those “founded in” and “built in” dates in Europe always make me do a double-take.

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