Lorenz Maierhofer | COMPOSER → Music for humanity - modern – classical – popular – timeless
MUSIC FOR HUMANITY
Lorenz Maierhofer ranks among the leading and most frequently sung European choral composers.
“Music for humanity” is a description often applied to his music. His work is distinguished by its high artistic quality and originality, by the great diversity of its style and content, by its ease of performance at differing levels of difficulty, and by topics close to the heart of contemporary humanity.
The lyrics of the choral compositions are written, in addition to German, primarily in English and Latin, although many are also written in, among other languages, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, French and Spanish (for example the choral song “NOW IT'S TIME FOR LEAVING/ NEIGEN SICH DIE STUNDEN”). Many of his choral publications (notably the octavos of his choral series HCCS) have been edited in English.
MODERN – CLASSICAL – POPULAR – TIMELESS
Lorenz Maierhofer’s compositional oeuvre comprises demanding contemporary vocal works, experimental musical pieces, masses and oratorios, choral pieces in lieder style, and compositions in the fields of jazz, new gospel, ethno and pop.
His music is performed worldwide, primarily by choirs and vocal ensembles. His numerous publications, which include choir books, choral single editions (octavos), songbooks for music teaching, warm-ups, ethno-canons his lyrical linguistic musicality and numerous CDs have been published by the HELBLING publishing house. The total number of published copies of his works amounts to several million.
>>> LORENZ MAIERHOFER’S PUBLICATIONS (scores, collections, CDs)
CONTEMPORARY / MODERN CLASSICAL
Lorenz Maierhofer’s contemporary and modern classical choral compositions bring to the stage a powerfully expressive musical language that delights, surprises and moves singers and audiences with its exceptional musical impact. Challenging, and yet easy to sing, highlights such as ETERNAL HALLELUJAH (a-cappella version), GLORY TO THE LORD (a-cappella version) or ETERNAL CHRISTMAS captivate audiences, in both concerts and at international choral competitions. Modern classical choral titles such as MUSICA AETERNA or CANTEMUS are possessed of an especially intense radiance and have become choral classics.
PROMINENT PERSONALITIES ON LORENZ MAIERHOFER’S WORK:
FOR MULTIPLE CHOIRS
Lorenz Maierhofer’s compositions for multiple choirs unleash great choral sound – whether with more than one choir group and soloists, as in DER HERR HAT SEINEN ENGELN BEFOHLEN / The Lord has Ordered His Angels, or with instrumental accompaniment with an echo choir, as in the opening hymn LET'S SING A WELCOME (composed for the “Open Singing” at the World Choir Games in Graz).
MOTHER EARTH & NATURE
Closely linked to Lorenz Maierhofer’s humane basic philosophy is his repeated and forceful addressing of the issue of protecting the creation in his choral musical works, whether in ethno-arrangements like THE EARTH IS MY MOTHER, or in new compositions like MOTHER EARTH IS CRYING.
- HIB.art.chor Graz | choir of the HIB-Liebenau boarding grammar school,
under the direction of Maria Fürntratt M.A., prize-winners in numerous international choir competitions
HUMANITY & HUMAN RIGHTS
Again and again, Lorenz Maierhofer addresses aspects of humanity, whether in contemporary choral pieces like THE LIGHT OF THE FUTURE (dedicated to UNICEF, first performed in the Frauenkirche Dresden, Church of Our Lady) in his composition AUF DEM WEGE ZUM LICHT (On the Pathway to the Light), in his HERBERGSUCHE HEUTE (Seeking Shelter Today), in his ETHNO MASS for peace, in his FRIEDENSMESSE in G (Mass for Peace in G), or in his many choral chansons, such as GRENZEN (Frontiers) and songs on aspects of humanity. Critical of its times, his rock ballad BEFORE MY HALLELUJAH DIES is a cry of protest against the way that religions strive for power: “Come, stop the fraudsters’ political abuse, religion in their hands becomes an evil muse. And prayers lose their meaning, reduced to lies – may all humanity cry out ‘Enough!’ and rise before my Hallelujah dies ...” (Lyrics English / German > see “Man of Letters”)
NEW POPULAR SONGS
& CHORAL HITS
Lorenz Maierhofer’s popular songs, like HAVE A NICE DAY, or UN POQUITO SAMBA, or WER SINGT, HAT MEHR VOM LEBEN (If You Sing, You Get More out of Life), and his chansons, for example ALLE MENSCHEN DIESER WELT (All Peoples of this World) and ballads such as ÜBER'N SEE (Across the Lake) or SNOWFLAKES IN SUMMER (arr: C. Gerlitz) are among the favourite songs of many choirs. Various arrangements of these songs for choirs are available – for mixed choir, for women’s choir and also for male-voice choir. All of the titles can be sung a cappella or with instrumental accompaniment.
Lorenz Maierhofer’s oratorical compositions, IM ANFANG WAR DAS WORT (In the Beginning was the Word – length ca 80 minutes) and the Christmas gospel oratorio THERE IS A LIGHT (length ca 40 minutes) are – in keeping with the original form of the oratorio – conceived as large-scale musical prayers. They have been composed so that choral and recitative sections alternate in the flow of content. This allows the choral sections of the oratorio also to be performed as self-contained sacred compositions – for example VERLEIH UNS FRIEDEN / LORD, GRANT US PEACE.
SACRED CHORAL MUSIC
Lorenz Maierhofer’s sacred choral pieces rank among the standard works in religious services, celebrations and concerts of sacred music. Here, he sets to music passages from the Psalms and the Bible, and also texts of his own, which are characterised by a modern understanding of faith and an ecumenical approach – from his PATER NOSTER to ALLE MENSCHEN DIESER WELT (All Peoples of this World), from MACHE DICH AUF UND WERDE LICHT (Wake and Arise! Shine now forth!) to LOBET DEN HERREN ALLEZEIT (Worship the Lord) – a cappella or with instrumental accompaniment. Especially popular are the 27 a-cappella choral songs in the choir booklet DER HERR SEGNE UND BEHÜTE DICH (+CD – The Lord Bless You and Keep You). Many of his sacred choral compositions can be sung with either German or English lyrics.
PROMINENT PERSONALITIES ON LORENZ MAIERHOFER’S WORK:
COMPOSITIONS OF THE MASS
The twelve masses composed by Lorenz Maierhofer (available as sheet music and on CD) have set lasting standards for liturgical music. This applies to the MISSA LUMEN, as much as to the ETHNO-MASS for peace, the MISSA DE ANIMA, the VATER UNSER-MESSE (Lord’s Prayer Mass), the BODY & SOUL-MASS, the MISSA HARMONIA MUNDI, the FRIEDENSMESSE in G (Mass for Peace in G), or his folk-songlike masses such as the DEUTSCHE KANONMESSE (German Canon Mass), ALPENLÄNDISCHE MESSE (Alpine Mass) or KIRCHBERGER SING- und WEIHNACHTS-MESSE (Kirchberg Song and Christmas Mass). They are among the most frequently sung of the new works of liturgical music, whether a cappella or with organ and/or string or wind accompaniment and soloists.
The texts of Lorenz Maierhofer’s masses are liturgically meaningful and characterised by an ecumenical understanding of faith. The masses are outstanding for their singability and their flexibility at the practical performance level. The CDs released alongside the masses contain recordings with differing formations that make it possible to experience the sound of the works both a cappella and with instrumental accompaniment.
NEW GOSPEL COMPOSITIONS
Lorenz Maierhofer’s new gospel composition delight audiences with their content, sound and groove, whether collectively or as individual titles like WAITING FOR THE LORD, I SING HOLY or I'VE GOT A FEELING. His new gospel compositions have appeared in THE NEW GOSPEL TRAIN, in his choir books, in his BODY + SOUL mass, and in his Christmas gospel oratorio THERE IS A LIGHT (for example the closing chorus: LET'S SING A SONG OF CHRISTMAS).
FOR ADVENT & CHRISTMASTIDE
Choral music for Advent and Christmastide (available with German and English lyrics) is an exceptionally prolific field of Lorenz Maierhofer’s creativity. His choral pieces for Advent, with content that delivers a message completely in keeping with the times, are extremely popular with both performers and audiences alike, for example ADVENT DER CHRISTENHEIT (Advent of Christendom) or HÖR IN DEN KLANG DER STILLE (Oh Hear the Sound of Silence), or DECEMBER AGAIN, or LICHTER DER WEIHNACHT, IM DUNKEL NAHT DIE WEIHNACHT (Lights of Christmas, in the Darkness Christmas Nears) or JINGLE BELLS SWING.
Lorenz Maierhofer’s compositions for Advent address in a manner at once poignant and moving, a human striving for light in the days leading up to Christmas – also combined constantly with social issues and issues critical of the times. His ADVENT IS A LEUCHTN (Advent is a Radiance) has gained especial popularity with its German, English or Alpine dialect lyrics, and can be sung in various vocal formations, for example, a version for women’s choirs, for male-voice choirs, or sung with two voices and a harp.
In his choral music purely for Christmastide, Lorenz Maierhofer sets both verses from the Bible and modern texts to music – from CHRISTUS NATUS EST to DOWN IN BETHLEHEM and ETERNAL CHRISTMAS, and he has also composed a setting of the Christmas story from St Luke’s Gospel: HÖRET DIE WEIHNACHTSGESCHICHTE (Hark to the Story of Christmas). Maierhofer’s most important choral publications include his choir books DAS GROSSE ADVENT- & WEIHNACHTSCHORBUCH (The Big Advent and Christmas Choir Book), CHRISTMAS 4 VOICES, 3 VOICES - ADVENT & WEIHNACHTEN (Advent and Christmastide), and the choir booklets JINGLE BELLS-SWING, DER WEG IM ADVENT (The Path in Advent), ALPENLÄNDISCHE ADVENT (Alpine Advent), SEHT AM HIMMEL STEHT EIN STERN (Behold, a Star is in the Heavens), ETERNAL CHRISTMAS, ADVENT DER CHRISTENHEIT (Advent of Christendom),and DIE KIRCHBERGER WEIHNACHTS-MESSE (The Kirchberg Christmas Mass). For women’s choirs SAA, there are the choir booklets ADVENT and WEIHNACHT (Christmastide), and for children’s choirs with piano accompaniment the booklets ENGEL GUCKEN SCHON UMS ECK (Angels Do Look Around Corners) and WIR WÜNSCHEN FROHE WEIHNACHT (We Wish You a Merry Christmas). Various instrumental versions are also available, for example the booklets ADVENT and WEIHNACHT for brass quartets.
NEW FOLK SONGS FOR CHOIRS
From as early as the late 1970s it has been one of the aims of Lorenz Maierhofer in his composition to provide new compositional impulses for the tradition of folk-song singing. Together with Prof. Franz Koringer and Prof. Kurt Muthspiel he has created the genre “Neue Steirerlieder”, or new Styrian songs, and his choral pieces in folk-song style have appeared in publications such as JAHR UND TAG (A Year and a Day – Doblinger music publishers), GRAD UND A BISSERL SCHRÄG (Straight Up But a Bit Weird) Booklets 1 and 2, DAS ALPENLÄNDISCHE MÄNNERCHORBUCH (+CD – The Alpine Male-Voice Choir Book), ALPENLÄNDISCHE ADVENT (+ CD – Alpine Advent) and the special book for Lorenz Maierhofer’s 50th birthday HINTERM REGN SCHEINT DIE SUNN (+CD – Behind the Rain the Sun is Shining). His choral song A SUNNIGES PLATZL / EIN PLATZ AN DER SONNE (A Place in the Sun) has become a choral anthem in his native Styria.
Lorenz Maierhofer counters the legacy of historical issues imposed on the folk song by the first half of the 20th century with content that is modern while still remaining close to tradition. His lyrics interpret concepts such as native land in a manner in keeping with modern times – for example in line with Herman Hesse in the choral song DAHEIM IST (Home is). A large number of his new choral pieces have spread almost like folk songs – especially with dialect lyrics in the Alpine region, but also with Standard German lyrics in the wider German-speaking area, and internationally with English lyrics.
Lorenz Maierhofer’s sacred folk songs have also become widespread – they move audiences with their exceptional sincerity and simplicity, for example his ALPENLÄNDISCHE MESS (Alpine Mass) or ALPENLÄNDISCHER ADVENT (Alpine Advent). His song of farewell at evening, NEIGEN SICH DIE STUNDEN / NOW IT'S TIME FOR LEAVING, has spread, folk-songlike, internationally, and is sung in over 30 languages.
Hermann Schützenhöfer | Landeshauptmann – Head of Government – of Styria
PROMINENT PERSONALITIES ON LORENZ MAIERHOFER’S WORK:
ALPINE POP BALLADS
Alpine pop ballads combine elements of Alpine folk music (for example the use of archaic yodelling syllables) with elements of the style and form of modern pop ballads. Their popularity with choirs began with Lorenz Maierhofer’s attractive choral arrangement of Hubert von Goisern’s hit WEIT WEIT WEG (Far, Far Away). At almost the same time, Maierhofer composed his Alpine love ballad ÜBER’N SEE (Across the Lake), and in this way a new genre of Alpine choral music, as it were, set off on its path to success across the German-speaking area – for example ÜBER’N SEE (CHORIOSUM) / (PACKER SÄNGER) / (VIALENTIA youth choir). Other titles include: UNSER LÄCHELN (Our Smile), FÜR DI/FÜR DICH (For You), and DER WEG ZU DIR (The Way to You).
MODERN CHORAL YODELS
With his new, modern choral yodels (different from traditional yodelling) Lorenz Maierhofer has created a new choral genre, as it were, of world-musical character – comparable with folk, ethno and crossover developments in the music of Hubert von Goisern, or with the modern yoik singing of Scandinavia. Although “modern” in the sense of “in keeping with the times”, Maierhofer’s secular and sacred compositions cover a great breadth of different styles: folk-songlike to classical, contemporary and atonal to popular, groovy and world musical. Like many other modern choral yodels from his pen, DER VERLIEBTE (The Beloved) ranks among the choral standards. The lyrics, reduced to only a few words – often to be sung in several languages – combine with vocalises of Alpine character and rich in overtones.
The choir booklet YODEL CROSSOVER contains 17 modern choral yodel compositions, and these can also be heard on the CD of the same name.
& SONGS OF FAREWELL
Numerous choral lieder and songs by Lorenz Maierhofer that accompany a departure with best wishes have an established place in the repertoire of many choirs. They include most especially NEIGEN SICH DIE STUNDEN / NOW IT'S TIME FOR LEAVING (in many languages), but also numerous other lieder and songs, such as UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.
PROMINENT PERSONALITIES ON LORENZ MAIERHOFER’S WORK:
WARM-UPS, CHANTS, SING GYMNASTICS, CANONS
Both for choirs and for music teaching, Lorenz Maierhofer has written a profusion of small compositions with great effect. They appear in his songbooks and choir books as well as in his sheet-music booklets WARM-UPS (with audio recordings on CD), SING-GYMNASTICS (with audio recordings and video clips on CD), and ETHNO-KANONS (with audio recordings on CD).
LIEDER AND SONGS
Lorenz Maierhofer has composed large numbers of lieder and songs for children – for music teaching, for children’s choirs and also for English-language teaching (for example in Playway to English – published by Helbling Languages and Oxford University Press). His children’s songs for various age groups have been published in his songbooks, for example SIM SALA SING – DAS GRUNDSCHULLIEDERBUCH (The Songbook for Primary Schools), and SING & SWING – DAS SEKUNDARSTUFEN-LIEDERBUCH (The Songbook for Secondary Schools), or in the Christmas and winter songbook SINGEN WIR IM SCHEIN DER KERZEN (Let’s Sing by Candlelight). Collections written specially for children’s choirs (1-2 children’s voices + piano) are ENGEL GUCKEN SCHON UMS ECK (Angels Do Look Around Corners) and WIR WÜNSCHEN FROHE WEIHNACHT (We Wish You a Merry Christmas). Lorenz Maierhofer has also written two masses for children – the ALPENLÄNDISCHE KINDERMESSE (Alpine Mass for Children) and die KIRCHBERGER KINDERMESSE (Kirchberg Mass for Children). Several CDs of his music for children have also been released: CD IM SCHEIN DER KERZE (By Candlelight), CD RUDOLF HAT ES EILIG (Rudolph’s in a Hurry), CD FROHE WEIHNACHT, WUNDERBAR (Merry Christmas, Wonderful), CD LIEDKALENDER IM ADVENT (Advent Song Calendar), CD MEIN GESUNDHEITS-ABC (My Good Health ABC), CD ALLE MEINE TIERE (All My Animals) and CD HIP HIP HOORAY.