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James A. Altena
Fanfare, May 2019

Die Thomaner is an engrossing documentary of a one-year cycle in the lives of members of the famed boys’ choir of the Leipzig Thomaskirche. Students audition for admittance at age nine, and if accepted stay up until age 18. Newly admitted boys are assigned one-on-one to older boys as mentors, academic and personal as well as musical, creating strong bonds of friendship and a mutual sense of responsibility that at the same time is more intimate and less intimidating than an adult-child pairing might be.

The film opens with prospective students arriving and undergoing auditions. These boys clearly are musically talented and well trained even before reaching this threshold, with the Thomanerchor accepting only the cream of the crop. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review

Lawrence Devoe, October 2012

While watching this chronologic journey, you realize how much effort each choir member puts in and how much the work ethic is emphasized by the faculty. With beautiful videography and excellent sound recording, this is a fascinating experience that goes well beyond a musical travelogue.

Great attention is paid to the atmosphere of varied locations and the pacing keeps this from becoming a matter-of-fact account of the choir’s activities. Color palette and detail are excellent.

The dts HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is magnificent and the sonorities of the live sessions are just plain beautiful. For special effects enthusiasts, there is a pretty realistic thunderstorm in Chapter 18.

It is not common that we get to live with a musical group for an entire year and, yet, the time flies in this well-paced documentary. We get to see the behind-the-scenes preparations for the concerts. Even more importantly, we get to see how the young choristers learn to cope with living away from home and getting along with their classmates. Throughout, the intimacy of this group portrait adds a dimension that is informative and heartwarming. I could not help but feel throughout this video that JS Bach himself was looking down on the proceedings and smiling his beneficent smile. I was certainly smiling that smile when the last chapter concluded. Even the hard-hearted will melt during the Christmas section when seeing these young faces illuminated by the candles and holiday spirit singing “Stille Nacht.” (Silent Night). A strongly recommended BD for you and your family. © 2012 Read complete review

Robert Benson, October 2012

…the full-length…documentary by Paul Smaczny and Günther Attein about a year in the life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir…[is] a beautifully photographed and produced trip through daily life experiences of these young men who have been selected from hundreds of applicants to be in the honored group. © 2012 Read complete review

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