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Helium Vola
“A voi che amate” - or Maytime in June

22.06.2021
“A voi che amate” - or Maytime in June
“For you who love” is not only the title of Helium Vola’s third album, but also the title of the program that the band presented on this beautiful summer evening on the stage in Augsburg’s Annahof.

Because of Corona measures, only about 200 guests were allowed to enjoy the open-air ambience quite appropriate for the occasion. These came from far - some die-hard fans had not spared several hours journey - and close. The voice of Helium Vola, Sabine Lutzenberger, who performs early music throughout Europe, lives in Augsburg. Thus, her local audience enjoyed the music as well as obvious members of the gothic community. Even scene veteran Mephisto did the honors. The black-motley audience already demonstrates how this project succeeds in building a bridge from early music and medieval poetry into the present time. On the studio albums this happens very directly through the synthesizer sounds used by the composer Ernst Horn, sometimes brute, sometimes subtle. The synthesizers had to stay at home this time for logistical reasons and leave the stage for a classical grand piano. However, die-hard Lakaien fans already know what sounds the pianist Ernst Horn is able to elicit from a prepared fortepiano. The rest of the audience is just amazed. Yes, these sounds!

What all listeners have in common is that they succumb to the magic of the music already after the intro “A voi che amate” and “Saber d’amor”, spellbound by the wonderful singing. The timbre and the sophisticated dynamics of the singer make the songs live even more intense than on the albums. Lutzenberger intones the medieval poems flawlessly, whether in Middle High German, Provençal, Galician or Latin. The audience can decipher the lyrics thanks to a program distributed in advance with the translations into modern High German. It contains pieces from all of the formation’s 4 albums so far. Pieces sparkling with joie de vivre alternate with empathetic interpretations of sorrowful experiences, as in “Frauenklage”, a woman’s lament which deals with the fate of an unwanted pregnant woman. The intro is followed by two pieces from the most recently released album “Wohin?”. And almost in time for the lively “A Virgen Santa Maria” the bell of the nearby church strikes - well-tuned, mind you, as if it wanted to enrich the music.

Not to be missed at a Helium Vola concert is one of the fans’ favorites “Omnis mundi”. The debut was originally written for an ensemble and had taken root in the scene clubs with its powerful electronics. Here, Ernst Horn shows what unusual sounds he is able to wring from a grand piano. This one resisted a bit - but it was of no use. Less forceful than the electronic original, the acoustic version emphasizes the contrast between the strongly rhythmic verses and the melodiously flowing chorus.

Sabine Lutzenberger seems to appreciate the sensitive and skillful piano accompaniment of her music partner. Before the last pieces she leaves the stage to Ernst Horn for an instrumental solo. The latter plays the accompaniment to “Wasted Years” and the Lakaien fans in the audience surely hear the soft baritone of Alexander Veljanov to it in their heads. “Dormi”, a comforting, gentle but moving lullaby to which the composer then once also wrote the Italian lyrics himself, ushers in the end of the concert and segues into “Selig, selig” one of Helium Vola’s so popular May songs. After that, the audience applauds frenetically, having absorbed the music like a sponge after such a long abstinence from live music, as if life were starting anew after a long winter. The singer and her accompanist do not let themselves be asked for long and play two more pieces as an encore. And the unfortunately really last “In liehter varwe stat der walt” then releases the listeners with spring feelings in their hearts. It has become May in June. Such is the magic of Helium Vola. It hung in the evening air for quite a while and let some people enjoy the beautiful ambience together.

It remains to say a thank you to the city of Augsburg, which makes open-air stages available to the artists free of charge as part of the Augsburg City Summer and leaves the proceeds to them. Without this action, this music would not have unfolded its magic for us.

by CM

Photo: Sylvia Pfister

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Setlist:

A voi che amate

Saber d’amor

Uf der Linden

A virgen Santa Maria

Minne und Treue

Printemps

Frauenklage

Omnis Mundi

Begirlich in dem hertzen min

Wasted Years (instrumental)

Mahnung

Dormi

Selig, Selig

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Encore:

Nuestras vidas

In lichter Farbe