Music: Communism & the Cantor

The most esteemed musical post in Germany, that of cantor to the St. Thomas Church Choir in Leipzig, is also the oldest: the first incumbent moved into the job in 1212. For 27 years (1723 to 1750) Johann Sebastian Bach himself directed the choir that has since become the chief custodian of his music. But in the last 3½ years, since scholarly Kurt Thomas took over as choirmaster, there have been persistent reports that the East German government has been trying to force the Thomaner to sing to a Communist tune. Last week Cantor Thomas fled to West Germany, taking with...

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