You could call them music's most enduring phenomena. After all, how many groups have been around since 1498? That's when Austria's Emperor Maximilian I moved his court from Innsbruck to Vienna and decided to include a sextet of boy singers among his musicians. Thus were the Wiener Sangenknaben--or Vienna Choirboys--born. And in the ensuing 512 years, not all that much has changed. The choir has grown, of course--to around 100 members ranging in age from 10 to 14--and they are no longer under court employ, required to sing only sacred works. But they are still the proud standard bearers of a unique lineage that has made them, to quote the Boston Globe, "undoubtedly the most acclaimed children's musical ensemble in the world," famed for their sublime purity of tone and mastery of a wide variety of genres. The boyz come to L.A. this week with their usual sweet and saucy repertoire that includes everything from early church polyphony and other choral masterpieces to lieder, waltzes, polkas and maybe even that hilarious little musical play they've been known to put on, where half of them perform the female parts in drag. You go, girls! Boys? Whatever.
Sun., March 14, 3 p.m., 2010