Ringing silence


It is not easy. Really, it isn't. If the Advent season progresses, not only in this respect sensitive ones push to their limit - to the audio limit namely, should there be then such one. It starts with the pling pling pling, then the horse-drawn sleigh drives through the snow, and we have to speak of luck here if it is Bing Crosby and not Donald Duck who sounds "Jingle bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way". It is a kind of musical sledgehammer, with which the people of our time are made attentive to the fact that soon Christmas is.

Felt starts in the department stores already in the high summer the time of the gingerbread. The Christmas consumer dramaturgy then plays out in just this fast beat and with the high tones of the merciless bells, so that with each day that Christmas approaches, the desire grows for just the peace and quiet and harmony, for which the day, to which everything is heading, also stands. Sounds absurd. It is also.

About the purchase-oriented and Americanized fast pace of Advent to lament, has long become boring. But it never gets boring to look for ways to awaken a Christmas feeling that has less to do with redemption from the sound mania. It is rather a longing for slowness and other sounds. For those that arise when walking in the crunching snow, for example. Or for wood crackling in the fireplace. Or for songs that knit a mantle of sound that is warm and cozy and makes the heart beat a little slower. This is what the singers of the Volksliederchor Schwaz succeed in doing when they go out to "Anklöpfeln" during the Christmas season and bring the real Advent mood into the parlors. Whoever hears them knows that he has found the way that awakens the Christmas feeling.

"We bring the good news, the hope and the faith that Jesus is born," says Josef Kirchmair. He is the secretary of the Volksliederchor Schwaz and knows not only about the beautiful history of the choir, which was founded in 1928, but also about the effect of the men's voices when they draw from the rich treasure of folk songs and sing reflective tunes during Advent. When they enter the parlors as "Anklöpfler" at Christmas time, it is as if the clocks were turned back. Shepherds they are, dressed in loden with hat, stick and lantern. That, too, is part of the tradition they bring to life.

In 2011, "Anklöpfleln" was added to UNESCO's list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage." In doing so, the international organization (UNESCO translates as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) honored a custom that exists in the form only in the Tyrolean Lower Inn Valley, where it represents just that: A heritage that cannot be touched, but can be heard, that is usually passed down from generation to generation and springs from the everyday religious culture of village communities. "The singers are asked into the house and tune there some songs, which announce the Christmas message of the birth of Jesus", explained Joch Weißbacher of the Oberauer Anklöpflern in the application to the UNESCO and held there moreover: "The Anklöpfeln is practiced in the Tyrolean Unter-
inntal and differs in its practice from the Salzburger Anglöckeln and the Glöckeln usual in South Tyrol."

In the honest light of the lanterns, the faces of the shepherds shine almost mysteriously. Once they have lined up in a semicircle in front of the family, they tap the ground with the shepherd's crooks and give the signal with this muffled "Tocktock" - for silence on the part of the listeners and silent tunes on the part of the singers. Soon it becomes clear, why for numerous Schwazer the Advent time begins only, if the Anklöpfler were there, create it nevertheless to leave the racing world before the door and concentrate on that, for which these days in December in reality stand.

It is amazing, how the traditionally at the beginning intoned "who knocks on" works also with children, who were born allegedly too late, in order to remember reflective. It must be the case that the old folk songs, which are not forgotten by the Anklöpfler and are gladly accompanied by choirmaster Helmut Fürhapter on the guitar, are able to strike a chord in people that has nothing to do with age or origin. Whether it is the well-known song about the futile search for shelter of Mary and Joseph or "Still, ganz still ist der Winta hiatz kemma" or "Lenzei und Loisei" or "Geh Hansei pack die Pingei z'sam" or, or, or ... something happens to the listeners. It doesn't have to be explained and it doesn't have to be fathomed. It is simply like that. With their Klöpflerlieder, the singers of the Volksliederchor Schwaz awaken that contemplation which cannot be described. And they create a resounding silence - despite the contradiction of words.

Anklöpfler in the Rablhaus

Annually, on 3rd Advent Sunday, the Anklöpfler can be seen in the Rablhaus on the Weerberg.