Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote his German Requiem more for the living than the dead, choosing to set passages of hope and transcendence from the Bible rather than the more traditional Catholic texts (indeed, he called it “German” not so much to identify the language of its text or the nationality of its composer, but to distinguish it as vernacular, or even secular, rather than “Roman”). 19th century publishers often hired work-a-day musicians to make simplified arrangements of popular works for wider distribution, but Brahms insisted on making his own 4-hand piano arrangement from the orchestral score, and the result is revelatory. What one misses in orchestral color one gains in the clarity of his contrapuntal lines and complete mastery of vocal writing. St. Martin’s Festival Singers and two pianists render this profound masterwork and the favorite choral work of many.
June 4, 7:30 pm
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