Brahms’ Requiem as you (probably) have never heard it before

Brahms’ Requiem as you (probably) have never heard it before
Type of post: Classic Choral Society news item
Status: Archived
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 1 2017
“Nine years ago we presented Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) with orchestra, and it remains one of our most popular YouTube videos, with almost 8,000 views,” commented Janiece Kohler, Artistic Director of Classic Choral Society.  “The work is, without question, one of the truly beloved of all sacred choral masterpieces.  But there is an alternative version that is a bit of a rare gem – and that is what we are going to offer our audiences this season.”

The alternate version, known as the “London Version” (for the first complete British performance of this German requiem in London, England), was prepared by Brahms himself to be performed as a piano duet with four hands on one piano, and sung entirely in English.  “The beauty of his oratorio is brought to the forefront in the London Version,” said Kohler, “with its message of comfort and hope heard clearly - recognized and understood - a huge contrast from the visions of pain and terror dramatically painted in requiems of, say, Verdi or Berlioz.  I found that A German Requiem, despite the word ‘Requiem’ in its title, bears very little relation to any setting of the Latin Requiem Mass.  For me this uplifting version is certainly a personal and intimate expression of what is cherished in the ‘traditional’ version of Brahms’ work.”

Featured guest artists with the Choral Society are baritone Jeremy J. Moore, soprano Jody Weatherstone, and pianists Ruthanne Schempf and Sylvia Buccelli. 

“We’re excited to share this beautiful and unique version of Brahms’ Requiem, and also looking forward to our first performance in southern Orange County at St. Mary’s in Tuxedo Episcopal Church,” said Kohler.

The first presentation will be Sunday, April 30 at 4 p.m. at United Church of Christ, 2 Old Dominion Rd., Blooming Grove, NY.  An encore performance will be offered Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s in Tuxedo Episcopal Church.  No tickets are required at either location; a free-will donation will be accepted at intermission.  For information phone 845-713-4543.