OSU Orchestra et al. to Perform Johannes Brahms’ Requiem
The Ohio State University (OSU) School of Music presents Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem (“A German Requiem”) March 8, 2011 at Mershon Auditorium.
The performance features the OSU Orchestra, Chorale and Symphonic Choir, as well as two guest choirs, “Capriccio” from Worthington and the Adult Choir from Worthington United Methodist Church.
Marshall Haddock conducts. The choirs were prepared by Robert J. Ward. The performances features Tamara Regensburger, soprano and Calvin Griffin, baritone. (The performance of Ein deutsches Requiem will be sung in English.)
Let the beauty of this music wash over you
It’s music meant to slow us down, a Requiem of comfort — not anger — drama and mourning.
If you’ve ever been in a church choir, you’ve probably sung the fourth movement of Brahms’ A German Requiem:
I first heard this work in the late 70′s at Trinity Church in Boston, a big old stone Church in Copley Square. It was sung by a large choir, and yet the sanctuary seemed so vast and far away that it was as if they were disconnected from the sound.
Later, I heard Brahms’ Requiem in Symphony Hall with the sublime Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony, conducted by Seiji Ozawa (hmmmm…), and later, with the same chorus and symphony, conducted by Colin Davis (fantastic).
The sight and sound of over 200 students on one stage, performing this music, will turn me into a weeping mess. We had a great time, and a lot of drama with last year’s performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio; and I’m convinced Brahms will steer us into a whole new world of serenity.
Brahms prepared the text himself, using not the Latin mass for the dead, but German Psalms. This is particularly beatuful:
And ye now therefore have sorrow:
but I will see you again,
and your heart shall rejoice,
and your joy no man taketh from you.
Brahms completed A German Requiem in 1866. He gave a partial premiere in Vienna in 1867 without much success. The score was then revised and re-introduced in Leipzig — another flop.
At the same time, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor was being hissed at on stage and in the press. Never mind. A year later, in Bremen (a try-out town) Brahms’ Requiem took off.
The death of Brahms’ beloved mother in early 1865 was the impetus for this work. I’ve been thinking of my own mother lately, especially as I revisit this piece. Ma would not have recognized Brahms’ — nor anyone else’s — Requiem unless it was on the The Lawrence Welk Show. There she’d be in her muumuu, beer in hand, yelling, “What the hell time is the five o’clock mass, for chrissakes?”
My mother was a character. Nah, the Brahms wouldn’t be for her.