Brahms’ Requiem with Paris Choral Society

It is that time again – choir concert time! The 2.5 hours I spend every Monday night singing with my fellow music-lovers of varying nationalities and ages will prove to be time well spent this weekend. We are performing Brahms’ Requiem (full title: Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der heiligen Schrift) composed 1865-8. I am very excited to perform this 70-minute work!

***Scroll down to the bottom for concert details.***

What is a requiem?

“The word Requiem is Latin for ‘rest.’ Originally, in the Latin liturgical tradition, Misse pro Defunctis (Mass for the Dead) began with the words Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis (Give them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them). A very small portion of the Latin text came from the Bible, but it was apparently composed for the express purpose of observing a mass for the departed.”

-from Kirchenmuzik, notes for the Milwaukee Master Singers

Although the text of a Requiem is religious in origin, one doesn’t have to be particularly religious to appreciate this music. Everyone can relate to the concept of death, whether they subscribe to the teachings of the Bible or not. Participating in a Requiem, whether by listening or performing, is a glorious way to honor and remember the dead. Perhaps grief and sadness, not just relating to death but to a loss of any sort, can be put to rest.

I love that each of the seven movements in this requiem are unique. I don’t enjoy singing or listening to music that is too repetitive – good job Herr Brahms for keeping my interest! I am also enjoying the voices of our baritone and soprano soloists, Rodney Earl Clarke and Elizabeth Procuronoff; you’d have to be deaf not to appreciate the facility, power, and beauty of both voices. The orchestra is wonderful too; there are so many beautiful moments in the instrumental part and the players bring so much musicality to the work. I am quite excited for this concert – it’s not one to miss!

The quotation below was written about the 7th and final movement, but I think it applies to the whole work.

“The music of the finale if full and rich but not showy. It is a finale with the same lyrical sweetness, the same austerity, humility, and limpid ecstasy that the Requiem possesses from its opening measures. It ends gently as the work began, without Beethovenian perorations or Handelian kettledrums, but with submission to the inevitable, a peace not of paradise but of deepest rest…With a radiant gentleness the music dies away on its opening word: selig=blessed” (Jan Swafford, Johannes Brahms, italics mine)

Friday 30 November 2012 20h (8:00pm)
Saturday 1 December 2012 18h (6:00pm)
10€ student, 20€ general
Cathédrale américain
23 ave George V 75008 Paris
Métro: 9 Alma-Marceau; 1 George V

Hope to see you there!

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4 thoughts on “Brahms’ Requiem with Paris Choral Society

  1. Listening to it now! Beautiful….

    So sorry not to be hearing it sung, by you, in Paris…

    Love, Maman

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Singing classical music in a choir has always been one of the little dreams I carry around with me, so I’m a little bit jealous and super intrigued that you’re actually doing it, and doing it in Paris! What a treat for you that must be. Best of luck!

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