Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
(Chorus Master: Erwin Ortner)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
“Begräbnisgesang” (“Burial Song”) for mixed chorus and wind instruments, Op. 13
“A German Requiem” for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra, Op. 45
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In selecting verses to set to music in his Requiem, Johannes Brahms made a radical departure from the text of the Latin Mass of the Dead which Mozart, Cherubini, and Berlioz had taken up. Respectful of the bible yet at the same time of a liberal cast, Brahms sought intellectual independence. The point for him was not to rekindle the “Dies irae” and the pandemonium of Judgment Day; he much preferred to represent human frailty and our unsheltered condition as beings who live in the shadow of death. And he wanted to extend assurance by nursing the hope of eternal life: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.” “A German Requiem,” which was completed in 1868-69, ranks among the most impressive and stirring examples of sacred music. Bernard Haitink will pair this moving music with the composer’s “Burial Song,” an early choral piece which is accompanied by wind instruments and timpani and intended to be sung at the grave, under the open sky.
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