Adding to my repertoire

Johannes Brahms

For the last three weeks I’ve been rehearsing BrahmsEin deutsches Requiem for our spring classical concert in May. I’m so excited to go to every rehearsal to work on this piece. Even if maestro has us rehearsing the first line over and over for a half hour straight, I give 100% of my effort now and each rehearsal after that with the knowledge that all this work will be appreciated come performance day.

The first time I heard this Requiem was a recording I listened to right before doing a workshop performance of it. The one-day workshop performance was the first time I’d ever seen the score, much less sight-read the whole thing through. (The sopranos sitting next to me were impressed that they invited me to join their choir.)

Performing it only allowed me to be about half as attentive to the music as a whole. I was mostly concerned with following the conductor while making sure I was singing the correct notes and following tempo, dynamics, accent markings, and pronouncing the German words correctly.

When you listen to it and follow along to the words you can almost feel emotions coming out of the music. One thing I hear people mention when they talk about Brahms’ Requiem is that Brahms so accurately translated human emotion through music that it nearly brings people to tears because it hits you right there.

I don’t know if that last paragraph sounded stupid. Bottom line is I love it because I connect to this music the most compared to other music I’ve experienced and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

There’s so many beautiful things about this requiem compared to other requiems out there. I’ve performed Mozart‘s Requiem Mass in D minor and the Requiem by John Rutter and I love them both dearly but Brahms’ requiem is on another level. It’s kind of a dream come true to be able to work in depth and perform this piece with a remarkable choir.

And if you’re curious (I’m sure you’re not), a piece that runs a close second to my favorite choral piece is H. Balfour Gardiner‘s Evening Hymn. Both this and the Brahms piece had me in tears as soon as we sang the first notes. It’s just so… beautiful. The organ. The voices! This piece would be my theme song as I walk through the Pearly Gates in Heaven.

Okay now you know how much a nerd I am and how I love classical choral pieces. Do you have any favorite classical pieces or composers? Or are you only cool with Piano by Candlelight?

[ Image via Wikipedia ]

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