The Bach Choir exists to explore and honour in performance the beauties and wonder of choral music
from the past four centuries with particular emphasis on the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries.

Upcoming events

Aug
3
Sat
Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem @ St Mary of the Angels
Aug 3 @ 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm

Typically Brahms, the composer spoke quite flippantly of his most heartfelt and tender works. In April 1865, Brahms sent a draft of “How lovely is thy dwelling place” to Clara Schumann, referring to it as the ‘least offensive part of some kind of German Requiem’. It turned out to be one of the most beloved works of the entire choral repertoire.

Brahms’ impetus to compose the requiem was the death of his mother in 1865 and of his mentor, Robert Schumann. The idea for the requiem began however, in May 1854. Schumann announced Brahms was a rising star and the next genius of German music – soon after, Robert Schumann threw himself into the Rhine in an attempted suicide. In the days after this dramatic event, Brahms was engaged in a flurry of sketches and compositions. He composed three movements of an unrealised sonata for two pianos, but one movement became the first movement of his Piano Concerto in D minor and the other became the second movement of the Requiem.

The Requiem was premiered on Good Friday, 1868, in Bremen Cathedral. The soprano solo in the fifth movement we know today was added later. This masterpiece is unlike any other Requiem – it is neither a mass nor an oratorio – but a personal memorial for the two people he most revered. There is no doubt about the work’s inherent spirituality, yet careful listeners may notice that neither God nor Christ is mentioned. Brahms wrote, “l confess that I would gladly omit even the word ‘German’ and instead use ‘Human.'” He was raised Protestant, but by today’s standards he would be considered a ‘secular humanist.’

Brahms wrote his Requiem not as an address to the dead, but to comfort the living.

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