Brahms Requiem

Saturday, 19 November 2011 - 7:30pm

Andre Previn was so taken by the utter beauty of this Requiem that he said that, “If there is one piece to hear before you die, it is the Brahms Requiem.”

Brahms wrote his Requiem after the death of his mother and his dear friend, Robert Schumann. Brahms focuses on the human elemental loss, grief and salvation in preference to any specific Christian approach. He toyed with the idea of calling the work ‘A Human Requiem’. It contains some of the most beautiful, uplifting and profound utterances from the hand of any composer.

Brahms was a hero of one of Britain's best-loved composers, C. Hubert H. Parry, who composed Elegy for Brahms in memory of his greatest musical influence. It's a beautiful, rarely-played piece and this is a fantastic opportunity to hear it alongside some of the best-known British music by the same composer: I was Glad and Blest Pair of Sirens, heard most recently at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and an excerpt from his oratorio, Judith, better known as the tune to Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.

This is a wonderful opportunity to hear a beautifully-programmed concert in the fantastic surroundings of Guildford Cathedral. Accompanied by the Brandenburg Sinfonia and soloists Claire Seaton and Michael Bundy, it promises to be an evening to remember.



Jeremy Backhouse conducts the Vivace Chorus and Brandenburg Sinfonia.

Parry: I Was Glad
Blest Pair of Sirens
Long Since Egypt's Plenteous Land (from Judith)
Elegy for Brahms
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem


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Chorus view

For many people in Vivace, the Brahms Requiem is a real favourite. It's a wonderful piece for a singer - beautiful melodies, wonderful harmony and a real range of speeds, dynamics and emotion. It sounds deceptively simple - but we have to keep our eyes on Jeremy all the time, to make sure that we are all singing together and with the expression he's looking for. Rehearsing the Requiem alongside the brilliant Parry anthems has been really enjoyable, and we're looking forward to a stunning performance on the 19th!

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