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Stumbled on livestream of Brahms's Requiem

A musical home

The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations.
The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations.

I opened Facebook on Sunday evening, April 10. As I began scrolling as saw a post announcing Brahms’s Requiem at Mission Valley United Methodist with members of the San Diego Symphony at 7:00 pm. I looked at the time. It was 7:02 pm. I thought I might tear down the hill from my home in North Park and catch the concert from the second movement on.

I looked back at the post and saw a link for a live stream. Bingo. I clicked the link and actually caught the downbeat of what turned out to be an impressive concert.

The Brahms Requiem has been comforting those who mourn ever since its premiere in 1868.

The Brahms Requiem is actually entitled Ein deutches RequiemA German Requiem. It is not a German version or German translation of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. Brahms had other intentions. He hand-selected the scripture which forms the text of his Requiem.

In a theological dispute, regarding the text, with the conductor who was to perform the premiere, Brahms wrote, “As far as the text is concerned, I confess that I would gladly omit even the word German and instead use Human; also with my best knowledge and will, I would dispense with places like John 3:16.”

John 3:16 is the famous Bible verse that says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son...”. What Brahms is driving at is that his German Requiem isn’t about everlasting life and the resurrection of the dead on the last day. In fact, it isn’t about Jesus at all.

The purpose of Brahms’s Requiem is contained in the opening lines. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Brahms knew that of which he spoke. He started the Requiem after the death of his mother, but the basis of the second movement came from a symphonic sketch that Brahms produced shortly after his mentor Robert Schumann had jumped into the Rhine in a suicide attempt. There can be no doubt that Brahms wrote to comfort and bless his own mourning.

The Brahms Requiem has been comforting those who mourn ever since its premiere on Good Friday in 1868. It is right and appropriate that Mission Valley United Methodist placed their performance on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week.

The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations musically and from a streaming perspective. The balance between orchestra and chorus was well-conceived and executed on the stream. There were multiple camera angles that were utilized based on the context of the music.

Conductor Stan Wick led the gathered forces with a sure hand and steady tempo. The soloist, soprano Amy Mein, and baritone Chris Stephens are close friends so I recuse myself of any opinion except to say that they comported themselves like the professionals that they are.

I hesitate to admit this, but this performance of Brahms’s masterpiece brought me back to it for the first time in several years. As I’ve wandered the classical music landscape over the decades, every now and then a performance will bring me to a musical home that I’ve been missing without realizing it. Such was the case on this Palm Sunday.

Watch the concert with this link. The performance starts at the 16:00 mark.

Video:

Brahms Requiem

San Diego Symphony at the First Methodist Church, Mission Vally, April 10, 2022

San Diego Symphony at the First Methodist Church, Mission Vally, April 10, 2022

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The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations.
The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations.

I opened Facebook on Sunday evening, April 10. As I began scrolling as saw a post announcing Brahms’s Requiem at Mission Valley United Methodist with members of the San Diego Symphony at 7:00 pm. I looked at the time. It was 7:02 pm. I thought I might tear down the hill from my home in North Park and catch the concert from the second movement on.

I looked back at the post and saw a link for a live stream. Bingo. I clicked the link and actually caught the downbeat of what turned out to be an impressive concert.

The Brahms Requiem has been comforting those who mourn ever since its premiere in 1868.

The Brahms Requiem is actually entitled Ein deutches RequiemA German Requiem. It is not a German version or German translation of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. Brahms had other intentions. He hand-selected the scripture which forms the text of his Requiem.

In a theological dispute, regarding the text, with the conductor who was to perform the premiere, Brahms wrote, “As far as the text is concerned, I confess that I would gladly omit even the word German and instead use Human; also with my best knowledge and will, I would dispense with places like John 3:16.”

John 3:16 is the famous Bible verse that says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son...”. What Brahms is driving at is that his German Requiem isn’t about everlasting life and the resurrection of the dead on the last day. In fact, it isn’t about Jesus at all.

The purpose of Brahms’s Requiem is contained in the opening lines. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Brahms knew that of which he spoke. He started the Requiem after the death of his mother, but the basis of the second movement came from a symphonic sketch that Brahms produced shortly after his mentor Robert Schumann had jumped into the Rhine in a suicide attempt. There can be no doubt that Brahms wrote to comfort and bless his own mourning.

The Brahms Requiem has been comforting those who mourn ever since its premiere on Good Friday in 1868. It is right and appropriate that Mission Valley United Methodist placed their performance on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week.

The quality of this performance was beyond all my expectations musically and from a streaming perspective. The balance between orchestra and chorus was well-conceived and executed on the stream. There were multiple camera angles that were utilized based on the context of the music.

Conductor Stan Wick led the gathered forces with a sure hand and steady tempo. The soloist, soprano Amy Mein, and baritone Chris Stephens are close friends so I recuse myself of any opinion except to say that they comported themselves like the professionals that they are.

I hesitate to admit this, but this performance of Brahms’s masterpiece brought me back to it for the first time in several years. As I’ve wandered the classical music landscape over the decades, every now and then a performance will bring me to a musical home that I’ve been missing without realizing it. Such was the case on this Palm Sunday.

Watch the concert with this link. The performance starts at the 16:00 mark.

Video:

Brahms Requiem

San Diego Symphony at the First Methodist Church, Mission Vally, April 10, 2022

San Diego Symphony at the First Methodist Church, Mission Vally, April 10, 2022

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