by J.D. Goddard
On Good Friday evening, March 29, led by music director Todd Wilson, the Trinity Cathedral Choir, pianists Elizabeth DeMio and Elizabeth Lenti, soprano Judith Overcash, baritone Zachary Rusk and baritone Ray Liddle joined forces to perform Johannes Brahms’s German Requiem.
In the nineteenth century it was not unusual for orchestral compositions to be arranged for piano, thus making in-home performances more readily available. Brahms completed his German Requiem in 1868, and immediately prepared a scaled down version of the work for piano four hands and chorus. It was actually premiered in a home in 1872.
This scaled-down piano version is not without interest, but those who are used to hearing the orchestral version may find it softened and somewhat bland. Though Brahms did not intend listeners to this non-liturgical requiem to shudder in fear for their souls, it is impossible not to feel a sense of guilt and veneration when lambasted by a massive chorus with full orchestra. Heard as it was this evening, this requiem became a gentler work but the intensity and emotional involvement of the singers made for a deeply religious experience. [Read more…]