Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brahms Two Ways

San Francisco Symphony is in the midst of a big Brahms Festival, and one of the pieces they're doing is Ein deutsches Requiem, a favorite of choristers and conductors, which contains some of the most beautiful and comforting music ever written. They're pairing it with the Opus 17 Songs for Women's Chorus, Two Horns, and Harp. I sang Op. 17 long ago, and have never even seen the set on a program since then. Go, because you'll never have another chance to hear Op. 17 - and harpist Douglas Rioth is one of the unsung geniuses of the Symphony.

But then again, you should also come see Chora Nova performing the Requiem, with considerably smaller forces, in Brahms's own arrangement for two pianos. You'll also get to hear the short choral work Begraebnisgesang and Vier ernste Gesang (Four Serious Songs) sung by Paul Flight, countertenor and Chora Nova artistic director.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 8:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Dana and Durant Streets
Tickets: $18/$15/$10 online or at the door

4 comments:

Joe Barron said...

Such a beautiful program! Brahms is one of my top five composers (purely a figurative statement, since I don't rank my favorites), and much of his output, beyond the big concert pieces and standard chamber rep, remains obscure -- the organ music, e.g., and the a capella choral music, as Lisa points out.
As for the standards: I've gone through many cycles of the symphonies over the years, more than with any other comopser, looking for perfection, and I've finaloy found it: Bruno Walter and the NYPO, the so-called "French Sony" set. They're mono recordings, but the performances are the most dynamic I've ever heard.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I have some of Walter's Brahms symphonies, but my CD collection is in a state of disorder right now such that I cannot find the set to see which they are, aargh.

Drew80 said...

What a coincidence: I heard the Brahms Opus 17 today, at midday, in Minneapolis.

It is part of this week's Minnesota Orchestra subscription concerts, and at lunchtime I attended the second half of this morning's 11:00 a.m. concert. Nanie and Schicksalslied were also programmed.

I had never previously heard the work in performance, only on disc. I wonder how many years I shall have to wait to hear the work again.

Andrew

Lisa Hirsch said...

Wow! Isn't it gorgeous??

The Op. 17 songs are also a ton of fun to sing, because Brahms's inner voices are so gorgeous. Altos don't wind up singing three-note parts in Brahms.

Schicksalslied gets performed often, I think. I've never sung it but played flute in it a couple of years after singing Op. 17.