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This is a rare chance both to hear The Bach Choir in a more intimate church setting, and to hear Brahms’s own two piano version of the Requiem, which the Choir performed to great acclaim in the Oriental Art Center, Shanghai in 2014.
This concert showcases the work of Bach and Brahms, two giants of musical counterpoint. Bach’s ‘Komm, Jesu, komm’ is scored for double choir and is a work well-known to The Bach Choir, often praised for singing his music with agility. Though the subject of Thymich’s poem is about death, its core, Lutheran message, is that through belief in Jesus there will be eternal life. The message of Advent is the expression of hope whilst November is a time of remembrance and the month of ‘All Souls’.
Brahms knew and admired Bach’s compositions, not least as he regarded himself as a traditionalist in his approach to composition. The choral textures in ‘Geistliches Lied’ are ingeniously crafted with the melodies and inner harmony overlapping each other. It is one of Brahms’ most heartfelt works and affirms a similar message to the Bach motet: ‘What God decides is, and has the name of, the best’.
Brahms’s Requiem is a setting of scriptural texts and his longest composition. Whilst it is sacred, it is non-liturgical, the death of Brahms’s mother and feelings over Schumann’s passing being the probable reasons why it was composed. The version for piano duet was made by the composer and offers a more intimate alternative to the orchestral original.