Brahms’ “A German Requiem” to be Performed Nov. 24

The Petrie School of Music at Converse College will present the Converse Symphony Orchestra and the Spartanburg Festival Chorus in “A German Requiem” by Johannes Brahms on Nov. 24. at 8 p.m. in Twichell Auditorium on the Converse campus. Dr. Keith Jones, assistant professor of voice at Converse, will serve as conductor. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students with an ID.

“A German Requiem,” which is written for orchestra, chorus and two soloists, made Brahms an international name and brought him comparisons with Bach and Beethoven.

“It is impossible to say clearly where Brahms got the idea for an original, non-liturgical Requiem,” said Dr. Jones. “It is clear, however, that he carefully assimilated the texts himself from Luther’s translation of the Bible – Old and New Testaments plus the Apocrypha – and the result is an extraordinary message of hope and consolation. He apparently wanted to create a sort of universal text, and he carefully avoided any references to the words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ in the process. His intent is made clearer by a letter he wrote to the music director at Brennan Cathedral in which he explained that the word ‘German’ in the work’s title referred only to the language in which the work was sung; he would have gladly called it ‘A Human Requiem.’ By avoiding the narrow doctrinal reach of the liturgical model, he offers a much wider embrace; the words are a timeless and classic address to the living, to ‘they that mourn,’ and not to the dead.”

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