Brahms Requiem

Johannes Brahms  
(Born 1833, Hamburg, Germany; died 1897, Vienna, Austria)

 

 

Program Notes

Ein deutsches Requiem 

 

On February 2, 1865, Johannes Brahms received an urgent telegram from his brother Fritz: “If you want to see our mother once again, come immediately.” Brahms hurried from Vienna to Hamburg, but he did not arrive in time to say goodbye. Shortly thereafter, he dedicated himself to composing a Requiem.

 

It is tempting to draw straight line between these two events, but at the time of his mother’s death, 33-year-old Brahms had already spent several years working on what would later become Ein deutsches Requiem. Some biographers point to the death of his close friend and mentor, Robert Schumann, nine years previously, as the catalyst for this work, but the composer never explicitly stated that his Requiem was written for any one person; in fact, he emphasized the work’s universality. When a conductor expressed concern that the Requiem made no mention of Jesus, Brahms replied, “As far as the text is concerned, I will confess that I would very gladly omit the ‘German’ and simply put ‘of Mankind,’ also quite deliberately and consciously do without passages such as John 3:16.”  The significance of John 3:16 is the limitations this familiar text places on salvation: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Brahms wanted his Requiem to speak to all people, not just Germans and not just Christians.

Brahms drew the text for his Requiem from Christian sources—not the traditional Catholic, Latin text, but passages chosen from the Lutheran Bible and apocrypha. Karl Geiringer, a noted Brahms authority, summed up the differences: “The Latin Requiem is a prayer for the dead, threatened with the horrors of the Last Judgment; Brahms’s Requiem, on the contrary, utters words of consolation, designed to reconcile the living with the idea of suffering and death. In the liturgical text whole sentences are filled with the darkest menace; in Brahms’s Requiem, each of the seven sections closes in a mood of cheerful confidence or loving promise.”

Like many great works, Ein deutsches Requiem evolved over time. In 1854, Brahms composed a two-piano work that eventually became the funeral march opening of the second movement. He began writing preliminary sketches of the Requiem in 1857, shortly after Schumann’s death, but the serious, focused composition occurred from 1865-68. The first three movements were premiered on December 1, 1867 in Vienna. By 1868, he had composed a six-movement version accompanied by piano, four hands. A six-movement orchestra version—lacking movement V, which was added later—premiered on April 10, 1868 (Good Friday) at the Bremen Cathedral, with the composer conducting. The premiere of all seven movements occurred in Leipzig in February, 1869. By 1876, the Requiem had been performed at least 79 times throughout Europe, bringing Brahms the fame his mentor Schumann had predicted many years before.

 

Ein deutsches Requiem was Brahms’ largest work in any medium. Steven Ledbetter, musicologist and long-time program annotator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, aptly describes its significance: “Here for the first time, Brahms not only established himself as a mature composer in the eyes of his contemporaries, but also wrote one of those special choral works that singers return to with as much delight as audiences, a unique masterpiece of technique and affect expressing the universal longings of mankind.”

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A German Requiem
Ein deutsches Requiem

I.   CHOR

     Selig sind, die da Leid tragen

I.   CHOIR

     Blessed are they that mourn

Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden.

Die mit Tränen säen, werden mit Freuden ernten.

Sie gehen hin und weinen und tragen edlen Samen, und kommen mit Freuden und bringen ihre Garben.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his

sheaves with him.

II.   CHOR

      Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras 

Denn alles Fleisch ist wie Gras und alle Herrlichkeit des

Menschen wie des Grases Blumen.

Das Gras ist verdorret und die Blume abgefallen.

So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder, bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn. Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde und is geduldig darüber, bis er empfahe den Morgenregen und Abendregen.

Aber des Herrn Wort bleibet in Ewigkeit.

Die Erlöseten des Herrn werden wieder kommen, und gen Zion kommen mit Jauchzen; ewige Freude wird über ihrem Haupte sein; Freude und Wonne werden sie ergreifen und Schmerz und Seufzen wird weg

müssen.

II.  CHOIR

     For all flesh is as grass

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flowers of grass.

The grass withers, and the flowers thereof fall away.

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious

fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain.

But the word of the Lord endures forever.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

III.  BARITON UND CHOR

      Herr, lehre doch mich

Herr, lehre doch mich, daß ein Ende mit mir haben muß, und mein Leben ein Ziel hat, und ich davon muß. 

Siehe, meine Tage sind einer Hand breit vor dir, und mein Leben ist wie nichts vor dir. Ach, wie gar nichts sind alle Menschen, die doch so sicher leben. Sie gehen daher wie ein Schemen, und machen ihnen viel vergebliche Unruhe; sie sammeln und wissen nicht wer es kriegen vird.

Nun Herr, wess soll ich mich trösten?

Ich hoffe auf dich.

Der Gerechten Seelen sind in Gottes Hand und keine Qual rühret sie an.

IV.  CHOR

      Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, Herr Zebaoth!

Meine seele verlanget und sehnet sich nach den Vorhöfen des Herrn; mein Leib und Seele

freuen sich in dem lebendigen Gott. Wohl denen, die in deinem Hause wohnen, die loben dich immerdar.

V.   SOPRAN UND CHOIR

      Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit

Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit; aber ich will euch wieder sehen und euer Herz soll sich freuen und eure Freude soll neimand von euch nehmen.

Sehet mich an: Ich habe eine kleine Zeit Mühe und Arbeit gehabt und habe großen Trost funden.

III.  BARITONE AND CHOIR

      Lord, teach me to know

Lord, teach me to know that I must have an end, and that my life has a final goal, and I cannot avoid it.

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth, andmy age is as nothing before thee. Surely every man walks in a vain show; surely they are disquieted in vain: he heaps up riches, andknows not who shall gather them.

And now, Lord, for what do Iwait?

My hope is in thee.

But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.

IV.  CHOIR

      How lovely is thy dwelling place    

How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, yea, even faints for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will praise thee forevermore.

V.  SOPRANO AND CHOIR

     You now have sorrow

You now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and no one can take your joy from you.

 .You see how for a little while I labor and toil, yet have I found rest

Ich will euch trösten, wie Einen seine Mutter tröstet.

I  will comfort you, as one whom his mother comforts.

VI.  BARITON UND CHOR

      Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt

Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt, sondern die

zukünftige suchen wir.

Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis:

Wir werden nicht alle entschlafen,wir werden aber alle verwandelt werden; und dasselbige plötzlich, in einem Augenblick, zu der Zeit der letzten Posaune. Denn es wird die Posaune schallen, und die Toten wervandelt werden. Dann wird erfüllet werden das Wort, das

geschrieben steht: Der Tod is verschlungen in den Sieg. Tod, wo ist dein Stachel? Hölle, wo ist dein

Sieg?

Herr, du bist Würdig zu nehmen Preis und Ehre und Kraft, denn du hast alle Dinge geschaffen, und durch deinen Willen haben, sie das Wesen und sind geschaffen.

VI.  BARITONE AND CHOIR

      For here we have no permanent place

For here have we no permanent place, but we seek one to come.

Behold, I show you a mystery:

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for

the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. . . . then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting?

Lord, thou art worthy to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

VII.  CHOR

       Selig sind die Toten

VII.  CHOIR

        Blessed are the dead

Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herrn sterben, von nun an. Ja, der Geist spricht, daß sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit; denn ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.

Christine Noel

Artistic Director

Christine Noel, Artistic Director, has conducted annual performances of Messiah with the RI Philharmonic, and recently prepared the chorus for several collaborations with the Philharmonic including Holst’s The PlanetsVaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, and Mozart’s Requiem. She has conducted the Providence Singers and orchestra in J.S. Bach’s Cantata 140, Kim Andre Arnesen’s choral symphony The Wound in the Water, Mozart’s Coronation MassVivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. She has led the Providence Singers through world premieres, commissions, and the Singers’ fourth commercial recording—Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, released in December 2017.

 

She has served on the music faculty and as Director of Choral Activities at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, and as musical director at Trinity Repertory Company. She has prepared choruses for Larry Rachleff, Ann Howard Jones, Robert Page, and Bramwell Tovey. She is Founder and Artistic Director of the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, which recently made its debut at Carnegie Hall and which has performed at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.

 

An active guest conductor, festival clinician, and adjudicator, she holds a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting fromBoston University, where she studied with Ann Howard Jones. She holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Rhode Island College, where she was awarded a Ridgway Shinn Study Abroad Grant, enabling her to spend a year of study at the Kodály Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary. Dr. Noel completed the superior level of Italian studies at the Università degli Studi di Firenze (Florence) and served as assistant conductor and vocal coach for Italian choirs Animae Voces and Coro Polifonico di Caricentro di Firenze.

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John Black

Organ

John Black is an accomplished organist, pianist, and conductor, with recent solo recitals taking him from Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston to the First Presbyterian Church of Pompano Beach, Florida. He is the Director of Music at Greenwood Church, where he founded and conducts the fifty-voice Greenwood Concert Choir, frequently with professional orchestra. An organ student of Peter Sykes at Boston University, John is working toward the Master of Sacred Music degree, and presently holds bachelor’s and

master’s degrees in music and music education (respectively) from Rhode Island College.

As the Singers' assistant conductor, his responsibilities include leading rehearsals and sectionals, presenting workshops, and creating choral arrangements for publication and performance. John is also principal pianist and organist for the Singers and for the RI Children's Chorus, performing on the notable organs of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and

Paul in Providence and Mechanics Hall in Worcester. John was awarded a full scholarship to perform in the Young Professional Artists Program of the prestigious Newport Music Festival, and has served for ten years as resident pianist and choral conductor at the Newport Mansions during the Christmas season.

 

For more information, please visit johnblackorganist.com.

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You see how for a little while I labor and toil, yet have I found much rest.

Chelsea Basler

Soprano

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Grammy Award-nominated soprano Chelsea Basler continues to make her mark in an extensive array of operatic roles due to her unique combination of vocal appeal and artistry. Praised for her "luminous voice" with its "easy soaring range,” she has also been noted for her "wonderful acting" and ultimately deemed "simply superb.”

During the 2020-21 season, Ms. Basler was scheduled to return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Micaëla in Carmen, perform the role of Julia Lowell in Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera, perform with Emmanuel Music as Angela in Weill’s Firebrand of Florence, and perform as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Cape Symphony. In the summer of 2020, she was proud to be part of Boston Lyric Opera’s virtual performance of The Fall of the House of Ushersinging the role of Madeline. In the winter of 2021 she looks forward to making her house debut in concert with the Arizona Opera.

Dana Whiteside

Baritone

Dana Whiteside has won acclaim for his “warm and charismatic bass-baritone that is both impressive and expressive.” He has appeared as soloist in numerous oratorio and orchestral performances, including Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden, Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Stage and opera roles have included Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Boston Baroque, Time in the

Boston premiere of John Harbison’s Winter’s Tale with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and, with Emmanuel Music, the role of Carl Magus in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

 

An avid recitalist, Mr. Whiteside has offered a wide range of programs. Recent recitals have featured programs on themes of French Cabaret, the works of William Shakespeare, and songs inspired by the beauty of Venice. Mr. Whiteside is a frequent performer with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, as well as Emmanuel Music, the Ensemble-in-Residence at Boston’s Emmanuel Church.

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Joseph DeMarco

Timpani

Joe DeMarco is a nationally recognized percussionist with over 25 years of performance experience. Fully dedicated to the perpetuation of the arts, he has performed with the Albany Symphony, Boston Symphony and Pops orchestras, Boston Ballet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra, Providence Singers, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, South Florida Symphony, United States Coast Guard Band, and has shared the stage with world-renowned artists Burt Bacharach, The Beach Boys, Joshua Bell, Andrea Bocelli, Ann Hampton Calloway, Linda Eder, Michael Feinstein, Roberta Flack, Ben Folds, Aretha Franklin, Billy Gilman, Eileen Ivers, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Yo Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, The Moody Blues, and Regis Philbin, among others.

 

Mr. DeMarco holds degrees in music from Boston University and the Juilliard School. He resides in Providence, RI.

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Soprano

Jane Abolafia

Angelica Alvarez

Lisa Babbitt

Olivia Black

Mallory Coffey

Brianne DeRosa

Lori Nassif Istok

Rebecca Ladd

Marykate McCutcheon

Erin McDermott

Catherine Monfette

Beth Nichols

Janice Peters

Mary-Ellen Roca

Heidi Seddon

Corey Thibodeau

Emi Uchida

Alexia Williams

Maria Wood

Elizabeth Zarlengo

Jane Abolafia

Angelica Alvarez

Lisa Babbitt

Olivia Black

Mallory Coffey

Brianne DeRosa

Lori Nassif Istok

Rebecca Ladd

Marykate McCutcheon

Erin McDermott

Catherine Monfette

Beth Nichols

Janice Peters

Mary-Ellen Roca

Heidi Seddon

Corey Thibodeau

Emi Uchida

Alexia Williams

Maria Wood

Elizabeth Zarlengo

Alto

Emily Atkinson

Anne Blissmer

Sally Bozzuto

Janet Breidenbach

Eileen Bristow Molloy

Dana Bruscini

Kyleen Carpenter

Tess Cersonsky

Stephanie Cournoyer

Elaine Cunningham

Betsy Dietrich

Sue Farrier

Mystie Frezza

Jenny Gallant

Kathleen Gannon

Eva Gonzalez

Alina Grimshaw

Beth Holmes

Alyssa DiNobile LaMothe

Kelly Sullivan LaValle

Alexa MacMullen

Angela Mitsuma

Mary Ann Moeller

Eileen Moser

Martha Nielsen

Emma Pacheco

Dianne Sass

Christine Wallis

Joyce Wolfe

Tenor

Neil Brafman

Thomas Burdick Jr.

Jim Burress

Michael Carnaroli

Ted Doran

Corey Martin Fitzgerald

Jim LaMothe

Emmanuel Sodbinow

Jordan Sousa

 

Bass

           

Michael Abrahamson

Stuart Britton

John Brooks

Alex Dowgiallo

Phil Garrity

Dan Hendriksen

Philip Jurgeleit

Terry Karaniuk

Josh Krugman

Alan Lawson

Bradford N. Louison

Alan MacAdams

Ross McLendon

Nathaniel Nichols

Ronald Runner

James Salomon

Edwin Singsen

Richard Spicer

Terry Ward

Michael Zarzycki

Choir Roster

 

 

Singers Emeriti/ae

 

In September 2016, the Providence Singers Board of Trustees created a new membership category to honor longtime Singers when they retire from performance. Singers emeriti/ae have performed in coercer for at least 15 seasons and continue their interest in and support of the choirs.

Patricia Fuller

Joe Runner

Patricia Runner

Donald Blough

Allan Erickson

Louis Nielsen

Steve Tundermann

David Parker

Elizabeth Kaplan

Donna Wulff

Mel Shelly

Katrina Avery

Carrie Scheff

Allison McMillan

Mark Nickel

The Providence Singers is deeply grateful for the support of our friends.

Your generosity makes our choral performances and educational programs possible!

INDIVIDUAL GIVING

 

Apassionato ($10,000 and up) 

 

Patricia Fuller

Dan and Sharon Hendriksen

Josh and Julie Krugman

Anonymous

 

 

Leadership Circle ($5,000-$9,999)

 

Jim and Elaine Burress

 

 

Director’s Circle ($1,000-$4,999)

 

Katrina Hanson Avery and Thomas Doeppner

Neil Brafman

Ted and Brenda Doran

Jennifer Faria

David and Elizabeth Kaplan

Terry Karaniuk

Steven Lewis, in memory of David Lewis, M.D.

Brad Louison

Mark Nickel

Edwin and Catherine Singsen

Elizabeth and Raymond Zarlengo

Anonymous

 

 

Maestoso ($500-$999)

Betty Bourret

William and Elaine Cunningham

Jim Gaffney 

Elizabeth Holmes

Sean Kane

Jim Salomon and Kathleen Gannon

 

Allegro con brio ($100-$499)

John Anderson

Maria Armour

William Arvanities and Naomi Foster

Gloria Barnes

Kamila Barzykowski

Nathan Beraha

James Bierden

Nancy Binns

Debby Block and Bill Harley

Randi Braunstein

Kyleen Carpenter

Tess Cersonsky

Kathy Cookson

Donald Coustan

Patricia Cristofaro

Sheila and Joe Curran

Anthony and Sandra DeMarinis

Betsy Dietrich

Mary Ann Dillon

Stan Dimock

Paul DiNobile Jr.

Mitchell Dondey and Annette Mozzoni

Carolyn Duby and David Swift

Marilyn and Robert Edwards

Susan Ellis and Fred Bisshopp

Sandra Enos, Ph.D.

Barbara Feldman

Diane Finch

Ali Fox

Leigh Furtado

Doree Goodman and Michael Gerhardt

Eva Gonzalez

Steven Grimshaw

Ellen Hendriksen

Lori and K. J. Istok

Philip Jurgeleit

Susan Kane

Alison Kelly

Jill Kimball

Jim LaMothe

Margaret LaMothe

Anne Landis

Linda Lange

Patricia Lannon

Bonnie Lilienthal

Allison McMillan

Eileen Moser

David Parker

J. Geddes and Kathryn Parsons

Judith Pelchat

Janice and George Peters

Kurt Raaflaub and Deborah Boedeker

Jenica Reed

Andrea Ross

Alan Santos

Lisa Sgamboti

Dianne Slader

E. Sodbinow

Beatrice Swift

Emi and Hirotsugu Uchida

Norrie Wake

 

Andante cantabile (to $99)

Peter Allen

Lisa M. Babbitt

William Arvanities

Christopher Barker

Eileen Bristow Molloy

Helen Clegg

Vicki Colvin

Stephanie Cournoyer

Erik Dethlefsen

Cindy and Alex Dowgiallo

Barbara Feldman

Ana Fox

Walter Fraze Jr.

Cynthia Gillooly

Brenda Glover

Judith Greenblatt

Elizabeth Head

Charles Henoch

Carolyn Inlow

Lydea Irwin

Samuel Kaplan

Emi Kimoto

Berit and John Kosterlitz

Dennise Kowalczyk

Rebecca Ladd, in memory of David Wollenweber

Shoshonna Landow

Joe and Dianne Landry

Richard Legault

Alan MacAdams

John MacMullen

Joan Macomber

Marilyn Malina

Sheryl Mason

Ross McLendon

Suzanne Nassise

Martha Nielsen

Christine Noel

Mary O’Rourke

Dianne Sass

Deborah Scheel

Fred and Carrie Scheff

Barry Schiller

Heidi Seddon

Mary Sette

Consuelo Sherba

Jane and Deming Sherman

Peter Smith

Thomas Tatro

Margaret Veresko

Christine and Philip Wallis

Karen Williams

Kevin Wollschlager

Donna Wulff

Mike Zarzycki

This Friends of the Providence Singers listing reflects gifts and grants received during the 2020-2021 season--July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.  If there are any omissions or changes, please let us know.

 

Thank you for valuing and supporting choral singing!

THE FUND FOR THE PROVIDENCE SINGERS

 

Established in 2020 and held at the Rhode Island Foundation, The Fund for the Providence Singers will provide a yearly contribution to the organization’s operating expenses. We deeply appreciate the founding donors, listed below, and in particular Mark Nickel, whose vision and effort made this fund possible.

 

Katrina Hanson Avery and Thomas Doeppner

Donald Blough

Jim and Elaine Burress

Patricia Fuller

Josh and Julie Krugman

The Estate of David and Eleanor Lewis

Allison McMillan

Mark Nickel

Joseph and Patricia Runner

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Community Partners

The Carter Family Trust

Rhode Island State Council of the Arts

June Rockwell Levy Foundation

ExxonMobile Foundation

Rhode Island Philharmonic & Music School

Cardi’s Furniture

State Ballet of Rhode Island

Corrigan Financial

Louison, Costello, Condon & Pfaff, LLP

Alderbridge Communities 

Luca Music

Gustave White Sotheby's

Juno Creative

Rhode Island Children's Chorus

Aurea Ensemble

Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra

Ensemble Altera

 

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Concert Photo Gallery

St. Mary's concert
St. Mary's concert

Performance at St. Mary's Parish, Bristol, RI on 11/6/21.

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Brahms at the Cathedral
Brahms at the Cathedral

Performance of Brahms Requiem at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, RI, on 11/7/21.

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Providence Singers
Providence Singers

Altos

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St. Mary's concert
St. Mary's concert

Performance at St. Mary's Parish, Bristol, RI on 11/6/21.

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