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Brahms' German Requiem Essay

729 words - 3 pages

Echo Wu
Women’s Choir
Mr. Walker
Experience From LSO Open Rehearsal

[1] LIDO Presentation of Brahms' Requiem. By B. Croyle. The Fulton Opera House, Lancaster, PA. 7 Nov. 2013. Presentation.
[2] "Brahms' German Requiem" by Armin Zebrowski. Sunrise Magazin, Sept. 2002. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

German Requiem, containing seven movements, is a masterpiece by Johannes Brahms around 1868. Differing from the Latin Requiem, “a religious service for the dead” [1] that had lasted for hundreds of years since the Middle Ages, the German Requiem, instead of asking God to be merciful to the dead, concentrates on providing “comfort, hope, and piece”[1] to human lives. Spending eleven years finishing the requiem, Brahms modified his piece in memory of his past-away mother and Schumann, people who meant a lot to his life. During the open rehearsal, the first, second, fifth, and sixth movements were performed. The orchestra performed with woodwind, piccolo, flutes, strings and harp, tuba, and violins(etc.); the choir, noticeably, sang in German in order to achieve an original sense of the piece.
The first movement began with the “bestowing blessings on the grieving.” [1] Eliminating violins in this movement, Brahms aimed at producing a mournful atmosphere. Choir’s starting with lyrics “Blessed are they that mourn,” the low, strong sound by orchestra indeed created a sense of sorrow and bitterness. In the second movement, “one of the most despairing,”[1] violins joined the orchestra and made ringing sound by using mutes, “small pieces of rubber that dampen the vibration of the string.”[1] Growing sound creates a sense of spectral and sets a preparation for the choir’s singing blooming of flower and the perishing of grasses. Repetitive lyrics reveal that “ everything has its own time and that our destiny will be fulfilled when the time is ripe.” [2] Contrasting with the mournful atmosphere, deeper understanding of life reflects Brahms’ love and care for suffering human. During the fifth movement, a guest soprano, Eleni Calenos performed uniformly with the choir and expressed comfort and hope for people who lost the dead. In addition, orchestra’s shorter rhythms along with the longer rhythms of the soprano produced...

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