Lewis & Clark College Presents
Brahms "Ein deutsches Requiem"
Combined Choirs and Orchestra
Sunday 24 April | 3:00 pm
Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Portland, Oregon

 

PROGRAM

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


Katherine FitzGibbon, conductor
Arwen Myers, soprano
Harry Baechtel, baritone

Cappella Nova Choir, Katherine FitzGibbon, director
Community Chorale, Katherine FitzGibbon, director
Voces Auream, Adam Steele, director
Lewis & Clark Orchestra, Lance Inouye, director


PROGRAM NOTES

THE COMPOSER

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer who fused together Romantic and Classical ideals to create uniquely modern music while paying homage to the past. Brahms received piano and cello lessons as a child, learning the music of the great German and Viennese composers such as J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Robert Schumann saw potential in young Brahms, writing in his Neue Zeitschift für Musik (New Journal of Music), "If he will plant his magic wand where the massed forces of chorus and orchestra will lend him their power, then even more wondrous glimpses into the world of the spirit await us."


THE HISTORY

Following the death of his mother in 1865, Brahms began focusing serious energy on composing the Requiem. The work is transparently focused on memorialising his mother, but some scholars believe the idea of writing a German requiem came as early as 1856, when his close friend Robert Schumann died. The first partial performance of the work premiered just the first three movements on December 1, 1867, and the reception was mediocre at best. Brahms then reworked and supplemented the work, and it was premiered with 6 movements on Good Friday, April 10, 1868, in Bremen, Germany. Unlike the first performance, the Bremen premier brought him international acclaim, fulfilling the earlier prediction of Schumann. The final movement (now the fifth, with a soprano solo) was added in 1868, and the full work was premiered in Vienna that year, completing the requiem that exists today.

 

THE TEXT

Interestingly, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem is not a requiem in the traditional sense of the genre, more closely resembling liturgical oratorios such as Handel's Messiah. Requiems of earlier composers like Berlioz and Mozart were settings of the Catholic Requiem Mass, using the prescribed Latin texts which fixated on salvation through Christ, fear of damnation, and prayers for the dead. In contrast, Brahms chose his own texts from Martin Luther's German translation of the Bible, leaving out any explicit reference to redemption through Christ, and instead focusing on comfort for the living. Brahms chose texts that made use of simple metaphors such as farming as a way of sharing the tenderness and comfort of the piece more directly to the listener. He chose to write it in German to communicate directly with his listeners, but when asked about the title of the piece, he replied that "I will admit that I could happily omit the 'German' and simply say 'Human.'"


THE PIECE

The overall shape of the piece models the shape of a traditional Lutheran cantana, making an arch shape where the first and 7th movements mirror each other, 2nd and 6th and so on, with the 4th movement being the keystone. The work as a whole has specific harmonic relationships from movement to movement. Several of the movements end with a joyful and triumphant text, and Brahms set those texts to the musical form of the fugue, a form with German musical traditions commonly associated with J.S. Bach.

"Selig sind, die da Leid tragen" (1) is a quiet, somber introduction to the Requiem. It introductes the central musical theme of a small leap followed by a step in the same direction, a simple three-note motif that Brahms uses to tie the whole piece together. It is first demonstrated at the choral entrance and appears throughout the work as a whole. "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras" (2) begins with the same theme, but in reverse (going downwards instead of upwards), and its regular pulse, amplified by the drums, models a funeral march. There is a change of pace in the middle, and the movement ends with the first of three fugues, begun by the bass section. "Herr, lehre doch mich" (3) starts with a lamenting baritone solo contemplating the inevitability of death and brevity of life. This crisis of confidence leads to the fundamental question, "Nun, Herr, wes soll ich mich trösten?" ("Now Lord, how shall I find comfort?"), featuring a melody orchestrated in a way reminiscent of Mozart, with the pulsating triplets in the woodwinds a nod to Beethoven. The choir's comforting answer, "The righteous souls are in the hands of God," is set as another fugue, this time led by the tenor section. "Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen" (4) serves as the keystone of the overall design, and changes the pace from the other movements by inviting a joyful texture using a simple triple meter dance. Its text praises the Lord and depicts the kingdom of heaven, the farthest from what one would typically understand as a requiem. "Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit" (5) was the movement written last, which truly completed the work. It features a soprano solo with choral response, and is the most transparent homage to Brahms's late mother, especially with the final line of text "Ich will euch trösten, wie einen seine Mutter tröstet" ("As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you"). "Denn wir haben hie kine bleibende Statt" (6) covers the typical requiem theme of God's final triumph over death, in a similar way to movement 2, with a slow moving and quiet introduction featuring the baritone solo once again, moving to a climactic and exciting second section describing the triumph of death at Judgement Day, culminating in the final fugue of the piece, led by the alto section. "Selig sind die Toten" (7) is reminiscent of the first movement, ending the piece by saying "Selig sind die Toten" ("Blessed are the dead") instead of "Selig sind, die da Leid tragen" ("Blessed are those who mourn"), finishing the Requiem in a quiet and comforting manner and bringing Brahms's greatest choral work to a close. - Zachary Schonrock '18

Luther Bible Lyric Translation by Michael Musgrave

1.  
Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, Blessed are they that have sorrow,
denn sie sollen getröstet werden. they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Die mit Thränen säen, They that sow in tears
werden mit Freuden ernten. shall reap in joy.
Sie gehen hin und weinen They go forth and weep
und tragen edlen Samen, and carry precious seed,
und kommen mit Freuden and come with joy
und bringen ihre Garben. and bring their sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:5,6)
   
2.  
Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras For all flesh is as grass
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen and all splendor of man
wie des Grases Blumen. is like the flower of the field.
Das Gras ist verdorret The grass withers
und die Blume abgefallen. and the flower falls. (1 Peter 1:24)
So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder, So be patient, dear brothers,
bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn. until the coming of the Lord.
Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet See how the farmer waits
auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde for the precious fruit of the earth
und ist geduldig darüber, and is patient for it
bis er empfahe until he receives
den Morgenregen the Spring rains
und Abendregen. and the Autumn rains. (James 5:7)
Aber des Herrn Wort Yet, the word of the Lord
bleibet in Ewigkeit. stands for evermore. (1 Peter 1:25)
Die Erlöseten des Herrn The redeemed of the Lord
werden wieder kommen shall return
und gen Zion kommen mit Jauchzen; and come to Zion with rejoicing;
ewige Freude wird über ihrem Haupte sein, eternal joy shall be upon their heads,
Freude und Wonne werden sie ergreifen, they shall obtain joy and gladness
und Schmerz und Seufzen wird weg müssen. and pain and suffering shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)
   
3.  
Herr, lehre doch mich, Lord, let me know
daß ein Ende mit mir haben muß, that I must have an end,
und mein Leben ein Ziel hat, that my life has a term,
und ich davon muß. and that I must pass on.
Siehe mein Tage sind See, my days
einer Handbreit vor dir, are as a hand’s breadth before you,
und mein Leben ist wie nichts vor dir. and my life is as nothing before you.
Ach, wie gar nichts sind alle Menschen, Truly, all men that still walk the earth
die doch so sicher leben. are hardly as anything.
Sie gehen daher wie ein Schemen, They go hence like a shadow
und machen ihnen viele vergebliche Unruhe; and all their noise comes to nothing;
sie sammeln, und wissen nicht they heap up their wealth
wer es kriegen wird. but do not know who will inherit it.
Nun, Herr, wes soll ich mich trösten? Now, Lord, how shall I find comfort?
Ich hoffe auf dich. I hope in you. (Psalm 39:4-7)
Der Gerechten Seelen sind in Gottes Hand, The righteous souls are in the hand of God,
und keine Qual rühret sie an. and no torment touches them. (Wisdom of Solomon 3:1)
   
4.  
Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, How lovely are your dwellings,
Herr Zebaoth! Lord of Sabaoth!
Meine Seele verlanget und sehnet sich My soul longs and faints
nach den Vorhöfen des Herrn; for the courts of the Lord;
mein Leib und Seele freuen sich my body and soul rejoice
in dem lebendigen Gott. in the living God.
Wohl denen, die in deinem Hause wohnen, Blessed are they that dwell in your house,
die loben dich immerdar. they praise you evermore. (Psalm 84:1,2,4)
   
5.  
Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit; You now have sorrow;
aber ich will euch wieder sehen but I will see you again,
und euer Herz soll sich freuen, and your heart shall rejoice,
und eure Freude soll niemand von euch nehmen. and your joy shall no man take from you. (John 16:22)
Sehet mich an: Look on me:
Ich habe eine kleine Zeit For a short time I have had
Mühe und Arbeit gehabt sorrow and labor
Und habe großen Trost funden. and have found great comfort. (Ecclesiasticus 51:27)
Ich will euch trösten, Thee will I comfort
wie einen seine Mutter tröstet. as one whom a mother comforts. (Isaiah 66:13)
   
6.  
Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt, For we have no abiding place,
sondern die zukünftige suchen wir. but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis: Behold, I tell you a mystery:
wir werden nicht alle entschlafen, we shall not sleep,
wir werden aber alle verwandelt werden; but we shall all be changed;
und dasselbige plötzlich, in einem Augenblick, and that quickly in a moment,
zu der Zeit der letzten Posaune. at the sound of the last trumpet.
Denn es wird die Posaune schallen, For the trumpet shall sound,
und die Toten werden auferstehen unverweslich, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
und wir werden verwandelt werden. and we shall be changed.
Dann wird erfüllet werden Then shall be fulfilled
das Wort, das geschrieben steht: the word that is written:
Der Tod ist verschlungen in den Sieg. Death is swallowed up in victory.
Tod, wo ist dein Stachel? Death, where is your sting?
Hölle, wo ist dein Sieg? Hell, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:51,52,54,55)
Herr, du bist würdig Lord, you are worthy
zu nehmen Preis und Ehre und Kraft, to receive praise and glory and power,
denn du hast alle Dinge geschaffen, for you have created all things,
und durch deinen Willen haben sie das Wesen and by your will were they created
und sind geschaffen. and have their being. (Revelation 4:11)
   
7.  
Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herrn Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on,
sterben, von nun an,
Ja, der Geist spricht, daß sie ruhen von Yes, says the spirit, that they rest from their labors
ihrer Arbeit;
denn ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach. and their works follow after them. (Revelation 4:11)

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Ms. Myers
Ms. Myers holds bachelor's and master's degrees and a Performer's Diploma in vocal performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Alan Bennett and Patricia Brooks Havranek. A native of Augusta, GA, she is currently the music associate at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, OR, and she is an active freelance artist both in the Northwest and across the United States.

Katherine FitzGibbon

Harry Baechtel

Adam Steele

Lance Inouye

 

CHOIRS *section leader +assistant conductor

CAPPELLA NOVA    
Soprano Alto Tenor Bass
Eleanor Chen Charlie Ahlquist + Myles Bridgewater-Jackman Simon Cropp
Hana Chwe Annie Baker Ben Kassman Aaron Fellows
Patricia Palczewska Kushi Beauchamp Sam Kumasaka Ted Jack
Sierra Renz Bailey Dean* Spencer Mackey Paul Moyer
Iris Shanks * Brynna Faris Nathan Phipps Jose Quintero
Maura Taylor Anna Lyubinina Michael Richman Win Salyards
Sally Wang Brynn Rova Trevor Sargent Louis Umbarger
Amy Waters Maddy Saboe Zachary Schonrock Abe Weill
Ashley Yoo Kate Wackett Michael Severson * Sam Wellander *

 

COMMUNITY CHORALE    
Soprano Alto Tenor Bass
Charlotte Cox Naomi Beymer Samuel Alper Jeremy Bacharach
Patti Dewitz Paulette Bierzychudek Haley Best Matt Castro
Kelin Doner Donna Dermond Phil Beymer Matthew Holloway
Jennifer Garlock Judy Fettman Stan Fonseca Damion Lance
Adriana Hernandez Laurel Glasmire Kevin Fox Lance Lannigan
Jasmine Pan Claire Hinkley Isaac Goldstein Bryon Moyer
Letty Phillips Sophia Horigan Tom Jendrzejek Nicholas Noneman
Mariam Said Jessica Jendrzejek Alex Kwong Soren Peterson
Sam Salkind Betsy Lance Michael Nosek Johnathan Raymond
Catriona Setliffe Sharon Lance Travis Pilarcik Simon Schiller
Seren Villwock Christine Lentz Todd Scharff Edwin Shahravan
Jane Weiand Eve Lowenstein Michael Severson + Anthony Utehs
Leah Weston Pamela Plimpton Brandon Vance Kyle Walters
Julia Sheppard Les Wardenaar  
  Morganne Sigismonti Asa Weiss  
  Camille Skinner Adrian Yee  
  Megan Spalding    
  Teresa Stackhouse    
  Anna Szemere    
  Amy Timmins    
  Sophia Warner    
  Barbara Whitmore    
  Sharon Ziel    

 

VOCES AUREAM
Madi Anderson Kora Link
Amanda Bednarz Ruth Linneman
Mia Gaines Ama Marcelos
Marissa Harshbarger Audrey Martin
Anna LaCourse Hannah Zelcer

 

LEWIS & CLARK ORCHESTRA

First Violin Cello Clarinet Trombone /
Anna Epstein, concertmaster Nicholas Krieg, principal Dakota Kennedy, principal Euphonium
Sara Jane Maass, Mindy Kim Bailey Uptain Raul Huezo-Mayorquin
assistant concertmaster Karen Schulz-Harmon Gabrielle Yelland
Spencer Mackey Ellen Field Bassoon Jemma Goddard
Asami Kaneko Rachel Bedore Oswald Huynh
Samantha Zimmerman Emma Wood Nathan Tang Tuba
Lindsay Von Tish Merrill Liddicoat Andy Bennett
Lisbeth Dreier Contrabassoon
Bass Oswald Huynh Harp
Second Violin Lillian Vellom, principal Jennifer Craig
Jamuna Buchanan, principal Riley Zickel French Horn
Sophie Kendall Jack Penrod Rachel Aragaki, principal Timpani
Natalie Reed Robin Fujita Mack Beveridge Eli Goldman
Bill Nondorf Eleanor Gerrior
Emma Towne Flute Bryan Joppa Librarian
Kyle Banerjee McLane Harrington, principal Lillian Vellom
Isabel Anderson Trumpet  
Viola Garek Chwojko-Frank Marvin Valenzuela  
Holland Phillips, principal Jade Fairchild Michael Huynh  
Ben Gaskins    
Michelle Rahn Oboe    
Maia Hoffman Mitch Iimori    

 

SPECIAL THANKS
The Lewis & Clark Department of Music, Department Chair Katherine FitzGibbon, Jessica Sweeney, Susan Nunes, Bailey Dean, Iris Shanks, Haines Whitacre, Oswald Huynh, Helena Zi Huey Lam, Audrey Martin, Lillian Vellom, Lance Inouye, Zachary Schonrock, Stephanie Thompson (rehearsal accompanist), Holland Phillips, Inés Voglar, Voice and Instrumental Faculty.

Four channels of audio and two cameras were used to produce this recording.

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