Miniature masterpiece in Brighton Philharmonic’s next Dome concert

James Morgan
James Morgan

The second concert of the Brighton Philharmonic’s season at Brighton Dome takes place on Sunday, November 6 (2.45pm).

The orchestra will be joined by regular collaborators Brighton Festival Chorus, conducted by James Morgan, with guest soloists Sarah Tynan (soprano) and Leigh Melrose (baritone).

They are set to perform two choral/orchestral works by Brahms – his longest choral work ‘Ein Deutches Requiem’ (A German Requiem) and by way of contrast, his shortest ‘Schicksalslied’ (Song of Destiny).

Conductor James Morgan (BFC’s music director) is looking forward to the concert and has a warning for audience members: “I’m delighted that the Festival Chorus and BPO will once again join forces in such a special programme. ‘Schicksalslied’ is a miniature masterpiece; this is one concert you don’t want to arrive late for, as the first minute of music is particularly sublime.

“Then there is the ‘Requiem’ – such a well-loved piece and a key work of the choral repertoire. We are very much looking forward to it and to welcoming our soloists Sarah Tynan and Leigh Melrose.”

Catherine Stead, general administrator, added: “The concert opens with ‘Schicksalslied’, which is considered one of Brahms’ finest choral works; it took him three years to compose and is based on a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin about man’s sense of alienation within the cosmos.

“The seven movements of Brahms’ epic German Requiem were written between 1865 and 1868 following the death of his mother, and in writing them Brahms was also highly influenced by the earlier death of his great friend Robert Schumann following a suicide attempt and incarceration in a mental asylum.

“The Requiem is based on words from the German Lutheran Bible rather than the more usual Latin text, which Brahms put together himself, wanting it to be a Requiem for the living, not the dead. The central message appears in its first lines: ‘Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden’ (‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted’), taken from the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. Selig ‘Blessed’ is also the last word we hear in the final movement.

“The Requiem’s first performance in 1868, with Brahms himself conducting, was a huge success and marked a turning point in his career, giving him the confidence to complete many unfinished projects that had tantalised him for years.”

Tickets from Brighton Dome ticket office in person, by telephone on 01273 709709 and online at www.brightondome.org.

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