I have been listening to performances of Brahms’ “Ein Deutches Requiem” for over 40 years, since I first learned it as a member of the soprano section of my college choir.
Last night I heard it for the first time, at Ravinia Park.
Ravinia is in Highland Park, Illinois. The significance of a presenting the piece in that location was not lost on the performers or the audience. The overall, uplifting message of the work is that the redeemed shall have eternal joy, and that there will be reunion with loved ones who have gone before us.
This Brahms masterpiece isn’t a typical Requiem, with text that begs God to rescue the dead from purgatory or hell and give them peace in heaven. Instead, it’s a work about comforting the living, who have been left behind in grief. If you’ve never heard it, I highly recommend you attend the next professional performance that may be available to you.
May you find comfort from grief (aren’t we all feeling grief, for our Earth, for democracy, for our diminished, COVID limited lives, for each other?) in music–or poetry, literature, visual art, exercise, or forest bathing, or whatever gives you peace.
Putting my headphones on and hoping the CSO or WFMT recorded last night’s performance, I remain,
Your comforted, uplifted, de-stressed, music loving,
I stumbled upon these long and informative program notes written by Dr. Judith A. Eckelmeyer, a retired music history professor from Cleveland State University, for a 2013 performance at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland. They’re worth a read, if you’re interested!
Featured photo by Patrick Gipson, from the CSO’s Twitter feed