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Saturday 14 March 2015
at 7.30 pm
All Saints’ Church, The Drive, Hove
Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem
(German Requiem)

“It is a truly tremendous piece of art which moves the entire being in a way little else does.”
(Clara Schumann, in a letter to Brahms in 1867, seeing an early version of Ein deutsches Requiem transcribed for piano.)

Prudence Sanders (soprano), Matthew Sprange (baritone)
The Musicians of All Saints orchestra
conducted by Stella Hull

Selig sind, die da Leid tragen”
Blessed are they that mourn
The text comes from one of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. The music begins in quietly sombre mood, with mourning eventually transformed into comfort.

“Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras”
For all flesh is as grass
Underpinned by the solemn rhythms of a funeral march, the chorus proclaims man’s unavoidable fate – “all flesh is as grass”. A central episode provides some brief respite before the funeral-march returns. Then the sentence “the Lord’s word standeth for ever” moves from darkness into light.

“Herr, lehre doch mich”
Lord, let me to know mine end
The baritone soloist asks “In what shall I hope?” and is answered “My hope is in thee”, leading to an imposing fugue over a deep pedal note, creating both tension and a symbolic firm foundation for the final resolution.

“Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen”
How lovely are thy dwellings
A beautiful pastorale creates a mood of serene contemplation and rest.

“Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit”
Ye now have sorrow
A soprano solo accompanied by woodwind, horns, muted strings and chorus, brings a message of consolation.

“Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt”
For here have we no lasting home
The most dramatic movement of the German Requiem begins in reflective mood, but soon the baritone soloist introduces the verses “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed … at the sound of the last trumpet”. Here the music grows into a blaze of sound and energy until “Death, where is thy sting?” leading to a tremendous fugue.

“Selig sind die Toten”
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
A radiant melody from the sopranos begins the last movement, followed by the basses. The final part reworks music from opening movement, reaching peace with “Selig sind” – blessed, the same word with which the Requiem began.