The UGA Choirs and Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mark Cedel, will perform Brahms’ German Requiem on March 20 and March 21 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall in the Performing Arts Center.
The concerts are part of the 2nd Thursday Scholarship Series that raises money for Hugh Hodgson School of Music scholarships. Tickets are $15 or $7 for UGA students, and available at (706) 542-4400.
Based on biblical rather than liturgical texts, the Requiem is a celebration of life instead of a commentary on death. The work contains dramatic fugal passages, a song-like soprano solo in the fifth movement and the finest choral writing of the century.
Just 33 years old when he completed the bulk of his magnum opus, Brahms wrote, “As for the title, I must admit I should like to leave out the word ‘German’ and refer instead to ‘Humanity.’ ”
Seeking to comfort the living in the face of death, he used the text of Martin Luther’s German vernacular translation of the Bible rather than the traditional Catholic liturgical text for the requiem mass, which connotes images of the terror of the Last Judgment. The work’s melodic orchestral and choral palettes continue to resonate with audiences today, nearly 150 years after Brahms conducted its debut in the Bremen Cathedral on Good Friday 1869.
In conjunction with the performance, a pre-concert interview featuring Cedel, director of orchestral activities, and Allen Crowell, director of choral studies, will air on WUGA 91.7 FM on March 18 at 4 p.m.