When the Los Alamos Choral Society and the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra present Johannes Brahms’ Requiem on Saturday, their performance will be the culmination of hundreds of hours of practice.
Approximately 45 singers and 43 orchestra members will be part of the performance. Those singing have been learningthe 95-page work since early September, practicing together for two hours every Tuesday night. In the two weeks before the concert, they participated in several two-hour rehearsals with the orchestra, which had been practicing the complex music since early December.
The concert will be held at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, at Crossroads Bible Church. It costs $15 for adults. Students may attend the concert free. Tickets are on sale at CB FOX and will be available at the door.
Brahms was a Romantic, but he followed the symphonic tradition of the Classical past. He is the third of “the three Bs–Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.” His Requiem, written between 1865 and 1868, is considered by many to be his greatest work. His mother, a profound influence in his life, died in 1865, when he was 32. Her death was, perhaps, the inspiration for the Requiem.
The Requiem was written in German, but the performance in Los Alamos will make use of the Robert Shaw “adaptation in English based upon the King James Version of the Bible.”
Mary Badarak, a veteran of 10 years leading the Los Alamos Choral Society, will be the conductor for the performance. She told the Choral Society that it is privileged to be performing a work that can actually change lives. She said, in a later interview, that the Requiem is not an expression of sadness but a “triumphant” work.
She also noted that Brahms, a “journeyman” composer, wrote not for a king or a sponsor, but for the people. His Requiem, using passages from the German bible, reflects the profoundsadness of death–but it also speaks of the beauty of “Thy dwelling place, O Lord”; it expresses the triumph of God over death; and it concludes that “Blessed are they who die in the Lord.”
The seven movements in the Requiem include a wide variety of music, from complex fugues to marches, from powerful baritone sections to high, crystal-clear soprano solos.
There is a lilting waltz in the middle of the Requiem, and there are particularly touching passages when the soprano soloist–perhaps intended to be Brahms’ mother–sings, “Ye now are sorrowful …. Weep not, for I will see you again, and your heart shall be joyful….”
This concert presents an opportunity for local music lovers to experience a remarkable piece of music and appreciate five months of intense work by area musicians.