Candlelight Concert of Remembrance
Observing the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, the Brahms Requiem (in English) and Douglas Guest's "For the Fallen" by candlelight in a special version of the annual candlelight Remembrance Day concert at St. John's. Co-sponsored by Friends of Music at St. John's and The Choir School of Newport County. The singers are the Professional Choristers of The Choir School, the St. John's Adult Choir, and Trinity Church Choir, all of Newport RI. A reception follows.
Douglas Guest (1916-1996) was born in Mortomley, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England and studied originally at the Royal College of Music and became Organ Scholar of Kings College, Cambridge from 1935 until 1939. During the Second World War he served as a Major in the Royal Artillery. His first major appointment came in 1945 as Director of Music at Uppingham School. From there he became Organist of Salisbury Cathedral, a post which he held from 1950 until 1957, before moving to become Organist and Master of the Choristers at Worcester Cathedral. His final post was as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey from 1963 until 1981. He was appointed CVO in 1975. His most well-known composition is a setting of Laurence Binyons poem, For the Fallen, composed in 1971 for the Choir of Westminster Abbey. The words are well known, uttered at every formal Remembrance Sunday service or similar occasion in England. The musical setting quite properly allows the words to speak simply and clearly.
They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), 1914
This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first performance of Ein Deutsches Requiem, which Brahms himself conducted on Good Friday in April, 1868. The performance took place in the Cathedral in Bremen, North Germany, and was attended by many distinguished musicians (including Brahmss beloved friend Clara Schumann), and helped provide the young composer, then just 34, with his first great public success. The response was so enthusiastic that a second performance was demanded and took place just two weeks later.
The score of the Requiem demonstrates Brahmss virtuosic grasp of 19th century vocal technique, but also reflects his firm understanding of the polyphonic vocal traditions of the previous three centuries. This is Brahmss longest work and its technical mastery and emotional appeal were soon to secure his unique position in the musical world.
The work is in seven sections (the fifth was added shortly after the Bremen performance). The work was written in German which distinguishes it from the five-part Roman Catholic Latin Mass for the dead. Brahms chose the nondenominational texts himself from the German Bible to focus on faith in the resurrection rather than on fear of the day of judgment. Its message of comfort and hope for the bereaved is centuries away from the medieval visions of pain and terror painted so dramatically in the requiems of Berlioz, Verdi, and even Mozart. Here they who mourn and the blessed dead yield in the twinkling of an eye to death is swallowed up in victory, and, of course to the lyrical How lovely is thy dwelling place.
In that Brahms chose texts in the vernacular for his Requiem that his German audience might better understand the relationship between what was being sung and the music that reflected the texts, so also we have decided to present todays performance in English.
Brahms Program note by Professor Bruce G. McInnes
Church of St. John the Evangelist (View)
61 Poplar Steet
Newport, RI 02840
|Minimum Age: 5|
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