Tonight begins our four-concert run of Brahms’ A German Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. The soloists Jane Archibald and Kyle Ketelsen have sounded fabulous in rehearsal. The program opens with the Chorus singing one of Heinrich Schütz’s a cappella six-part motets, Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock, conducted by Ragnar Bohlin. In between is Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra. So there’s German music from the 17th, 19th, and 20th centuries all in one concert! Performances are Thursday the 17th through Saturday the 19th at 8:00 pm, and Sunday the 20th at 2:00 pm, all at Davies Symphony Hall.
Tickets are available online or at the box office. The San Francisco Symphony is running an amazing sale until 6:00 pm Pacific Time tonight, where nearly all seats are just $20! Use the SALE20 promotion code to get the special pricing online. The sale includes all our Brahms concerts, plus several other November and December programs.
I’ve sung the Brahms before, but it’s been a whole different experience than the Verdi Requiem. With the Verdi, the music pretty much came back into my voice instantly. When we started the Brahms, my voice was asking “Have you really sung this before?” There is a lot more for the chorus to sing in the Brahms than the Verdi. It’s pretty much continuous, with just a few passages for the soloists or the orchestra alone. It took more time to relearn the Brahms, but now it’s going very well.
The Schütz is a whole new world to me, having never sung any of his music before. Once it was added to the program, I purchased Emmanuel Music’s CD of six-part motets on the Koch International label – now out of print, but available from used stores at Amazon and elsewhere. What a beautiful recording, conducted by the late Craig Smith. It includes several motets composed to texts that Brahms also used in A German Requiem. It’s a fun challenge to combine the very different vocal and choral styles needed by Schütz and Brahms in the same concert.