Brahms: Requiem / Runnicles
Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Sebastian S. Currier
TRACES, Concerto for solo harp and orchestra Première (00:31:53)
Marie-Pierre Langlamet Harp
A German Requiem Op. 45 (01:15:25)
Gerald Finley Bass Baritone, Helena Juntunen Soprano, Norman Mackenzie Chorus Master, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Donald Runnicles in conversation with Fergus McWilliam (00:16:03)
It is Brahms of all people, the aloof North German, who has given us perhaps the most human of requiems. In contrast to the Catholic requiem mass, it is not the vision of the Last Judgement which forms the core of the work but succour for those in despair, which is suggested from the very first line: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” It is this central concept, besides the splendour of the music, which has ensured the continuing popularity of Brahms’s German Requiem.
This performance by the Berliner Philharmoniker, under the baton of Donald Runnicles, is particularly appealing due to the participation of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus. The choir has partnered the orchestra on several occasions in the past and has always impressed with its sophisticated sound. Following their first concert with the orchestra in a 2003 performance of Britten’s War Requiem, the Berlin Tagesspiegel wrote: “Yet what is miraculous is the choir because from its more than two hundred voices it magically produces a pianissimo verging on absolute silence: ‘Requiem aeternam’; and because they sing the Latin text of the requiem mass with incredible clarity, as if with one voice.”
The Philharmoniker have also worked for several years with composer Sebastian Currier. Following a number of chamber performances, the orchestra, with Marie-Pierre Langlamet as soloist, now performs the première of Currier’s Harp Concerto. In doing so, they will be presenting one of the most interesting American composers of his generation, whose musical language was once characterized by the Washington Post as “lyrical, colorful, firmly rooted in tradition, but absolutely new”.