Grand Rapids Symphony Performs “Brahms’ German Requiem,” Nov. 20-21
November 04, 2015
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 110
hero, a parent and a kindred spirit inspire the music featured in “Brahms’
German Requiem,” a deeply moving and uplifting concert presented by the Grand
Rapids Symphony. Anchoring the program is Johannes Brahms’ most ambitious and
thoughtful composition: his German Requiem, written to honor the passing of his
mother. The Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series concert will feature the
Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus conducted by Pearl Shangkuan. “Brahms’ German
Requiem” will have two performances in DeVos Performance Hall: Friday, November
20 and Saturday, November 21 at 8:00 p.m. Music Director Candidate Rune
Bergmann will lead the orchestra.
conductor Rune Bergmann is considered to be one of the most talented
Scandinavian conductors. He is quickly gaining a reputation as an inspiring and
profound musician as well as a dynamic and versatile conductor with an
extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire. Currently,
Maestro Bergmann is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony
Orchestra and Music Director of the Fjord Cadenza Festival.
program begins with Sibelius’ “In Memoriam.” Sibelius may or may not have been
thinking of a particular person when he wrote the stirring, march-like
memorial. It is likely that the piece was inspired by Eugen Schaumann, a
Finnish patriot who assassinated a hated Governor-General during Imperial
Russia’s rule of Finland. In 1957, the piece was performed at Sibelius’ own
the Symphony will perform contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s most
popular work, “Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten.” The work is an early
example of Pärt’s tintinnabuli style,
which he based on his reactions to Gregorian chants. The cantus was composed as
an elegy to mourn the 1976 death of the English composer Benjamin Britten. Pärt
viewed the Englishman as a kindred spirit and felt that Britten’s music was
born from a similar desire as his own.
one is certain what prompted Brahms to compose his Requiem. It’s likely that
it’s intended as a memoriam to his great friend and benefactor, Robert
Schumann. It’s also possible that it was written to honor the death of his
mother in 1865. While not a traditional requiem mass in the liturgical sense,
Brahms chose his texts from scripture with great care, making the Requiem
essentially personal. Though serious, the music is not somber and leaves the
listener with a reassuring tranquility. Jeanine De Bique, soprano, and Norman
Garrett, baritone, will be featured during the piece along with the Grand
Rapids Symphony Chorus.
a free pre-concert multi-media presentation, will be hosted by Music Director
candidate Rune Bergmann and GRS musician Diane McElfish Helle in the Recital
Hall before each performance at 7:00 p.m. Upbeat is sponsored by BDO USA.
German Requiem” will be rebroadcast on Sunday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m. on Blue
Lake Public Radio, FM 88.9 or FM 90.3.
Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or
by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket
service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box
Office, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert beginning two
hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through
Ticketmaster, 800.982.2787, online at GRSymphony.org or in person at
Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and
Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster
service fee. Full-time
students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of
the concert by enrolling in the Symphony’s Student Passport program. This is a
MySymphony360 eligible concert.
About the Grand Rapids Symphony
Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is nationally
recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by
Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate
Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide
range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented
each year, touching the lives of some 200,000. Nearly half of those who benefit
are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through
extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony’s Affiliated
Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony
Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids
Symphony Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera
Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand
Rapids Symphony please visit GRSymphony.org.
This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.