The Church of the Ascension

Todays Date: 06/26/22
Last Update: 01/24/14 04:32:18 PM
Address: Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street
New York, NY    10011

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Voices of Ascension / Brahms  | Open: 01/30/14 Close: 01/30/14
January 30, 2014, 8:00pm Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street, NYC

Brahms German Requiem, arranged for piano four-hands by Brahms himself, with soprano Martha Guth, baritone Richard Zeller, and pianists Anna Shelest and Arlene Shrut.

After 11 years, we return to the glorious Ein Deutsches Requiem of Johannes Brahms. Unlike the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi and others, Brahms abandoned the Latin Mass for the Dead and constructed his own collection of texts from the Bible, in his native tongue. In doing so, his German Requiem offers something different from all the others: it is a work of consolation for those left behind.

For this performance we will be using Brahms's own four-hand piano version. This version was heard at the first London performance in 1871 and at many other performances during Brahms's lifetime. The most notable aspect of this version is the wonderful transparency that allows every nuance and subtle color change of the chorus to be heard.

Our concert will begin with another masterpiece, this one for piano solo: the Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven, played by Anna Shelest. In contrast to the very human qualities of the Brahms, Beethoven's Sonata, Op. 111 is a work of a composer, near the end of his life, whose mind has already entered into another world. This remarkable, seemingly abstract work pulls us, little by little, into Beethoven's immense, timeless vision. It will be a profound experience to hear this great work in the acoustics of Ascension, and then to enter into the warmth and humanity of Brahms.

We are grateful to The Elizabeth and Michel Sorel Charitable Organization, Inc. for their generous support of this concert.