A programme that puts the voice in the spotlight, with a masterpiece of post-romantic expressiveness, Berg’s Early Songs, and a monument in the sacred repertoire, Brahms’s A German Requiem.
The eternal motifs of the ‘Lied culture’, as emblematized by Schubert, can all be found in these seven pieces by Berg: love, as they all depict the beauty of conjugal life (Im Zimmer); nature (Schilflied); nostalgia (Sehnsucht); the night (Nacht); and reverie (Traumgekrönt), etc. Berg’s lyrical vocal line is backed by a warm orchestra, the polyphonic complexity of which foreshadows that in the later operatic dramas Wozzeck and Lulu.
In counterpoint to these seven gems are the seven parts of Brahms’s A German Requiem, whose moments of majestic spirituality are a departure from the dramatic effects often used in requiem music, instead imbuing it with choral majesty and elevated philosophy. Written in memory of the composer’s mother, it is also a tribute to the German language, in pure Lutheran tradition, although Brahms himself emphasised its universality: German, yes, but above all human.
With support from the CHANEL Fund for Women in the Arts and Culture