At first blush, the connection between Schütz and Brahms might not be apparent. In a thoughtful and thought-provoking move, this performance of Brahms’ Requiemwas preceded by two motets written by the late Renaissance master. Sung at the funeral of Schütz’s employer, the Elector of Saxony, both works are richly effective settings of scriptural texts. The second, Herr, nun lässest du deinen Dieneris a setting of the Song of Simeon, while the first, Selig sind die Totensets the same passage from the book of Revelation that closes the Brahms: “Blessed are the dead…”.
Warren Trevelyan-Jones and the MSO Chorus. Photo © Laura Manariti
Both composers mine a rich emotional vein in their chosen texts, and both aim for clarity of musical declamation in their differing styles. Apart from the pure musical richness of the chosen repertory for this concert, much food for thought was also afforded by decisions about performance styles and forces.
This current iteration of the MSO Chorus numbers just over 100 singers. Choosing to perform two a cappellamotets followed by Ein Deutsches Requiem(A German Requiem) in its so-called “London” version (i.e. accompanied by piano four-hands) in...