UCS – Brahms’ German Requiem -Review

‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’

Saturday (8th April) evening’s performance of Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem, in St Mary’s parish church Uttoxeter, was an example of the quality and musicianship of Uttoxeter’s Choral Society. This work, written and first performed in the 1860’s, is one of the most technically complex items in the choral repertoire. Written partly as consolation for the composer after the death of his mother, to whom it is dedicated, it takes its cue from various parts of the Bible, ranging from the Old Testament Psalms to the Gospels and letters of the New Testament.

The piece itself is in part a series of contrasts between sadness and joy, one immediately succeeded by the other, and all involving a rapid interweaving of the various voices of the choir. Led by musical director Jakob Grubbstrøm; and supported by pianists Katie and Ian Riddle on two pianos, the choir moved easily from gentle chords representing the agony of the suffering, to the exuberant outpourings of those released into newness of life.

Male voices were augmented by choristers from Gloucester Cathedral, including Matthew Clark, who’s rich baritone voice powered ‘The Ransomed of the Lord’ in the first half; and; ‘For theTrumpet will Sound’, in movement 6 of the second half of the concert.

The fifth movement in the second half, ‘Ye Now have Sorrow’, from St. John’s Gospel, was taken by soloist Grace Bermingham, whose glorious high soprano voice lifted the piece, literally and metaphorically. Then, in keeping with the idea of contrasts, this was followed immediately by ‘I will Comfort You’, from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

An appreciative audience included Colonel David Leigh, for whom this event was his final duty as High Sherriff of the County. He afterwards congratulated the choir and their conductor, for all of the hard work that had gone before, and the accompanists and soloists, for their vital contribution to the concerts’ success.

Photo: Musical Director Jakob Grubbstrøm and Soprano Grace Bermingham.

 

Anthony Fellows

 

 

Thanks to Mary Pollard for sending this item.

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