Saturday, November 17 • 7:30 pm
403 N Camden Rd, Wingate, NC 28174
McGee Theatre is located in The Batte Center on the campus of Wingate University.
Sunday, November 18 • 7:00 pm
First United Methodist Church Charlotte
501 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
First United Methodist Church Charlotte is located in uptown Charlotte.
The church recommends using the parking garage on 9th Street between Tryon and Church Streets. It's free for church members and visitors. Take a ticket when entering the garage. Bring the ticket inside, and we will validate it for you.
Once inside the garage, you'll see two elevators with signs for First United Methodist Church. Take the elevator on your left. It will take you right to the sanctuary.
Brahms | Ein deutsches Requiem
November 17-18, 1028
Seats are still available, and tickets are available at the door for each performance.
McGee Theatre: Cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard accepted.
First United Methodist Church Charlotte: Cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard accepted.
Comfort for the Living
The universal message of Ein deutsches Requiem transcends the circumstances of its conception.
Johannes Brahms had for many years been preoccupied with the idea of composing a Requiem. But only in 1866, when he was 33, did he begin serious work on it. He completed it the following year with the exception of the fifth movement, which he added later in order to achieve a more balanced structure. In its incomplete form,Ein deutsches Requiemwas first performed in Bremen Cathedral on Good Friday in 1868. The first performance of the final version was given the following year at Leipzig’s famous concert hall, the Gewandhaus.
Brahms may have written the Requiem in memory of his mother, who died in 1865; it is equally possible that he had in mind his great friend and mentor, Robert Schumann, whose madness and tragic death had profoundly affected the young Brahms. The composer himself gave no indication of whose memorial the Requiem might be, if indeed it was any one person’s. But the universal message of its vision transcends the circumstances of its conception.
The work’s title reflects Brahms’s use of the Lutheran Bible rather than the customary Latin one. He compiled the text himself from both Old and New Testaments, and from the Apocrypha. As such, Brahms’s Requiem has little in common with the conventional Requiem Mass. It also omits the horrors of the Last Judgment—a central feature of the Catholic liturgy—and any final plea for mercy or prayers for the dead. And it makes only a passing reference in the last movement to Christian redemption through the death of Jesus. Not surprisingly, the title of “Requiem” has at times been called into question, but Brahms’s stated intention was to write a requiem to comfort the living, not one for the souls of the dead. Consequently, the work focuses on faith in the Resurrection rather than fear of the Day of Judgment. Despite its unorthodox text, the German Requiem was immediately recognised as a masterpiece of exceptional vision, and it finally confirmed Brahms’s reputation as a composer of international stature.
The similarity of the opening and closing movements serves to unify the work, while the funeral march of the second is balanced by the triumphant theme of the resurrection in the towering sixth movement. Similarly, the baritone solo in the third, ‘Lord, make me to know the measure of my days’, is paralleled in the fifth by the soprano solo, ‘Ye are now sorrowful.’ The lyrical fourth section, ‘How lovely are Thy dwelling places’, is at the heart of the work, framed by the solemnity of the first three movements and the transition from grief to the certainty of comfort in the last three.
This carefully balanced architecture is matched by a firm musical structure based on two principal ideas, which Brahms uses in a variety of subtle guises throughout. The most important occurs at the opening choral entry and consists of the first three notes sung by the sopranos to the words ‘Bless-ed they.’ Brahms uses this musical cell as the main building block of the whole piece, subjecting it to a variety of transformations, including upside-down and back-to-front versions, both of which play as significant a role as the original form. The other important musical idea is a chorale-like melody played by the violas at the very beginning. Its most obvious re-appearance is in the second movement, now in a minor key, as an expansive melody sung by the choir in unison. Brahms had recently discovered the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, and there seems little doubt that this theme was derived from a similar chorale melody in Bach’s Cantata No.27.
The opening movement, the text of which is one of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, begins in a hushed and somber mood, reflected in the orchestration by the temporary absence of the violins. As the music proceeds, however, mourning is transformed into comfort.
The second movement is centered on the heavy rhythms of a funeral march, with the chorus proclaiming the inevitability of man’s fate, ‘Behold, all flesh is as the grass.’ A lighter central episode provides some brief respite before the funeral march returns. Eventually, at ‘But yet the Lord’s word enduretheth for evermore’, an energetic allegro emerges, once more transfiguring darkness into light and leading to a glorious conclusion.
In the third movement, the baritone soloist and chorus ponder the transience of human existence. The soloist then asks ‘what do i wait for?’ and the reply, ‘My hope is in Thee,’ wells up from the depths in a rising crescendo of affirmation. This leads seamlessly into a broad, imposing fugue, remarkable for its omnipresent pedal D which, while creating considerable tension during the fugue itself, also provides an unshakable foundation for the final resolution.
After the intensity of the first three movements, the pivotal fourth—a serene pastorale—provides contemplation and rest.
The fifth movement features a sublime soprano solo accompanied by woodwind, horns, and muted strings. The chorus, too, plays an accompanying role. Whereas the baritone soloist isang of grief and doubt, the soprano’s message here is one of maternal consolation.
Brahms reserves his most dramatic music for the imposing sixth movement. It begins in reflective mood, but soon the baritone soloist introduces the familiar verses ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed … at the sound of the last trumpet’, at which point the music explodes into a blaze of sound and energy. The intensity builds up until ‘Death, O where is thy sting?’ where a majestic fugue ensues. In the middle of this fugue, two fortissimo climaxes grow out of an exhilarating orchestral Jacob’s ladder that reaches up to heaven as it passes from the bass instruments right up to the flutes and violins. The movement ends with a final powerful statement.
The last movement begins with a radiant melody from the sopranos, followed by the basses. The final section is a reworking of the opening, and the Requiem reaches its peaceful conclusion at the same word with which it began: ‘Blessed.’
– John Bawden
I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen
Selig sind, die da Leid tragen,
denn sie sollen getröstet werden.
Die mit Tränen säen,
werden mit Freuden ernten.
Sie gehen hin und weinen
und tragen edlen Samen,
und kommen mit Freuden
und bringen ihre Garben.
II. Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras
Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen.
So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder,
bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn.
Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet
auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde
und ist geduldig darüber,
bis er empfahe den Morgenregen und Abendregen.
So seid geduldig.
Aber des Herrn Wort bleibet in Ewigkeit.
Die Erlöseten des Herrn werden wieder kommen
und gen Zion kommen mit Jauchzen;
Freude, ewige Freude,
wird über ihrem Haupte sein;
Freude und Wonne werden sie ergreifen,
und Schmerz und Seufzen wird weg müssen.
III. Herr, lehre doch mich
Herr, lehre doch mich,
dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss,
und mein Leben ein Ziel hat,
und ich davon muss.
Siehe, meine Tage
sind einer Hand breit vor Dir,
und mein Leben ist wie nichts vor Dir.
Ach, wie gar nichts sind alle Menschen,
die doch so sicher leben.
Sie gehen daher wie ein Schemen,
und machen ihnen viel vergebliche Unruhe,
sie sammeln und wissen nicht,
wer es kriegen wird.
Nun Herr, wes soll ich mich trösten?
Ich hoffe auf Dich.
Der Gerechten Seelen sind in Gottes Hand,
und keine Qual rühret sie an.
IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen
Wie lieblich sind Deine Wohnungen,
Meine Seele verlanget und sehnet sich nach
den Vorhöfen des Herrn;
Mein Leib und Seele freuen sich
in dem lebendigen Gott.
Wohl denen, die in Deinem Hause wohnen,
die loben Dich immerdar.
V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit
Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit,
aber ich will euch wieder sehen,
und euer Herz soll sich freuen,
und eure Freude soll niemand von euch nehmen.
Ich will euch trösten,
wie einen seine Mutter tröstet. Sehet michan:
Ich habe eine kleine Zeit
Mühe und Arbeit gehabt
und habe grossen Trost funden.
VI. Denn wir haben hie
Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt,
sondern die zukünftige suchen wir.
Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis.
Wir werden nicht alle entschlafen,
wir werden aber alle verwandelt werden;
und dasselbige plötzlich in einem Augenblick
zu der Zeit der letzten Posaune.
Denn es wird die Posaune schallen
und die Toten werden auferstehen, unverweslich;
und wir werden verwandelt werden.
Dann wird erfüllet werden das Wort,
das geschrieben steht.
Der Tod ist verschlungen in den Sieg,
Tod, wo ist dein Stachel?
Hölle, wo ist dein Sieg?
Herr, Du bist würdig
zu nehmen Preis und Ehre und Kraft,
denn Du hast alle Dinge erschaffen,
und durch Deinen Willen haben sie das Wesen
und sind geschaffen.
VII. Selig sind die Toten
Selig sind die Toten,
die in dem Herrn sterben, von nun an.
Ja der Geist spricht,
dass sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit,
denn ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach.
I. Blessed are they who mourn
Blessed are they that mourn
for they shall have comfort.
They that sow in tears
shall reap in joy.
Who goeth forth and weepeth,
and beareth precious seed,
shall doubtless return with rejoicing,
and bring his sheaves with him.
(St. Matthew 5, 4)
II. Behold, all flesh is as the grass
Behold, all flesh is as the grass,
and all the goodliness of man
is as the flower of grass.
For lo, the Grass with’reth,
and the flower thereof decayeth.
Now, therefore, be patient, O my brethren,
unto the coming of Christ.
See how the husbandman waiteth
for the precious fruit of the earth,
and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain.
So be ye patient.
Albeit the Lord’s word endureth for evermore.
The redeemed of the Lord shall return again
and come rejoicing unto Zion;
gladness, joy everlasting,
joy upon their heads shall be;
joy and gladness, these shall be their portion, and sighing shall flee from them.
(St. Peter 1, 24)
III. Lord, make me to know
Lord, make me to know
the measure of my days on earth,
to consider my frailty
that I must perish.
Surely, all my days here
are as an handbreadth to Thee,
and my lifetime is as naught to Thee.
Verily, mankind walketh in a vain show,
and their best state is vanity.
Man passeth away like a shadow,
he is disquieted in vain,
he heapeth up riches,
and cannot tell who shall gather them.
Now, Lord, O, what do I wait for?
My hope is in Thee.
But the righteous souls are in the hand of God
nor pain, nor grief shall nigh them come.
(Psalm 39, 5)
IV. How lovely is Thy dwelling place
How lovely is Thy dwelling place,
O Lord of Hosts!
For my soul, it longeth, yet fainteth for
the courts of the Lord;
my soul and body crieth out,
yea, for the living God.
O blest are they that dwell within Thy house;
they praise Thy name evermore!
(Psalm 84, 2f)
V. Ye now are sorrowful
Ye now are sorrowful,
howbeit ye shall again behold me,
and your heart shall be joyful,
and your joy no man taketh from you.
Yea, I will comfort you,
as one whom his own mother comforteth. Look upon me; ye know that for a little time
labor and sorrow were mine, but at the last I have found comfort.
(St. John 16, 22)
VI. Here on earth have
Here on earth have we no continuing place howbeit, we seek one to come.
Lo, I unfold unto you a mystery.
We shall not all sleep when He cometh,
but we shall all be changed in a moment
in a twinkling of an eye,
at the sound of the trumpet.
For the trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and all we shall be changed.
Then, what of old was written,
the same shall be brought to pass.
For death shall be swallowed in victory!
Death, O where is thy sting?
Grave, where is thy victory?
Worthy art Thou to be praised,
Lord of honor and might,
for thou hast earth and heaven created
and for Thy good pleasure all things
have their being, and were created.
(Heb. 13, 14)
VII. Blessed are the dead
Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord from henceforth.
Sayeth the spirit,
that they rest from their labors,
and that their works follow after them.
(Revelation 14, 13)
Monika Vrabel Cagnetta
Erynn Malessia Chambers
Sarah L. Fink
Caroline Castle Hicks
Lisa J. Honeycutt
Darlene Ifill-Taylor, MD
Janine G. Murray
Rebecca H. Smith
Julia J. Souther
Laura Anne Valles
Erica Diane Bolick
Lisa M. Harper
Marcella La Barrie
Megan L Lacy
Whitney Greene Loder
Daryl Lynn Martin
Audrey Lynn Robinette
Lauren Nicole Russell
Caitlin E. Whalan
David Christopher Herring
S. Seth Hickel
B. Gale Pendergraph
Jesse M. Tillman, III
Paul A. Delaney
Parkes C. Dibble
Peter Allen Haley
Robert G. Prescott