Chamber Choir!

Brahms: Secular Choral Songs
• Audio CD (June 8, 2010)
• Number of Discs: 2
• Label: Harmonia Mundi
Performing group: RIAS Chamber Choir conducted my Marcus Creed.

These days we hear very little of Brahms’ works for choir; yet the career of Johannes Brahms began as a choir master and a choir teacher. He was actually quite successful in this area, and a few years passed before he began composing in a more full – time manner. Also… he was a great collector of old Madrigals and other ancient songs, which he sometimes used as source material in his compositions.

The best example of Johannes Brahms’ genius in his writing for the human voice is – of course – his German Requiem. And that work, too, is rarely performed. The work was composed in memory of Brahms’ mother. Still, the composer had to contend with the comments of the Viennese public, many of whom decided that something was not right with this masterpiece because it did not mention the word “Jesus”. To his credit, Brahms view was that he will remember his mother in his own way, and no changes were made. To this day the Brahms Requiem is my favorite work for chorus and orchestra.

In this 2-disk CD we hear a collection of songs, quartets, Lieder, and Gypsy songs performed beautifully by the RIAS choir. Lovely melodies abound; and the interpretation brings these old songs to us in all their great beauty!

Here is the St. Paul’s Concert Choral in an example of Brahms’ genius:

And here is J. Brahms’ – Es tönt ein voller Harfenklang (“The tone of a Harp’s sound”)

Enjoy, and feel free to leave your comments/suggestions below.

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