Top-notch Choruses join for Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem
SHSU flagship's choir, Chorale, joined with Rice University's Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, the Rice University Chorale, and Houston Masterworks Chorus to perform Brahms' A German Requiem on Friday, April 20 in the Stude Concert Hall.
"This was great honor to work with musicians of this caliber and specifically, on this piece," said SHSU Director of Choirs, James Franklin. "For most choral conductors, Brahms' A German Requiem is one of the top five pieces in the repertoire, it's an extraordinary work."
Brahms' A German Requiem contains seven movements, which performed together, is roughly seventy minutes in length.
"It's a very challenging and demanding work," noted Franklin. "It requires large vocal forces to perform the work correctly. 220 singers will combine for this performance." Of that, forty will be SHSU Chorale singers.
Franklin rehearsed regularly with the Chorale on the SHSU campus and rehearsed as a complete group at Rice University only three times prior to the main performance.
"You trust each other; trust that everyone has learned the music well," said Franklin. "We've been extended that trust, I think, because of the reputation of the SHSU Choral Program, our history of excellence and the quality of our product."
The SHSU Chorale is composed of mostly upper-lever music majors and a few non-majors. They have earned a national reputation performing at Choral conventions both nationally and on the state level.
But that doesn't mean there were not challenges.
"The language was a challenge for most singers as the piece is in German," explained Franklin. "But they also had to be able to sing over the orchestra for long periods of time. Where in most major works there are five or six minute breaks during a vocal solo or quartet, in this work the choir is singing in every movement. Additionally the vocal ranges are very high."
But Franklin relished the challenges and was thrilled that the singers rose to the occasion.
"It's a very rewarding piece," exclaimed Franklin. "And we were very confident as we approached it. Orchestral director Larry Rachleff invited us back to collaborate on Mahler Symphony no. 2 next year.
The Sam Houston State University Chorale performed with Rice University's Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra,
Rice Chorale and Houston Masterworks Chorus on Friday, April 20 at 8 PM at Rice University's Stude Hall.