The ENO Chorus will be doing Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem (A German Requiem) in three churches around London on 15th, 16th and 29th April. But not the usual Brahms German Requiem. Instead, the relatively less well known "London" version from 1871. It's not a transcription but a through composed chamber adaptation written by Brahms himself. The ENO chorus will be conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, with Eleanore Dennis and Benedict Nelson as soloists with Kate Golla and Chris Hopkins as pianists. Get tickets here.
Brahms's ideas differed from conventional approaches to Requiem Masses. He expressed his values as an agnostic, a humanist and a North German. His contemporaries joked that conservative Catholic Viennese audiences needed a stretch of imagination to fully appreciate it. The chamber version is even more spartan and pure than the version for full ensemble, and thus lends itself well to more intimate performance spaces - closer still to the rugged spirit of Lutheran pietism While the impact is less powerful the focus is more personal. "One man and his God" whatever that God might be. The benchmark recording, from 2004, is by Accentus , conducted by Laurence Equilbey, a performance so beautifully ethereal that the voices seem to take flight like a flock of birds, each individual but co-operating in tight formation.