“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. Johannes Brahms was an atheist, and as he composed his German Requiem, he wasn’t thinking of heaven or hell, divine judgement or the Last Trumpet. Instead, as he grappled with his own grief at the death of his mother, he set out to console and comfort the living. The result is one of the most beautiful, most moving and – in its own way - most profoundly spiritual choral works of the 19th century. The Edinburgh Festival Chorus sings it here, and llan Volkov conducts. Naturally, he’s avoided the obvious and paired it with ‘Per Bastiana Tai-Yang Cheng’ – a visionary fusion of East and West, orchestra and electronics, created by the master of the Italian post-war avant-garde in 1967 to celebrate the birth of his baby daughter. Birth, death, and a whole sonic universe – what else would you expect from the BBC SSO’s endlessly curious Principal Guest Conductor? Bring an open mind, and prepare to be moved.
There will be one interval of approximately 20 minutes.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability): Writer and broadcaster Dr Katy Hamilton introduces Brahms’s ‘A German Requiem’.
The concert will be recorded, for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Monday 23 March 2020 at 7.30pm. The presenter is Andrew McGregor.