Our neighbours have a rich musical history. Big names such as Bach and Brahms lived and worked in Germany on pieces that still impress us to this day. In June 2019, the choir and orchestra of Krashna Musika will honour a number of these composers, with three choir pieces by Bach, Mendelssohn and Rheinberger, and Schönberg’s orchestral adaptation of Brahms’s first piano quartet.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) is the textbook example of a classic. He single-handedly defined the sound of German Baroque. Bach was a hard worker and composed so many pieces in his lifetime that a numbered catalogue of all his works was published in 1950: the “Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis”, or BWV, with numbers that reach far over a thousand. Krashna will perform BWV 118, a cantata named “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht”: “Oh Jesus Christ, light of my life”.
Josef Rheinberger (1839 – 1901) was born in Liechtenstein, but lived most of his life in Germany. When he was seven years old he was already the organist of the Vaduz parish church, an example of his extraordinary talent. “Stabat Mater” is a hymn to Maria that was written in the 13th century and has been put to music frequently since. The hymn portrays the suffering of Maria while her Son Jesus is crucified. In Rheinberger’s version, we can hear this harrowing story already from the first notes: “The sorrowful Mother stands weeping before the cross, while the Son hangs there.”
Then Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847), also a prodigy that stood at the start of the Romantic art period. Mendelssohn is amongst others known for his overture for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, his Italian and Scottish symphonies and even for the present day melody of the Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. Psalm 42 “Wie der Hirsch Schreit” (As pants the Hart) is, according to Mendelssohn himself, his best church music and consists of seven parts. Soprano Elise van Es will sing the soloist part.
Finally, the orchestra will play an adaption of the first piano quartet by Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897) by controversial composer Arnold Schönberg (1874 – 1951). While Brahms mostly stuck to a classical style, Schönberg stood at the front of the new Second Viennese School, where he presented his atonal and serial music. In 1934 he fled the Nazi regime and moved to the US, where he lived for the rest of his life. Schönberg wrote his adaptation of Brahms’s piano quartet in 1937. It contains many of his unusual ideas.
Four works by German masters, performed by the student choir and orchestra of Krashna Musika. Come listen and discover the beauty of these pieces that, spread over the centuries, still retained their power. And stay a while for the unique encore!