The Pasadena Master Chorale presented one of the finest performances of Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem I have ever heard. Jeffrey Bernstein, PMC artistic director and conductor, chose the composer’s arrangement of the work accompanied by piano four-hands. In the 19th century, composers often arranged their symphonic works for piano four-hands so that they could be more widely performed and privately enjoyed by a broader audience. Brahms completed his four-hand version of the Requiem by the end of 1868 — the year the work premiered — and letters suggest Brahms preferred this version.
The lovely acoustic of the Altadena Community Church was ideal both for this version of the work and the 80-voice Chorale, creating an intimate performance that enveloped the audience in luscious sound. The Chorale performs in mixed groups; the tenors don’t all stand together, for example. This produces an exciting resonance, an amazing blend in which no singular voice can be heard. Bernstein’s carefully crafted dynamics and fluid sense of line, the clean diction of the Chorale, and the dazzling duo at the piano, Shawn Kirchner and Renee Gilormini, created a deeply moving, soul-nourishing experience. The audience responded with an enthusiastic ovation.
Abdiel González sang the two baritone solos with passion and colorful sound. Soprano Claire Fedoruk spun out the gradually arching lines of the soprano solo with remarkable breath control.
You have one more opportunity to hear this excellent rendition of Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem on Sunday, June 13, at 4 p.m. at the Altadena Community Church. Arrive early to park nearby and get a good seat. For more details, visit pasadenamasterchorale.org.