ANTON BRUCKNER Pange lingua et Tantum ergo (Phrygian), WAB 33
JOHANNES BRAHMS Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45
“London version” for soloists, chorus and piano for four hands (1869)
End of the concert approx. 12:25 pm
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At Vienna’s ‘Red Hedgehog’ tavern they once gelled over a shared fondness for dumplings with smoked meat, but have otherwise gone down in musical history as the great antithetical forces in the concert halls of their time: Johannes Brahms on the side of the so-called ‘conservatives’; Anton Bruckner as representative of the progressive, Wagner-centric ‘New German School’. The acrimonious stylistic quarrels, notably fierce among their Viennese devotees, had not yet escalated by 1868, but the wheels had been set in motion. It is astonishing that both composers worked as choral conductors and came to spiritual music via completely different paths: the Protestant doubter from Hamburg, for instance, completed his German Requiem in 1868 using biblical texts he had compiled himself. It is not the deceased’s sinful soul that stands at the center, as in the Latin mass for the dead, but solace for the surviving relatives. And in Brahms’s more intimate version for soloists, choir and piano duet, the text comes even more to the fore. The piously Catholic Bruckner, however, paid homage to God not only in three great masses but also numerous other compositions. His motets are among the most poignant choral works of the 19th century.