Ulster Orchestra: Music for Good Friday

Ulster Orchestra: Music for Good Friday

Friday, 15 April 2022, 7.30pm

Brahms Begräbnisgesang
Dvořák Biblical Songs
Brahms Nänie
Brahms Alto Rhapsody
Schumann Nachtlied
Brahms Schicksalslied

Christoph Altstaedt Conductor
Belfast Philharmonic Choir

This Good Friday, conductor Christoph Altstaedt presents a selection of music that reflects on life, death and the quest to find inner peace.

Dvořák’s Biblical Songs are a deeply spiritual conversation between the composer and God, with the singer humbly bringing their anxieties, trust and joys to their Creator in prayer. They are intensely emotional and utterly beautiful.

From his teenage years, Brahms conducted choirs and worked with amateur singers, which makes this selection from his choral works the perfect vehicle for Belfast Philharmonic Choir. The shimmeringly magical Schicksalslied is perhaps the best-known of this selection, but as Brahms’s work for choir predates all his symphonies, lovers of his rich writing will hear that it abounds within the choral writing, as well as the orchestration. Begräbnisgesang translates as ‘Burial Song’ and is a predecessor to the slow marches of the German Requiem. Nänie is a choral lamentation that takes a Schiller poem and is written on the death of the composer’s great friend, the painter Anselm Feuerbach. And choir and soloist join together for the soaring Alto Rhapsody, based on a Goethe poem about romantic failure and the rejuvenation of the spirit through music.

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