We had a cohesiveness of purpose that is rarely achieved.
This is a joint letter to the entire ensemble who shared in presenting the Brahms Requiem on November 18:
I'm sorry to be later than usual with this message. I left for NYC the day after our performance and have only just returned. I hope that your Thanksgiving celebrations were as happy as mine!
On November 18, together we had a cohesiveness of purpose that is rarely achieved. There's something about the Brahms Requiem that calls for total commitment in a different, much more deeply personal way than with other works. You simply can't be mechanical or just phone it in, as can happen in some Baroque or Classical era works. The message of the Brahms Requiem deals with an entirely inward struggle with the reality of mortality. This is far more difficult to convey than other Romantic-era works that have a plot, and therefore outward drama, such as "Elijah". I believe it to be one of the most perfectly constructed choral/orchestral masterworks in the repertoire, and so of course was hoping for a successful presentation.
I believe this to have been one our finest performances. Others may have a different opinion, but from the podium I was hearing a glorious rendering of each movement, a sort of organic unfolding of this great work by choir, orchestra and soloists alike.
The stage arrangement doesn't allow for singling out the players as they should be honored, but there were many beautiful solo moments, especially from oboe, clarinet, flute, horns, and cello, solidly and skillfully supported by the rest of the orchestra. Our vocal soloists were wonderful: sensitively balanced by both orchestra and choir and sang with such commitment that it was often difficult for me to maintain my composure. And all of the choir's hard work was amply rewarded, with each section bringing out its featured parts with assurance, artistry, and communication of the text.
I thank you all for your work, which actually transcended work, transforming into a mutually dedicated, joyfully privileged hour when time was suspended. The music is still sounding in my head!
Until we meet again,