On Love, Loss, and Music

Almost everyone who has lived a long life has lost someone dear: mother, father, friend, sister or brother, perhaps even a child or spouse. Living through the anguish of grief is part of the human condition, for with love comes the joy of life but also the pain of loss.

Johannes Brahms was deeply moved by the death of his friend and mentor, the composer Robert Schumann. His first sketches for the German Requiem date from that time. A decade later, the death of Brahms’s mother may have inspired him to complete the Requiem, profoundly expressing in music the journey of grief, from anger and pain to calm acceptance.

Requiem is the first word of the Latin Mass for the dead, and Requiem settings sometimes emphasize the day of judgment and the terror of damnation. The German Requiem, in contrast, is set in the language that its first listeners spoke every day and uses texts from the Psalms and other Biblical passages. It opens with gentle words of love from Christ’s sermon on the Mount: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

As Artistic Director Christian Grube and the singers of the Santa Cruz Chorale have prepared this beautiful music for you, we have been moved by the relevance of its message to all our lives.

We invite each of you to remember one or more people you have loved who are no longer with us by including their names in the program for the Brahms German Requiem. Simply send an email to info@santacruzchorale.org or click the button below and enter the names. Your loved one’s names will be included in the program on a dedicated In Memoriam page.

The German Requiem reminds us of the transience of our time on earth and of our fear of what might come in the future. It also reminds us of the promise of peace and acceptance, ending with words from Revelation: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord… That they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.