FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richmond Symphony Altria Masterworks Concert – Brahms Requiem, Barber Adagio: Commemorating the Centennial of Armistice 1918 with the Richmond Symphony Chorus
Saturday, November 10th at 8pm
Sunday, November 11th at 3pm
Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Richmond Virginia: Join the Richmond Symphony, Richmond Symphony Chorus and Music Director Steven Smith in commemorating the centennial anniversary of Armistice 1918 through music. 100 years ago, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, a treaty was signed to bring an end to WWI. We remember this significant day in our world’s history, and honor those whose lives were the cost of our nation’s peace. This memorable program features Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches (A German) Requiem, Op. 45, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and George Butterworth’s The Banks of Green Willow. The concert will be held in the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, November 10 at 8pm, and Sunday, November 11th at 3pm.
This concert is in partnership with the Virginia WW1 and WWII Commemoration Commission. Speaker Kirk Cox, chair of the Commission, says that the concert is “a fitting and necessary tribute to those whose immeasurable sacrifice brought an end to the most far-reaching conflict the world had seen, from which 3,700 Virginians never returned.”
No one is certain what prompted Brahms to compose the Requiem, but it is likely he intended it as a memoriam to his great friend and benefactor, renowned composer Robert Schumann, who died a few years prior to when Brahms began writing the piece. The death of his mother also has a close association with the work’s completion. The traditional Requiem is a Roman Catholic Mass for the dead. Brahms, a Protestant, abandoned the traditional prayers from the Mass, choosing instead texts from the Bible (as translated by Luther). The dark, unusually low registers lend an air of reverence and contemplation to the work. The Requiem ends the way it begins, with reassuring tranquility. In the words of Clara Schumann, “It is a truly tremendous piece of art which moves the entire being in a way little else does.”
Barber’s Adagio for Strings is a serious piece of music that is firmly embedded in the consciousness of nearly every American. Those who are old enough will remember that it was broadcast when John F. Kennedy died. It is often featured at funerals of famous persons, including those of President Franklin Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. When Americans need to express their grief, they turn to the Adagio for Strings. Composer William Schumann gives a wonderfully concise listening guide: “[Adagio for Strings] is so precise emotionally. It begins, it reaches its climax, it makes its point, and it goes away.”
The BBC calls George Butterworth “the most well-known of [British] composers who never returned from the killing fields of Flanders.” The outbreak of World War I put an end to Butterworth’s composing but seemed to give the young musician a new sense of purpose in life. He enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry. Before he shipped out, he destroyed a good portion of his compositions—works he considered “unworthy.” His reputation rests on a strikingly small body of works.
Butterworth’s bravery in the trenches earned him a Military Cross and he was recommended for a second. However, before he could receive it, he was killed in a raid during the Battle of the Somme. Butterworth based The Banks of Green Willow on two folk songs that he collected in 1907. In spite of the pastoral quality of the melodies quoted in the piece, the subject matter of the songs—desertion—is more sobering. In Green Willow, a young woman elopes with a sea captain and delivers a child while on board ship. At her request, the captain throws both her and the baby overboard. In Green Bushes, a young woman abandons her lover for a more appealing suitor. Butterworth wrote his The Banks of Green Willow before World War I even started, but it is seen as emblematic of the “lost generation” from that war, and is often played to commemorate it.
Adult tickets for Altria Masterworks performances start at $10, College student single tickets are $10, and Child tickets are free for ages 18 and under. Active military receive two free tickets with their Military ID. For this concert, Veterans will receive a 40% discount off of orchestra level seats with their Military ID. Purchase tickets online at richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514.ETIX.
The Masterworks series is sponsored by Altria and this concert is in partnership with the Virginia WW1 and WWII Commemoration Commission. The media sponsor for this series is Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Steven Smith, conductor
Adagio for Strings
The Banks of Green Willow
Ein deutsches Requiem, Opus 45 [A German Requiem]
I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Chorus)
II. Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras (Chorus)
III. Herr, lehre doch mich (Baritone and Chorus)
IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (Chorus)
V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Soprano and Chorus)
VI. Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt (Baritone and Chorus)
VII. Selig sind die Toten (Chorus)
Richmond Symphony Chorus
# # #
About the Richmond Symphony (www.richmondsymphony.com):
Celebrating its 61st Season in 2018, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 300 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.
About the Richmond Symphony Chorus
James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Mr. Erb continued to direct and build the chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007-08 season. The repertoire for its auditioned volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Fauré, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years, the Chorus has also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughn Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, and Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.
Marketing and PR Manager
804.788.4717 ext. 121
Director of Advancement and Patron Communications
804.788.4717 ext. 120