Choral Requiems performed during Holy Week
  • This has become a standard programming ploy among choral conductors, some sort of solemn nod to the season. Please do not abet or support this terrible, anti-liturgical practice. Unless somebody actual dies, of course.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    Holy Week is sad, funerals are sad...given that some chorus board members even need explanations of the difference between Holy Week and Easter, we have to admit it could be even worse, and perhaps we should be grateful to be on the radar at all. Sacramento Ballet is giving matinees of Carmina Burana this Palm Sunday and wondering aloud why ringers are so scarce.
  • There are plenty of large-scale works more appropriate to Holy Week and that never get performed, anyways.
    Thanked by 2MarkS StimsonInRehab
  • Seven Last Words, anyone?
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,606
    In my experience, there are relatively few secular choral concerts during Holy Week or Easter week because so many singers are already committed on the church front. Usually, it's either a March concert before Holy Week, or a later April/May concert after Easter.
    Thanked by 1KARU27
  • If memory serves, Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals, of all things, was written for a Laetare Sunday celebration (midi-Careme, as it was called in France).
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,063
    But, 'but Saint-Saëns was adamant that the work would not be published in his lifetime'. And it was not, only performed privately.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    I have a somewhat different take on this. It seems like 15-20 years ago, I would often play in orchestras for events like this (especially where I grew up in the Seattle area). Faure Requiem, or Durufle Requiem, often, or even Handel's Messiah.
    Anyway, I see far fewer of these type of concerts, and I don't think that's a good thing. I think that these were aimed at the PBS crowd / "spiritual but not religious" folks, who felt that they should at least have a cultural event that would indeed give a solemn nod to the season. Now I fret that those same secular educated folks are probably just staying home binge-watching their NetFlix.
    Or, it could be that in Indiana (where I live now), people are actually going to church services, rather than sacred concerts.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    I was doing a quick read about the Brahms Requiem today, and ran across this tidbit:

    "The first performance of the six movements premiered in the Bremen Cathedral six months later on Good Friday, 10 April 1868, with Brahms conducting and Julius Stockhausen as the baritone soloist. The performance was a great success and marked a turning point in Brahms's career."

    So, it's not really a new practice, is it...
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Well, the Brahms Requiem isn't a Requiem Mass.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,063
    And Bremen Cathedral is not, since 1532, a Catholic church.
    I think the OP is mainly objecting to liturgical distortions. Our community choir had a tradition of concert performances of requiems in Holy Week, since abandoned, but it grew from a Presbyterian church choir, and the MD belonged to the Salvation Army.
    Thanked by 2KARU27 CHGiffen
  • Nisi
    Posts: 113
    I used to live in a town where the largest church performed a different requiem every Palm Sunday, e.g., Mozart, Faure, etc. The music director did not like it when someone told him that Jesus did not need a Requiem!
    Thanked by 2chonak canadash
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,160
    Well, there are the Bach Passions to consider.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    Even Sundays could be on the way to oblivion: Radio Pacifica used to have weekly Bach cantatas that always made me a little sorry to go to church in the morning, but now they're all talk. For my commute the surviving classical station today had Brandenburg 3 followed by the overture to Star Wars.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,676
    I haven't heard the Seven Last Words performed in many years. That used to be an annual event, along with Messiah singalongs. Those have disappeared, too. A requiem? Not in many years.