A German Requiem

 Sunday April 30th, 2023

7.30 pm – 9 pm,  Downing Place United Reformed Church, Cambridge

Brahms Requiem (for one piano, four hands)

Performed by the Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus, accompanied by Harry Sever and Tom Primrose on Piano.
Conductor / Pianists: Harry Sever, Tom Primrose
Soprano: Rowan Pierce Baritone: James Geidt

Our chorus will be accompanied by Harry Sever and Tom Primrose on piano for an intimate and uplifting performance of ‘Brahms Requiem’, sung in German, at Downing Place United Reform Church, Cambridge.

Preceding the requiem, we have a very special performance ‘Improvisations on Iranian folk themes’ performed by Kamancheh virtuoso and composer Rouzbeh Parsa, accompanied on piano by Harry Sever.

Tickets – £15/20 Non-reserved, no concessions. Please note that tickets are purchased on a non-refundable basis.

Note: Tickets will be available online until Midnight 29th April. Following this any remaining tickets will be available ‘on the door’ – cash or card. Email tickets@cam-phil.org.uk

Web link for venue travel directions: https://downingplaceurc.org/about/where-we-are/

Access: The building is fully accessible to wheelchair users, with lifts, ramps and accessible toilet facilities. Free carers tickets are available – please email tickets@cam-phil.org.uk

About the ‘German Requiem’

Brahms was an accomplished pianist, whose output for the piano spanned his entire life. In addition to his solo works, he made four-hand piano arrangements of many of his orchestral, chamber and vocal scores, to give them greater accessibility. Brahms prepared an alternative version of the full seven-movement Requiem to be accompanied by two pianos (instead of a full orchestra), the arrangement performed at this concert.

Brahms began writing the work in 1865, just after the tragic loss of his mother, and this piece became an intensely personal, emotional reflection on grief and redemption. In fact, Brahms claimed he could have easily used a different title and named it his ‘Human Requiem’. The piece avoids the Requiem’s usual terrifying images of hellfire and judgement and instead focuses on comforting those left behind.

Often praised for a high level of craftsmanship displayed in the work, we aim to demonstrate the tremendous intimacy and detail in Brahms’s score, allowing the music’s counterpoint — such a hallmark of Brahms’s music — to be revealed clearly and intricately. It brings the intensity of the work’s deeply human message into full focus, and we hope you will join us to experience this.

Our Soloists

Soprano: Rowan Pierce

Rowan made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 with the OAE and returned in 2019 for Handel Jephtha with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.   She made her Wigmore Hall debut with the London Handel Players and has subsequently appeared with many other chamber ensembles in repertoire including Bach and Wolf. In 2020 she should have made her Covent Garden debut performing Barbarina but this was cancelled due to Covid.  Instead, she will make her debut there in 2023 singing Papagena in Mozart’s Magic Flute.  In 2022 she made her Glyndebourne Festival debut singing Oberto / Alcina.

Baritone: James Geidt

Born in Northampton, James Geidt is a recent graduate from the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Glenville Hargreaves and Jonathan Papp, having previously completed his Masters with Distinction at the RAM.  Prior to this, James was a Choral Scholar in the choir at New College, Oxford.

As a student at the Royal Academy of Music, James was a soloist for the RAM/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series and was a finalist in the 2019 Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks award. James won the Joan Chissell Schumann Lieder Competition in 2016.

Current and future engagements include Handel’s Messiah at the Auditorio Nacional de Musica, Madrid for Edward Higginbottom, J.S. Bach’s St John Passion in Hereford Cathedral, Fauré Requiem in Exeter Cathedral, Mendelsohn’s Elijah for the Amersham Music Festival and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs in Gloucester Cathedral.  In 2022, James returned to Garsington Opera as an Alvarez Young Artist, covering the role of the Hunter in Dvořák’s Rusalka.