Traditionally, the passing of Labor Day marks the end of summer, yet schools are well into the fall semester and LCH Choir began its weekly Thursday night rehearsals last week. I’m afraid that I haven’t gotten to this blog in the last few days because I’ve been on an archaeological dig! Seriously, I and my four siblings spent the weekend cleaning out my mother’s house for an estate sale. Over Labor Day weekend we opened up cupboards and boxed up dishes, cookware, books, and a whole lifetime of memories and memorabilia for at least three generations of family members. We threw out a lot of junk but also saved what we hope some people will find as treasures. Unfortunately, we are far from finished, but at least we have scratched the surface of this enormous task. Unfortunately, I was away for Miguel Felipe’s first service, but I’m told everything went well.
So this week it’s “back to the grind,” and I am looking forward to passing on the bulletin preparation to Miguel. One thing he noticed about the repertoire that we do at LCH is that each week is a mini-festival of a certain period of music, all of which ties into the lectionary themes and texts. This week we will be performing the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), one of the giants in Western music. The choir will be singing “Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren” for the offertory anthem, an exceptionally beautiful composition which Joseph Schubert described as “the four voice parts . . . represent . . . friends standing around a heart-broken loved-one, each offering words of solace.” You can find an excellent performance of this piece by clicking here. I remember the LCH Choir once sang this anthem for Tod and Cynthia Bowermaster‘s wedding and that and every performance of that work since then has been full of heart-rending emotion.
A translation by Walter Buszin follows:
Let nothing ever grieve thee, distress thee, nor fret thee; heed God’s good will, my soul compose thee. Why brood all day in sorrow? Tomorrow will bring God’s help benign and grace sublime in mercy. Be true in all endeavor and ever ply bravely; what God decrees brings joy and peace, He’ll stay thee. Amen.
For the communion, the choir will be singing “Siehe, wir preisen” which is the third movement from “Warum ist das Licht gegeben.”
I will also be playing organ music by Brahms, all from his Opus 122, Eleven Chorale Preludes: “O Gott du frommer Gott,” “Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele,” and “O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr frommen.” Although Brahms learned to play the organ at the beginning of his career, these works were written in 1896 in the last year of his life, and published posthumously. Some have speculated that Brahms wrote them as a farewell before he died in 1897.