The New York concert season now drawing to a close was more or less bookended by performances of Brahms’s “A German Requiem,” intended to set the work in broader contexts. In October, Lincoln Center presented “human requiem,” featuring Simon Halsey and the Berlin Radio Choir in an immersive staging, with two pianists replacing Brahms’s orchestra, and choristers in street clothes wandering among the audience members.
Skip forward to last Saturday, when Mark Shapiro conducted the Cecilia Chorus of New York in Brahms’s requiem at Carnegie Hall, setting it alongside “A Garden Among the Flames,” a new work by the Syrian-born composer Zaid Jabri, based on a Sufi text by the 13th-century poet Ibn Arabi. And on Sunday, Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez led Musica Viva NY in “An Elegy for all Humanity,” at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side, pairing the requiem with Seymour Bernstein’s “Song of Nature,” based on an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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