Tag Archives: Carnegie Hall

Human Requiem

Brahms wrote, Ein Deutsches Requiem (The German Requiem), the most ‘human’ i.e. secular requiem of all requiems. Sacred but non-liturgical set to texts from the Lutheran Bible. Consolation to the living rather than judgement of the dead. About a year ago I went to hear the work at Carnegie Hall. It featured the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, choir, and solists, Diana Damrau (soprano) and Christian Gerhaher (baritone). 7 movements. Brahms mother died in 1865 and The German Requiem was written between 1865 and 1868 so some speculate his great grief inspired the work. Death is a funny thing in that it’s the last thing we all have to do. I recently read an article about the medical community addressing the practical uses of silocybin in hospice care. Expanding ones consciousness via hallucinogens is not a new concept…as a means to alleviate ones anxiety about death seems new. Western thinking seems stuck in an anxiety and fear of death and I can think of no greater consolation than music. The harmonies are exquisite and the choir stands out as much as the soloists, it is a very balanced piece of music. Brahms pays clear reverence to the dead in a loving, gentle, inclusive way. Beauty in the face of death may seem odd but it’s fitting. Paying homage to life requires an acknowledgement of death. We are fragile. Being human we must struggle and fight the dying of the light which the music appropriately conveys. Diana Damrau and Christian Gerhaher were stellar. I love Verdi’s Requiem but this one, not nearly as grand in scope, was a revelation to me in it’s sensitivity. I highly recommend Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem. Thanks for checking in!

P.S. I’m playing tonight at 8PM The Shrine in Harlem 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., NYC Not classical but some original Philip Lynch tunes nonetheless.


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Ricardo Muti

I haven’t seen Ricardo Muti conduct since my college days in Philadelphia. On this occasion he was conducting The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance of Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky at Carnegie Hall. I held my hands and my breath tight throughout the beginning of the Scriabin. The music was delicate and strong and could fall either way easily but Muti and the orchestra held true to the tension. I got the distinct feeling that this is the best of us. People are focused on little screens and seemingly anything else to escape where they are nowadays. It seems so to such a degree that I begin to lose sight of people as potentially deeper, more insightful, more sensitive, more creative, more helpful, more loving than the current mindless consumerist society connotes. It can be lonely grasping the beauty of a musical passage when those around you slumber. I suppose that is the nature of beauty though….passing, ephemeral. The power of the Prokofiev was exhibited by the managed chaos of the piece. I suspect Prokofiev was perhaps a bit of a madman. I feel very lucky to have heard some of the most amazing music in my life at Carnegie Hall. The sound is amazing there, whether a solo piano concert of Maurizio Pollini or a full orchestra and choir. Music really makes life bearable. Til next time dear reader, thanks for reading!