Saturday, November 3, 2018

Robert Sims joins Oakland Symphony for Ghost Ship memorial concert

Robert Sims (photo: Christian Steiner)

Barihunk Robert Sims will perform the Brahms German Requiem with the Oakland Symphony on November 16th. He will be joined by soprano Patricia Westley under the baton of Michael Morgan.

The piece will be paired with the premiere of Richard Marriott's Ghost Ship Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, which has nothing to do with the ghost ship at the center of Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Instead, it memorializes the 36 people who were killed on December 2, 2016 at the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland where a house music party was being performed.

In the late 1850’s, Brahms began a cantata of mourning, possibly influenced by Robert Schumann’s death in 1856. By 1861, he had selected several biblical texts and arranged a four-movement cantata.

After his mother’s death in 1865, he took up the work again and during the next two years the Requiem began to take its final shape.  Brahms did not take his text from the Roman Catholic Mass of the Dead, as had other composers before him. His intention was to select Old and New Testament texts that not only mourn the dead but also give comfort to the living. The texts he chose were taken exclusively from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible; hence the title, A German Requiem, to distinguish it from the Latin Requiem of the Catholic liturgy. However, Brahms later mentioned that he would gladly have left out the word “German” and put “Mankind” in its place.

Tickets are available online.

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