The Chancel Choir of the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, and the Chancel Choir of the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, are joining forces to present “A German Requiem” by Johannes Brahms. 

These performances will use a new English adaptation by Robert Shaw, arguably America’s greatest choral conductor. Mr. Shaw spent his final years before his death in 1999, working on this new English version, which was premiered by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, three weeks after Mr. Shaw’s death. Johannes Brahms had made it clear that his Requiem should be sung in the language of the people, or in his case – German. 

Therefore, an English version of the work is very much in keeping with the wishes of Brahms, performing it in the “language of the people”. Brahms called his Requiem a “human requiem”, intending it to be a source of comfort and grace that extends to all, especially relevant in today’s challenging times. The two choirs, combined with some added guest singers, will be accompanied by a full orchestra. There will be two performances: Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th Street, conducted by James Smith; and Saturday, May 21 at 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, 500 East Colorado Blvd, conducted by Greg Norton. The performance at Santa Monica will be preceded by Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings and Tympani, featuring Ty Woodward, organist. Both performances will be presented free of charge.

Submitted by James Smith