Chart-Topping Miami Choir Releases Newest Disc
PRESS CONTACT: MICHAEL BURGESS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SERAPHIC FIRE FOLLOWS TWO CHART-TOPPING ALBUMS WITH THE RELEASE OF AN
UNEXPECTEDLY INTIMATE EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM
MIAMI, FL — Following their best-selling recording of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, Seraphic Fire, the exciting young professional chamber choir based in Miami, announces the release, on August 22, of Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, conducted by Seraphic Fire founder and artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley. The recording uses Brahms’ own transcription of the Requiem for piano four hands. The recording was produced by GRAMMY winning producer Peter Rutenberg, and is released on the Seraphic Fire Media (SFM) label.
The album is the first to feature musicians from the Professional Choral Institute (PCI), a public-private partnership between Seraphic Fire and the University of South Florida designed to recognize and foster the next generation of professional ensemble singers. Prepared by Seraphic Fire chorus master and USF faculty member James K. Bass and coached by Seraphic Fire singers, the aspiring professionals of PCI traveled from across the country to USF’s Tampa campus for two weeks of intensive professional training workshops, rehearsals and concerts. The PCI students combine with the forces of Seraphic Fire, soprano Teresa Wakim, baritone Paul Max Tipton and pianists Scott Allen Jarret and Justin Blackwell under the direction of Seraphic Fire founder and artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley to realize a revelatory and fresh rendering of Brahms’ masterwork.
The results, as heard on the Requiem recording, are a radiant testament to the high level of singing talent in the United States. Brahms’ four hand piano score, used in this recording, reveals a ravishing tour de force for keyboard and voices, enhancing the genius of Brahms’ counterpoint and highlighting the virtuosity of the combined singers and keyboardists.
In his booklet notes to the Requiem CD, Quigley writes, “Brahms composed the four-hand piano score at the request of his publisher in 1869, the year after he completed the Requiem’s fifth movement (the last to be composed). While this edition is often referred to as the “London” version, this title is a bit misleading. Performed with more than 30 of the best professional singers in London and two recognized concert pianists, the London premiere of the Requiem was held in the parlor of a high-society English home and used the four-hand piano score. The chorus sang in an English translation that is now lost to the ages, and the edition had already been in circulation for over a year at the time of the 1871 performance.
“This piano arrangement of the Requiem was intended for private, in-home enjoyment. Music aficionados of the 19th century did not have the sophisticated recording and playback devices that came to define art music in the 20th century. Rather, they had pianos in their parlors and a host of piano arrangements of their favorite pieces so as to be able to enjoy them ‘live’ at their own leisure.
“Seraphic Fire’s performance of this ‘personal’ version of the Requiem aspires to be faithful to Brahms’ idea of elastische tacht (flexible time) – the rubati and accelerandi that characterized Brahms’ own performances. His best friend and housemate Clara Schumann, a highly sought-after soloist, went so far as to complain of Brahms’ radical tempo fluctuations. In writing about one of their evenings spent playing piano duets together, Clara remarked, ‘I cannot quite get used to the constant change of tempo in his works. And, besides, he plays them so entirely to his own fancy that today, for example, although I was reading music, I could not follow him.’
“While we sometimes think of the Requiem as slow and reverent, we know through contemporary accounts that Brahms himself was quite critical of languorous tempi in his work. The eminent composer and teacher Charles Villers Stanford, on observing Brahms at a concert, wrote, ‘He [Brahms] loathes having his slow movements played in an inexorable four square.’”
For more information, advance copies, high resolution photographs or interview requests, please contact Mike Burgess at (305) 285-9060 or via email at email@example.com. Artist and ensemble bios are attached below
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 is made possible by the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation and an anonymous donor.