Brahms German Requiem and Dvorak Te Deum – 2024

Music Director Robert Dean explained the reasons for 2024 choice of Brahms German Requiem as the major work:

Ten years ago, on 16th February 2013, we inaugurated Oxford Orpheus with a performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, a work which was and remains very close to my heart. It is a choral work which saw my first professional solo engagement as a young baritone and a piece I worked on as chorus master with the Philharmonia Chorus a number of times – collaborating with distinguished conductors, Daniele Gatti, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Marin Alsop and James Conlon amongst others. It seems to me that performances of this work have always elicited a very special response from singers and orchestra alike; it is a humane work written in memory of the composer’s mother, with biblical texts that are not overtly religious yet are deeply consoling.  It challenges the chorus in that they are the main protagonists of the piece and so it seems fitting to celebrate 10 very special years of choral music making at Wesley Memorial Church and the Town Hall with a repeat of our inaugural concert.

After the concert he wrote to the singers to say:

Well, we did it and we did it well, way beyond my expectations! My particular nightmare in the small hours was about you not knowing the Dvorak well enough, but my main worry was about you not having the stamina to endure such a long and hard day of singing. In the event all these concerns were unfounded and the way
you threw yourselves into the project was as ever, heartwarming and deeply moving. The excellence of your performance of both pieces was extraordinary given the unpredictable nature of the
circumstances and your concentration, particularly throughout the Brahms, was a model of how a chorusshould immerse themselves in a work they are performing. The audience’s spontaneous bravos at the end of the Dvorak and the rapt silence followed by prolonged applause after the Brahms said it all. Many congratulations for your amazing contribution to Saturday’s concert and for constantly astonishing your conductor! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Robert