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Beyond the Baton

Posted by:  The Philadelphia Orchestra on January 02, 2024

There are some works in the life of a musician that grow with us. Each time we have the chance to make them more perfect, to go deeper. And they also bring back many memories. That’s the case for me with the Brahms Requiem. I sang this piece as a boy soprano, then as a boy alto, then as a young tenor, and as a bass; I sang all the parts. It made my love for Brahms grow enormously when I was a teenager. I bought so many recordings of it and conducted it in one of my very first appearances: I was 21 years old and conducted it in the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. I have led performances of the Requiem many times all over the world, with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the London Philharmonic (with which I also recorded it), and a few times in Montreal.

In Philadelphia, I programmed this in my first season as music director designate, and that is why, for me, this is such a wonderful opportunity to revisit it now that the bond and the chemistry I have with the Orchestra has grown so much, and we have so much experience under our belts. I think it will be a fantastic way to connect and, again, go deeper with a work that is one of my desert island picks. I don’t know many pieces that are so profound, so complete, so emotional, and yet so full of hope.

Brahms’s A German Requiem will be performed January 26–28, 2024.

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