Richard Strauss was only 25 when he composed his dramatic orchestral tone poem Death and Transfiguration in 1889. It depicts an artist who has striven for the highest ideals and whose journey through life and struggle with death end in peace as his soul finally attains perfection. On his own deathbed 60 years later, Strauss remarked, “Dying is just as I composed it.”
Brahms wrote the German Requiem, one of the truly great choral masterpieces, not as a Mass for the Dead, but to console the living. Instead of setting the traditional text of the Latin liturgy, he chose words from Luther’s German translation of the Bible contrasting the transience of human life with the everlasting nature of God and the joy of the world to come. The Requiem was partly inspired by the death of the composer’s mother and in the serene fifth movement the soprano soloist sings ‘I will comfort you as one whom his own mother comforteth.’ The fourth movement ‘How lovely are Thy dwellings’ is probably the best known. The Requiem evolved over a period of twelve years and was completed in 1868, when Brahms was 36, but first performed in its entirety 150 years ago in 1869.
London Concert Choir is a lively and friendly choir of 150 singers. One of London’s leading amateur choirs, it displays remarkable versatility and expressiveness, performing a wide variety of classical, commissioned and contemporary music concerts, from unaccompanied church music to large-scale choral works, as well as giving concert performances of operas and songs from the shows.
The choir will celebrate its first 60 years in Autumn 2019. Mark Forkgen, who has been the choir’s Music Director since 1996, is also Music Director of Canticum chamber choir, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Kokoro (the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Group) and Director of Music at Tonbridge School. LCC regularly appears with Mark Forkgen at London’s premier concert venues and in cathedrals and churches in and around the capital as well as touring abroad; its next tour will be to Granada in late May.
In 2014 the choir performed Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons in Assisi and in 2011 joined with the Augsburg Basilica Choir to perform Verdi’s Requiem in the Royal Festival Hall and to take part in the Augsburg Peace Festival.