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by Daniel Hathaway

West-Shore-ChoraleWhat to do about the Brahms Requiem? It’s one of the most beloved extended works in the choral repertoire, but what amateur choral society has the resources to put it on with full orchestra? Some settle for organ accompaniment, some for Brahms’s own arrangement for piano four-hands, but a lot of orchestral color goes missing.

For the West Shore Chorale’s performance of the Requiem at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Friday evening, March 14, conductor John Drotleff presented another solution: German flutist Joachim Linckelmann’s 2010 reduction of the orchestra score for just eleven players — string quartet plus double bass, standard woodwind quintet and timpani.

If that would seem to put the well-fed sonorities of Brahms on a drastic diet, consider a few other cases where composers have trimmed their resources and produced wonderful results — the chamber operas of Benjamin Britten come immediately to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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