Skip to comments.Brahms A German Requiem
Posted on 06/29/2011 12:35:39 PM PDT by Jenny Hatch
Some thoughts on Brahms Requiem by Blogger Jenny Hatch
Last night I gave my audition tape to the director of the Broomfield Choral Festival. I'm trying for the Soprano solo in movement 5 of the Brahms Requiem.
It wasn't a very professional audition. I hardly rehearsed with my friend Karen who accompanied on the piano, and we only did the first two pages of the Aria. I figured the director is good enough that he could tell whether or not he wanted to hear more from me from those few bars of singing, and I didn't want to waste his time by auditioning the whole thing.
That solo is six minutes and sixteen seconds long and the soprano soloist carries pretty much the whole movement. I will be thrilled to get the chance to sing it if he asks me to do it. But if not, it felt good to audition for something again. It has been a long time since I tried for any performing opportunities.
Paul and I sang with the Colorado Mormon chorale a couple years ago for the christmas season, and the first year of our marriage in 1988 we sang with the Detroit Mormon Concert Choir. Both were Christmas concerts, my all time favorite music, as all of the music is about BIRTH!! And for this birth junkie, to have the world's most glorious music written about the Unassisted Birth of the Savior of the world is fun to sing!
The Colorado Chorale did Rutter's Gloria with the Boulder Brass. I have missed singing with a good quality group these past few years. Not that our ward choir is anything to sneeze at, we do a good job and occasional solos and duets are available, but it is nice to sing with a symphony orchestra something BIG!
I used to torture myself by reading the audition notices every week in the newspaper. I stopped doing that when we went digital and gave up our subscriptions to the local papers. Recently I found myself putting my theatre resume together, and I planned to get a head shot taken and go audition for a group that performs during the day called Imagination Makers.
The Imagination makers professional troupe mostly does shows for local school groups, the pay is good, and it was something I potentially could have fit into my life. But I really want to have another baby, and am hoping to get pregnant this fall, so I put my resume away and told myself "I'll be back".
One of the things I learned from theatre in my youth is that even if you don't get the job, it is always a good thing to audition just for practice, so I have no fear of auditioning for anything. I did not audition for the troupe though as I was pretty sure I could land the job, but I did not want the stress of having to make a decision between baby and acting.
But a choir....now that is something I can fit into my life, especially since the rehearsals and performance are in the next town and I know several of the people in the choir and can carpool. Anyway, it is definitely doing something powerful to my soul to be a part of this requiem right now.
I am experiencing a profound healing of my heart every time I sing it. I went through a nasty cleanse last week, just toxins oozing from my skin. In my prayers
I asked Heavenly Father what was bringing up all this new distress and he said the music was helping me to purge another layer of debris out of my body. While this is never fun, it is always pain with a purpose. I can feel my energy centers harmonizing and balancing as I sing this piece of music. I mean balance in a way that my body has NEVER been balanced before. And I have done loads of energy work to line everything up over the years. There is a balancing power in this music, it is profoundly working its way into my heart and soul and I can feel it opening up a new chapter in my life.
I know classical music as much as any other amatuer singer. The main type of music I have performed has been classical and Mormon Sacred Music.
I have also performed jazz, barbershop, sang in a couple rock bands (even did some grungy punk in my college days), and I love to sing pop solos and R & B.
I have probably performed Mozart more than anyone other composer over my life span, and was a part of some beautiful classical concerts with my high school and BYU choirs. I have performed portions of the Messiah, contemporary composers etc...
BUT....I have never heard Brahms German Requiem.
This is a mystery to me. How could I get to be 38 years old and never hear this piece of music, never sing a movement from it??
Never read the text???
Never know that it even exists???
I set a goal two weeks ago to listen to the requiem and rehearse it at least once a day. I have not quite made that goal, but I have listened to it almost every day, and I have sung it through about eight times now. I've listened to and sung the soprano solo about fifty times. I'm listening to the sixth movement right now as I type.
"DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING???"
This master work of musical art was written for birthing mothers! I am absolutely convinced of it. I am also convinced that a healing energy is contained within the text, music, words, rhythm, creshendo, decreshendo, harmony, use of every musical trick under the sun including fugue, aria, relaxed unhurried delivery, seemingly crazy dynamics, gradually increasing tempo with a final triumphant spitting of the text....an almost nah nah na nah nah....."Death....WHERE is thy STING????"....ha ha ha, you can't get me... big ol raspberry right in the eye.
Can't touch ME! With a final solemn resolution of the text and the music in the 7th movement.
I feel waves of spiritual glory wash over me every time I sing it, every time I listen to it, and every time I think about the message of the text.
When I made the concious decision to put my musical endeavors on hold for a time to focus on being a mother in 1988, it was very difficult to give up the applause. I was addicted to it. Every three months or so I was in a show or musical performance from the time I was a child. Quite often I had parts that were the funny character rolls and I really enjoyed making people laugh.
When I met and married my husband, we decided to jump right into family life and conceived our first daughter soon after our wedding. That first year of our life together was one of the happiest of my life.
I was blissfully happy this year and so excited to be a mother. Just a few short weeks after the birth of our daughter, I found myself in a manic state that gradually evolved into full blown psychosis, where I was hallucinating and awake in a dream state for over a month.
Why did this happen? How could my life have so quickly blown to bits? I have spent 18 years researching psychosis and have come up with about ten different triggers (and I had them all at the same time) for why this happened to me. Sexual Abuse sets the stage and other life factors manipulate the mind...I believe the heart of it was simply sleep deprivation. We moved to another state when our daughter was six weeks old, in the dead of winter, and the stress of the move combined with our relocation to a place where we had no friends conspired to set me up for a complete breakdown. I also had some demons from my past that were haunting me during this vulnerable time.
When the happy and joyful parts of my theatrical life stopped in 1989 and I fell into the abyss of depression after being gang raped in the mental hospital, I determined then that part of the blackness I was feeling was simply from a lack of artistic beauty in my life. (The rapes were so traumatic I had no memory of them for twelve years).
I had become so accustomed to feeling that amazing high mix of adrenaline and performance excitement that to have it just stop was a real bummer. In fact I found myself in a depressed, suicidal state that was about as opposite as any joyful high I had yet experienced in life. That good ol law of opposites kicked in really hard.
I remember this year as the time in my life when I didn't sing.
I did not realize then that the pinnacle creative artistic moment for any mother was to give birth unhindered and with empowerment alone and in harmony with the glory that is available to all, if they only make the decision to grasp this possibility.
Our bodies were designed in the image of our Heavenly Parents and every time we engage in procreative activities like Sex, Birth, and Breastfeeding exquisite, orgasmic JOY is the potential for every Mother on the planet today.
It is only our ignorance about our bodies and the current lies and assumptions that block us from experiencing this hormonal bliss with our husbands and children. (I read once that the Big Pharma Fraud who convinced millions of women that eating horse piss in the form of Premarin, (Pregnant Mares Urine), would balance their hormones, bragged that he could get the American Mother to eat encapsulated Horse S*** if he had the right marketing campaign)...but I digress.
It's not like husbands and children stand after a meal and with thunderous applause ask for an encore dessert. So much of a womans life is negativity. "do I really have to eat that??" "where is my dress?" "Mom, you forgot...." "But I don't want to go to bed..."
What I have learned from mothering my little ones is that I only have those babies with me for an instant and then they are grown and off to their own interests and agendas.
Paul and I have always sung to our babies when they were small. We have a repertoire of about ten favorite lullabys that we have used over the years with our children. A clear favorite of all of the children has been the Angel Lullaby from My Turn on Earth. But they also loved Brahms lullaby as well as a variety of primary songs and hymns that we have used to lull them to sleep.
Benjamin has been unique. He wants the same song every night. Even now, on the nights we sing to him he wants I am a Child of God. He calls it "TCHildofDod" and when he asks for the song, he'll say really fast, like it is one word "tchildofdod".
We have this fun exchange that we go through at night. I'll ask him if he wants a lullaby. He thinks about it for a second, and then he says..."yes", and I'll ask him which one he wants, and then he pretends to be thinking, and then really fast he'll say "tchildofdod." It is his special song.
My prayer is that after hearing it hundreds of times sung to him while he was in the womb and as an infant and toddler, when he hears it in the future, it will "sing" to his soul and remind him of his parents who love him more than life itself, and would do just about anything to help him and keep him safe.
When I was expecting Benjamin I memorized all of he verses of Come Thou Fount and sang them to him over and over while I was pregnant.
Recently I was editing some film footage online and the acapella version of me singing that song came on the computer. He stopped what he was doing and looked at me, was quiet for a second and then said, "turn it up", so I did.
He had twinkle come into his eyes and he gently said, "I love Come Thou Fount". At that moment I knew that his spirit remembered me singing it to him while he was in my womb, and it was a sweet and sacred moment for us to share.
I've often wondered if I've lost anything precious by giving up a music career in exchange for singing lullabys. At times I have honestly wished for the track I was on with musical theatre. But, those sublime moments with my family! I just don't know that I would have experienced anything like that performing the great works on the various stages of America. I won't claim that I have had those highs every day or even every week, but I have had them often enough, and with enough regularity that the dark sides of family life that we have experienced have melted away amidst the joy.
I spend alot of time thinking about Zion. One heart, one mind...
If Joseph Smith did nothing else with his life, simply teaching the Saints about the concept of Zion and teaching them some of the ways to achieve it was one of the crowning achievements of his life. The requiem speaks eloquently about Zion. I once read that Joseph Smith believed the Luther translation of the Bible to be superior to the King James Version.
This is interesting to me considering that Lara Hoggard, who translated the German text in the new 1997 English version of the Requiem (that we are singing at the September 10th concert) claimed that the old English versions were highly inaccurate and he went to great efforts to make the text align with Brahms original german version which was based on the Lutheran Bible.
Here are the King James versions of the lyrics that are used for the text of the Requiem:
And the text from the Soprano Aria: John 16:22
You now are sorrowful, grieve not; I will again behold you, and then your heart shall be joyful, and your joy shall no one take from you. Ecclesiastes (sirach) 51:35 -(Aprocryphal text) I suffered for a little time, toil and labor were mine, and I have found, at last, comfort.
Isaiah 66:13 I will give you comfort, as one whom his own mother comforts.
I have an interpretation of these scriptures that is a little different than some might expect. First a quick story. I met a woman named Wanda on the internet years ago. She had joined an unassisted birth group looking for information on home birth. She had given birth to two very premature babies and at the time I met her, was on the road to recovery herself, trying to find out why her body had such a difficult time holding on to her babies. She was also suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities and a variety of other horrible symptoms. Wanda was determined to learn what had happened to her and her daughters and make things right.
She investigated all sorts of information and was very open to a variety of healing modalities. When I was in contact with her she was doing various cleansing diets, liver flushes, and had moved all chemicals out of her home and out of her diet. I had shared with her some of the healing miracles I had experienced with Young Living Essential Oils and so she invited me to fly back east to teach a one day seminar on the oils.
We had lots of time to chat before and after the seminar and just before I left we were talking about the prophecies for the end times. I shared with her my view that one of the greatest sorrows families could experience were the betrayals of the Medical Profession. She detailed to me more of what she had felt and experienced with her daughters in NICU care for weeks on end, and the various trials they had experienced as a family. The highly paid monopolistic know nothing conglomerate of drugs and surgery that is practicing on woman and babies all over the world is leaving a damaged residue in its wake. I shared with her my belief that many of Isaiahs prophecies were about modern childbirth.
For example, I told her about Isaiah 54 and 3rd Nephi 22 and how I believed that Isaiah was talking about our generation of women. I shared with her my belief that the "singing that thou dids't not bear" was for those women who have NOT had to experience Babylonian Chemical birthing. And that those scriptures were talking about mothers who had come to the other side of the babylonian nightmare, had claimed their sovereignty and had moved into joy and singing in Zion..."and then your JOY, NO ONE, NONE shall take from you."
I missed the first crucial hour with my daughter as they were stitching up my belly and she was sent to the nursery after we had a c-section for a breech presentation. I demanded that they bring her to me the minute I was out of surgery, and immediately latched her onto my breast where she stayed firmly attached for most of the next four days of our hospitalization (I have often thought nursing Ally was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.)
The spirit testified to me then that what I was sharing with her was true. She also felt it, and we rejoiced together. I was not surprised to read an email a few years later announcing the birth of Liberty Love, a third daughter born at home to parents who had shaken free from the bonds and chemical nightmare they had suffered through with two previous precious daughters. Wanda was a mother who had walked the dark paths. And she went seeking, looking for some pearls of wisdom. What did she find? What did she learn? She learned what I did after I also took the time and effort to seek it out....Heavenly Father wants his children to experience exquisite joy and happiness around the births of our children!!!
Since the spiritual witness I experienced when I testified to Wanda about my interpretation of those scriptures, (many of which are part of this Requiem), I have become even more convicted in my heart that the chemicals are killing family life and connectedness. And we will never get to a Zion society if we don't have some Zion FAMILIES first.
Conversely, a Babylonian birth where mother is needlessly cut and chemically damaged, baby incarcerated for days, weeks, or months of NICU care, and father expected to pay all the bills has a devastating effect on family life. The strong foundation that is needed to build a fully connected family life is often damaged and broken and I believe contributes heavily to the current divorce rate and drug use of teens.
I sometimes observe mothers who have one child. Some of these women have a very sad countenance, or even look angry. A general feeling of rage is often fuming under the surface of her being, and her husband, if he is still around, sometimes has a spirit of guilt and shame about him. These women, I believe, are heros. When I get in close proximity to these mothers and can feel the hurt, I often wonder..."what the heck did they do to you and your child?"
What caused the fountains of life to dry up in your body, so that you either conciously chose NOT to have any more children, or your body made it impossible for you to conceive because the trauma was so bad?
Conversely, when I am around unassisted birthing mothers the joy that is radiating off of them is palpable. They describe the birth experience as "the most amazing event of my life", "I would have twenty children if I could", "babies are the greatest gift of life", and "that was the most empowering experience I have ever had."
Also, there is a very real sense of joy and jubilation coming from the baby. They engage my eyes and look so full of light. When I think of these babes compared to the NICU babies who are daily traumetized for weeks on end and have the life sucked right out of them by drugs and needless proceedures, I just weep in my heart for the unnecesary suffering.
As I rehearsed that Aria tonight, and I sang the words..."then your heart shall be joyful, and your joy shall no one, no one take from you." I just screamed it out.."and then, you joy shall no one, NONE take from you"...and it was real, and it was powerful, and it was hope for the future.
The MAIN reason I got into UC birth was because the hospital staff always took my child away from me at the very moment I wanted to be with them the most. At the very moment of birth, all these busybodies were right in our face pulling on the babe, yanking out my placenta, messing with our bodies, and distracting us from the important and crucial work of CONNECTING.
I know I can fight my way to an undrugged birth in a medical environment. I did it two times. But why should I have too? Why should I be forced to go along with hospital policy, when all I want is to give birth and hold my baby in my arms....and NO ONE TAKE MY JOY FROM ME? And have no one distract me from the happiness that I worked nine long months for, and waited my whole life to do and to be.
The presumptuousness of those professionals who think they know best, The absolute PRIDE and arrogance of those who think they know it all, who think they are God's gift to humanity, who think they are the all knowing, the all being, Godlike all powerful and all doing. THEY ARE NOTHING!! They KNOW NOTHING!! Just about everything they do is fear based and damaging. They cut families off hormonally right at the beginning of the harmony being a possibility. They shove their drugs into the veins of unsuspecting innocents, they cut and they break, and they damage, and they call it healthy and whole and it IS NOT!!
Taking a baby away from its mother and father causes sorrow. A sorrowful heart is the result of messy chemical births. And for what? Safety? So everyone else can feel comfortable? So the parents can relax and trust and know that all is well in Zion, yea Zion prospereth....and all the while the babes scream and shut down in autistic symptoms because they have NO WAY to cope and process what just happened to them. I know of no better example of "carnal security" than a mother and father who blindly trust the medical profession.
I believe Jesus Christ helped Brahms to write that Requiem to help heal the birthing women of the world. I believe he wrote it because he saw our day, he saw what we would be experiencing and he used the prophetic texts that described our day and proved to us that at some point the insanity would stop and one by one we would find our joy....and our JOY would lead us to Zion....and Zion should be what we as saints are working for and fighting for and living for.
What is the purpose of sealing families together forever if they merely tolerate and hate each other in this life? What is the purpose of teaching our children that family can be forever if we just mess with those connections right from the start? Is it possible that the scripture that talks about the whole earth being wasted at his coming is refering to babylonian birthing which disconnects and traumetizes the family at the very moment they are first getting aquainted?
When mother and child greet each other under a drug induced haze, perhaps that sets the pattern for them not being able to connect unless drugs are involved.
As I said, I believe the Requiem was written for our day, written to help heal the broken hearts, and written to give courage and strength to those families who are seeking for Zion. In the D & C it says that those who are not willing to raise a sword against their neighbors must flee to Zion for safety. And is it possible that the sword being raised against our neighbors is in fact a little knife used to cut open the belly of a mother during a c-section??? PEOPLE IT IS TIME TO FLEE TO ZION and get away from those swords!!!
Perhaps Zion is not so much a city as it is a place where mothers and babies can be bonded gently and naturally together, and instead of hating each other for the first five years of that child's life, and then just barely tolerating each other for the rest of the time the child is in the home, and fleeing from each other when the child becomes an adult, Zion living is accomplished and enabled by Zion birthing and bonding. And then we sing, then we feel the joy, then we feel the connections, and we start to realize the potentiality of eternal living as happy families.
It takes a braveheart to learn the facts and then act on those truths. Parents who desire the best connectivity with children MUST take the time and effort to learn these facts, and then sorrow will flee. Blessed are they who are sorrowful, for they shall have comfort.
I'm excited to learn the outcome of the audition. I can think of few things I would rather do than sing those words, accompanied by a live orchestra at this particular time in my life. Actually, one thing comes to mind. I would love to give birth to another child more than sing that Aria. But if it be Heavens will, perhaps I can do both!
(NOTE: This post was first published on August 4th, 2006. Many people have been coming in to read this archived post, and today I updated it with new pictures and videos to "freshen it up". It was one of the posts messed up the last time I was hacked.)
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