Good Friday Reflective Music Service – The Gospel of Luke & Brahms Requiem

Friday, 2 April - 5:00pm (or whenever)

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On Good Friday we are offering a service with Holy Supper, readings from the Gospel of Luke and the teachings of the New Church, and selections from A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms.

There are three ways to participate in this service: You can come in person, you can attend online on Zoom, or you can download the video of the readings and music to watch whenever and wherever you are.

If you’re watching at home, we recommend using headphones or good speakers to fully appreciate the music; we’re going to play it good and loud in the church.

Attend In Person

The service is at 5pm on Friday, 2 April. You will need to observe all the normal rules for attending church (wear a mask, sanitise, and observe social distancing). And you will need to fill out the Health Screening Questionnaire.

Unfortunately the hall (foyer, toilets, kitchen) will not be available for this service so people will need to use the toilet in the vestry or down by the media centre.

Attend Online

Use the following details to connect to the service on Zoom.

You will be able to connect to the meeting from about 30 minutes before the service starts (±4:30pm).

Watch the Service Whenever and Wherever You Are

The video of the service is about an hour long. You can find it on YouTube here:

Or it is available for download for offline viewing in 3 sizes – large (8.74 GB), medium (3.54 GB), and small (1.07 GB).

Download the Pamphlet

You can download the pamphlet with the readings and notes for the service here: Good Friday Service Pamphlet (PDF).

Notes About A German Requiem and the Recording

Excerpt of “A German Requiem and Brahms” 
by Troy Peters

(Originally retrieved from, though it is no longer posted there.)
Of his choral masterwork, A German Requiem, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote: “As for the title, I must admit I should like to leave out the word ‘German’ and refer instead to ‘Humanity’.” This comment points directly to the heart of his greatest choral composition…. A German Requiem may be the most comforting, humane requiem ever written.

The traditional Roman Catholic liturgical text for the requiem mass is a prayer for the dead, filled with images of the horrors of the Last Judgment. Brahms’ text, on the other hand, which he compiled from Martin Luther’s German vernacular translation of the Bible, seeks to comfort the living who must deal with and accept death. Just 33 years old when he completed the bulk of A German Requiem, Brahms already had a very personal perspective on mourning. The requiem had begun to gestate in Brahms’ mind a decade earlier, in response to the untimely and protracted death of his close friend and mentor, Robert Schumann: And there can be little doubt that the death of Brahms’ mother in February 1865, spurred him on to complete the work.

A German Requiem, however, is not simply a memorial to the composer’s mother or mentor, but a message of hope for us all. Brahms took great pains putting together his text, piecing together fragments from throughout the Bible to create a tapestry of solace. Nowhere in A German Requiem do we glimpse the vivid darkness of the traditional requiem text’s dies irae (“day of wrath,” a detailed explication of the terrors of Judgment Day). .…

The musical form is a tightly wrought edifice, a seven movement arch with the music of brightest comfort at its center. The first and last movements echo each other in conveying blessings, first upon the mourners, finally upon the dead. The second and sixth movements are the darkest (and longest). The third and fifth movements feature soloists in meditations, the baritone seeking hope, the soprano bestowing it. Nestled in the middle is the shortest movement, the gorgeous chorus of tranquility, “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place.”

Throughout the work, Brahms’ orchestral and choral skill is magnificent. In the first movement, he leaves out the violins, considerably darkening the orchestral palette…. When the violins enter in the second movement, they arrive with mutes and in close harmony, a spectral reflection of the piece’s most mournful text (“For all flesh is as grass”). Through the requiem’s final chords float the heavenly arpeggios of the harp, as the chorus quietly repeats the word selig (“blessed”). …

In the end, A German Requiem is Johannes Brahms’ magnum opus. He labored over it for eleven years (from 1857 to 1868), and it is his longest major work. While Brahms never finished an opera, his requiem is at once his most theatrical piece and a stunningly symmetrical symphonic form. It is also a candid glimpse into its composer’s heart, a place he was usually reluctant to let his listeners explore.

Notes About This Recording

The musical selections are from a performance presented by Abendmusik at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska on the 14th of April, 2019.

It features Doane University Choir, Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir, Abendmusik Chorus, and the Abendmusik Festival Orchestra, with Tom Trenney as conductor, Samuel Kidd as baritone, and Beth Deutmeyer as soprano.

Find the full performance on YouTube:

Our grateful thanks to First-Plymouth for the permission to use their performance.

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