Classical music boosts listeners' brain functions and energy levels, which is why every child should ingest a well-rounded harpsichord each morning. Treat your noggin to a mellifluous meal with this GrouponLive deal to see "Brahms' Requiem," presented by the Portland Symphonic Choir at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Saturday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Choose from the following seating options:
- For $30, you get two upper-balcony tickets (a $60 value).
- For $46, you get two lower-balcony tickets (a $92 value).
- For $46, you get two orchestra middle-side tickets tickets (a $92 value).
- For $78, you get two front-center-orchestra tickets (a $156 value).
Under the baton of artistic director Steven Zopfi, the Portland Symphonic Choir combines their talents with the Oregon Symphony to tickle ears with a night of choral music by two master composers. Soprano Dominique Labelle—whom the San Francisco Chronicle has praised for her "thrilling virtuosity,” “dramatic power," and "almost alarming ferocity"—steps to the forefront to begin the night with Bach's Cantata no. 51. The piece opens with a playful trumpet dancing among strings, before Labelle’s angelic soprano immerges with joyous melodies. Her complicated vocals demand exquisite virtuosity, unusual for the church music of Bach's Leipzig, where singing was done exclusively by choirboys and songbirds stuck in the church’s nave.
Baritone Richard Zeller and all 120 members of the Symphonic Choir then join Labelle and the symphony for Brahms's monumental Requiem. Written shortly after the death of his mother in 1865, the titanic piece displays Brahms at the height of his powers as a master of traditional styles and a forward-looking musical innovator. Sprawling across seven movements, the Requiem opens with a growling bass quickly overlaid with a flowing, melancholy string melody, which gently expands and deflates until the chorus enters with a whisper. Departing from the familiar Roman Catholic requiem structure, the chorus's first words are not the usual entreaty to "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord," but rather the observation, "Blessed are they who bear suffering." Turning the standard formulation on its head, Brahms's piece offers comfort to those whom the dead have left behind and asks the departed to haunt the least used rooms in the house.