A German Requiem

The choir has just started rehearsing A German RequiemJBrahms by Johannes Brahms in preparation for the NZCF Wellington May Workshop. I believe the scores we are using are from the CPDL. There are three editions there: Elizabeth tells me that we are using this one:


I could paraphrase some of the interesting information from the Wikipedia page about this work, as is my my wont, but then you can look this up for yourself, can’t you? What you want is rehearsal (MIDI) files, right? Cyberbass is the usual place to look and doesn’t disappoint in this case:


I’ve also discovered a set of rehearsal files at a site called Choralia:


They sound pretty weird, but they seem to do the job. And you can download the Choralia files to your hard drive, which you can’t do with Cyberbass.

The work will be sung in German at the workshop; here’s the text with an English translation:


And, of course, there are numerous performances on YouTube


A note about formats for rehearsal files: MIDI is (for our purposes) a file format that allows music to be represented as a series of notes (with pitch and duration) played by an instrument. As such it’s good for rehearsal. A MIDI player takes this information and turns it into sound. Some MIDI players allow clever stuff like changing tempo and emphasising one part over the others, but those players are increasingly becoming incompatible with modern operating systems and generally not worth the bother to install. For example I used to have a dedicated MIDI player but these days I play MIDI files via a general-purpose audio player like Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player. It’s also becoming common for rehearsal files not to be in MIDI format at all but in a general-purpose audio format like MP3. For most purposes it makes little difference, but one thing you do lose with the audio files is the ability to change the tempo.