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Looking for short lively piece by Brahms

My community chorus is doing the Requiem in May and I'd like to find a 3-5 piece by Brahms to end the concert - hopefully something farily lively. Any suggestions?
Replies (15): Threaded | Chronological
on March 4, 2012 5:28am
Dear Jon,
I'd suggest Fest- und Gedenkssprüche op. 109. There are several editions available. It is a bit of a challenge (double choir etc.) but worth the effort.
on March 4, 2012 5:39am
Dear Jon,
Brahms conducted the Requiem a number of times, and he found the perfect way to end the concert:  with the seventh movement.  I don't think any listener has ever wanted to hear another piece attached to the end of the Brahms Requiem.  Not to mention that no conductor has ever felt that he had too much rehearsal time to devote to the piece.
Good luck--
Bill Weinert
on March 4, 2012 6:36am
Mr. Arterton, You might program several of the seven Marienlieder that are up tempo, "The Hunter" being the most famous. Mary and May go together.
If your performing space has an organ with romantic color (need not be large), Jongen's "Chant de Mai" would make a lovely prelude.
Please have a look at my own works on my ChoralNet page, or at my website:
This spring the men of Loud and Proud, Edinburgh's G&L chorus directed by Karen Dietz, will sing the first performance of my setting of "Because I liked you better" (TTBB - 3:25), a late poem
of A. E. Housman of a poignant autobiographical nature.  Scroll down New print publications here to read about it, appropriate for the men of your group.
All my works are written into Sibelius, so fully professional scores are available. 
on March 4, 2012 7:23am
Look at the Fest- und Gedenksprueche, opus 109.

But I think I'd be remiss if I didn't say that it's hard to imagine anything--even by Brahms himself--following the Requiem. It would be difficult both emotionally and vocally.

While short, the Requiem can stand alone on a program. If you want a longer program, though, I suggest thinking about putting one or two things before it. If you have an orchestra, perhaps open with a Brahms overture. Or perhaps some thing by Beethoven (Hallelujah, for instance) or Mendelssohn. Good luck with this magnificent work.

on March 4, 2012 7:49am
The Liebeslieder Waltzer are short and lively.
on March 4, 2012 8:10am
Hi, Jon.  I highly recommend a couple of Brahms' fiery Ziguenerlieder, which I've arranged for 2-part chorus and piano four hands (or you could use the original SATB settings), with either the original German texts or the English lyrics I've created for a song cycle using all 15 of the pieces, from both Opus 103 (No. 1-11) and 112 (No. 1-4).  To hear samples in midi (but in the piano-strings quartet version I've also done), go into my Web site,, click on Instrumental in the menu bar at left, then scroll down and click on the blue play tabs next to the 10 selections. 
Good luck with your concert.
Ken Malucelli
on March 4, 2012 4:04pm
In Stiller Nacht might work - before...or even after..  There are a variety of interpretations, and arrangements, that affect how "lively" it can be.  :)
on March 5, 2012 2:46am
How about doing a short piece or two to start the concert and then ending with the full Requiem?
That said, some favorites of mine...
O Heiland reiss die Himmel auf from Opus 74.
Of the 3 motets in Opus 109, Wenn ein starker Gewappneter is wonderful.  Hard, but wonderful, and very lively.
on March 5, 2012 9:10am
I envy you!
But I confess that I'm voting with Bill Weinert and David Schildkret: I'd end with the final movement of the Requiem and leave it at that. A lively follow-up -- or any follow-up -- while perhaps not on the order of a moustache on the Mona Lisa, or Shave and a Haircut, seems superfluous at best. A distraction.
I've heard the Brahms live several times. I think there was another piece on the program only once, and it came first. I've never felt short-changed. Only thankful. I want to leave a Requiem performance meditating on those rich biblical texts (the work is far more Christian-specific than it is often made out to be in program notes, Brahms' own comments notwithstanding, but that's another story for another day) and on Brahms' magnificent "commentary" on them.
Whatever you decide, best wishes for a performance that speaks from heart to heart!
on March 6, 2012 7:40am
Thanks to everyone for their comments. I totally understand those that say the Requiem should stand on its own, but we have a problem. We always make our concerts free and we need to be able to pass the proverbial hat at some point.
We seem to have three options: take the collection before we perform, pause after the fourth movement for a collection, or take the collection at the end but add a short piece to keep the audience from leaving while we're trying to pass the hat. None of these options appeal to us.
What would you do?!
Just to stoke the fire of discussion a bit....  I heard recently that the tradition of not applauding between movements began in the early 20th century. Prior to that audiences frequently applauded after movements, in fact, sometimes if the applause was very enthusiastic orchestras would repeat the movement before going on to the next one! So perhaps a pause in the middle could be handled diplomatically. Oh boy, what have I started?!
[By the way, I recommend the free concert policy wholeheartedly. We draw huge crowds, we're able to pay me and the other musicians well, and we have money in the bank. The goodwill this creates is amazing.]
on March 6, 2012 8:26am
Mr. Arterton,
I'm one of the let-it-stand-alone people. But given your choices -- and how wonderful that you can make this a free concert! -- I'd go with your original thought and put the collection at the end. A thought: For my ears, at least, a less lively piece might be less jarring, given the mood established by the Requiem. Looks like the concert will be during the Paschal season. Perhaps Brahms' lovely "Magdalena"?
An English version from GIA:
on March 6, 2012 9:40am
We have free concerts at a summer festival in Southern Iceland - on the way out there's a casket people can put money in. At the start of every concert someone addresses the audience to ask people to turn off their mobile phones and then mentiones the casket. Normally works pretty well (even though there's not a big tradition for free concerts and voluntary contributions here).
on March 6, 2012 2:21pm
Jon:  I can see your problem, but as long as your audiences are used to having a collection taken, I really like Hildigunnur's thought.  You can announce (or have it in your program) that this is what will be happening.
I agree completely with all the thoughts that it might be a mistake to follow the Requiem with anything else.  But the other side of that coin is that everyone will be leaving with all that glorious music still echoing in their heads.
Now, about when we started treating concerts like religious services, you're absolutely right, but I'm not sure when that started.  I've read that Wagner might have had something to do with it, but I'm not sure what.  Eighteenth century concerts appear to have been variety shows when not even symphonies or concertos were played straight through without a break, and opera performances in particular were more like rock concerts today (or perhaps more like the Hootenanies back in the '60s) in terms of inviting and accepting audience response.  There are pictures (exaggerated?) showing audience members singing right along with the singers on stage!  So the change has to have come at some point in the 19th century, but I'm not sure when or where.  And modern opera audiences have still been known to break the "sound barrier" in order to cheer and brava their favorite arias or their favorite singers.
A conductor can retain a certain amount of control by not dropping the hands between movements, but younger audiences in particular, more used to rock concerts, often don't "get it."
All the best,
on March 6, 2012 10:23am
Brahms himself programmed Handel's "I know that my Redeemer liveth" for one early performance, but I don't remember if it was before, after, or somewhere in the middle of the Requiem itself. 
on March 7, 2012 7:22am
Thanks again to everyone. I've finally made a decision! Whew. We'll do the Requiem, then take the collection, and then sing Brahms' very simple "In Stiller Nacht" which incidently was the first piece my chorus ever sang when we began our first rehearsal ten years ago. Crisis averted. I was thinking about Geistliche Lied which is most wonderful but I think we're going to need to conserve rehearsal time for the Requiem - you know what I mean!
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