A timeless, liturgical repertoire

BY KATHERINE LIPP | Evergreen music reporter

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Beautiful music stands the test of time and can provide an emotional journey for all those who stop and listen.

The Palouse Choral Society will perform Brahms’ German Requiem at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, and at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Uniontown, Washington.

Baritone soloist Aaron St. Clair Nicholson said he was brought on board for the performance fairly recently and has spent the short amount of time trying to grasp the most important aspects of the music.

“I think the most important thing is to understand the context of the piece,” Nicholson said. “A lot of times artists miss the understanding of what they’re singing. I like to know who I am addressing.”

The piece, which was written in the Romantic era, has an expanded baritone role in comparison to other requiems. In Nicholson’s eyes, Brahms created an exquisite and beautiful piece even in its saddest moments.

“It’s been a chance to learn another beautiful version of liturgical repertoire,” Nicholson said. “I just want to do the best I can and enjoy everyone else doing their thing.”

Soprano soloist Dawn Marie Wolski said she was contacted a year ago by music director Michael Murphy. Though she’s been tirelessly working on the music, she said she won’t get a chance to meet Murphy or rehearse with the choir until the dress rehearsal for the concert.

“But that’s how it works in this business,” Wolski said. “It’s a small world and somehow either from a colleague or another regional performance, I made it onto the Palouse Choral Society’s radar.”

The Brahms Requiem, also known as the German Requiem, is most notably unique in its text, Wolski said.

“Unlike many traditional settings, Brahms did not use the Roman Catholic liturgy as his base but hand selected other sacred texts, which makes this a bit more personal for him, and by extension, us,” Wolski said.

Choir member Anjuli Dodhia graduated from WSU in 2013 with a degree in music performance. After performing as a soloist in another performance with the Palouse Choral Society, she said she knew she wanted to be a part of the group permanently.

“Their choir is absolutely amazing, and Dr. Murphy is great at getting us to sound exactly how he wants us to sound,” she said. “It’s so much fun to be a part of.”

After working as a group to master the challenging choral part, Dodhia said it has been the teamwork that has made the experience so worthwhile.

“My favorite thing about preparing for this performance has been how everyone pulls together and puts in the effort,” she said. “It’s an out-of-body experience, and something everyone can relate to.”

Brahms’ relatable and melodic efforts, as well as the clarion performances by all involved, make this rendition of a traditional masterpiece something special.

“There is some music that is so beautiful that it has the power to change lives,” Wolski said. “Those who are familiar with the work will need no convincing. Those who aren’t, it’s simply not one to be missed.”

Tickets for the performance in Cottonwood are available at www.stgertrudes.org.

General admission adult tickets for the Uniontown performance are $15 and sets of four concert block tickets are available for $48. Purchase tickets at the door, online at www.palousechoralsociety.org, or by calling 509-432-4796.