Saturday night’s program opens with Rachmaninoff’s warm and melodious Symphony No. 2, a lush and sentimental work of immense power and beauty that has not been performed on a UMS program in over 30 years. The program also features Florence Price’s Symphony No. 4, which incorporates melodies from spirituals, including a beautifully-orchestrated theme from “Wade in the Water”; The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Grammy-winning record of Price’s first and third symphonies (2022 “Best Orchestral Performance”) helped spark intense global interest in the Arkansas-born composer.
Sunday afternoon’s season finale puts the UMS Choral Union on display with Johannes Brahms, who poured his soul into his utterly personal German Requiem, which was composed after the death of his mother. Unlike previous requiem masses by Mozart and Berlioz, which were set in a Catholic, Latin text and focused on loss and those who had died, Brahms used excerpts from the Lutheran Bible to create a requiem that offers comfort to those left behind and celebrates the joy of remembrance.