Promise of Hope

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides forever”

-I Peter, 1, 24-25

As brass hits brass and fire engulfs fire in the Middle East and as man’s inhumanity to man once again unfolds in abundance, we are again reminded of how trivial is all earthly glory and how pitiful is man in his pursuit of withering earthly pleasures.

In its now traditional annual Easter joint production, the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the LARK Musical Society are pleased to bring to you “PROMISE OF HOPE”, with three masterpieces by Johannes Brahms, “Song of Fate” (ca 15 minutes), “Alto Rhapsody” (ca 15 minutes), and his seminal work, “A German Requiem” (ca 1 hr. and 15 minutes).

Unlike the Roman Catholic liturgical Requiems, Brahms, in his German Requiem pieces together different verses from the Bible that deal with life, death and life after death. It is an incarnation of the promise of eternal life that is the anchor of our faith in the living Lord, Jesus Christ.

No production of this magnitude could solely be sustained by the sale of tickets. This program is realized by the loving and generous support of our habitual supporters who value the treasure of sacred music and to whom we simply say ” THANK YOU”.

The LARK/AMAA joint concert committee gracefully dedicates this performance to all who have lived and witnessed the faith that so magnificently transforms their being.

We thank all who support these yearly events with the AMAA, and who show interest in our activities which strive to bring works of great value to our audiences.

February 7, 2019

Johannes Brahms: 1833-1897


The Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny), Op. 54, is an orchestrally accompanied choral setting of a poem written by Friedrich Hölderlin and is one of several major choral works written by Johannes Brahms. Brahms began the work in the summer of 1868 at Wilhelmshaven, but it was not completed until May 1871. The delay in completion was largely due to Brahms’s indecision to how the piece should conclude. Hesitant to make a decision, he began work on the Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53, which was completed in 1869 and first performed in 1870.


Considered his greatest choral-orchestral work, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) intended his famous German Requiem to be for the living instead of the departed. He wrote: “As for the title, I must admit I should like to leave out the word ‘German’ and refer instead to ‘Humanity’.” This comment points directly to the heart of his greatest choral composition, a work conceived as “Folk Requiem” — a non-denominational statement of faith.

Unlike the traditional Latin texts of the Requiem Mass, whose concern is with the spiritual plight of the deceased, Brahms’ uplifting message is one of consolation and comfort for the living. Brahms’s notion of death is in the Protestant Christian mold: an occasion for comfort to the bereaved and for rejoicing in the certainty of Paradise.

A German Requiem is one of the great masterpieces of the Choral repertoire. Brahms labored over it for eleven years (from 1857 to 1868). Indeed, it is his longest work, which also gives us a candid glimpse into the composer’s heart, a place he was usually reluctant to let his listeners explore.