You are here

Virtual-choir recording: ‘Geistliches Lied’ by Brahms

8 June 2020

The Choir of The Queen’s College has made a virtual-choir recording of Brahms’s earliest choral work, Geistliches Lied (‘Sacred Song’), while in lockdown. The piece is a setting of a poem that is appropriate to the times we are currently living in, by the seventeenth-century chorale writer Paul Fleming, concerned with acceptance and calm in the face of trouble.

‘We chose a piece that the choir had performed recently, so that our live performance was still in the singers’ minds: as all choirs making such virtual recordings have found, it’s quite challenging for the individual singers to record thus on their own,’ explained the Choir’s Director, Professor Owen Rees. ‘The Brahms seemed particularly suitable for these times also because it’s such an expressive setting of a text concerned with reassurance and comfort in troubling times. We recorded the piano part first, and then that was sent to all the singers as a guide, and they recorded themselves (e.g. on their mobile phone) singing along to that guide track, so that everyone was performing at the same speed.

‘The singers’ recordings were edited together by Tim Thorne (who used to be our Choir Manager, and who has extensive expensive experience as a producer, including for the BBC). Tim also devised the visuals, including the lovely idea to set this in nature, avoiding the simple impression of a Zoom or Teams meeting which we’re all far too familiar with at the moment! It’s been a poignant process: whilst it’s wonderful to see and hear everyone singing together (perhaps for the last time for this year’s choir, as our finalists are about to finish their university studies), it also reminds us that nothing of this kind can match the sheer joy and excitement of making music together live with friends.’

Find out more about Queen’s Choir at