A German Requiem was not composed for the dead, but to console the living. It is one of Brahms’ most deeply personal utterances, but its message is universal: ‘blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted’.
The deaths of Brahms’ mother and his mentor Robert Schumann were the impetus for a work which creates a moving sense of the composer’s journey from grief to acceptance. Instead of setting the Latin Mass, Brahms chose texts from Luther’s translation of the Bible, clothing them in some of his most luminous music – a burnished orchestral sound blended with a heavenly choir. It’s music that doesn’t need to raise its voice to touch the heart.
A German Requiem transcends religion, bringing peace to hearers of any spirituality. Brahms preferred to think of it as ‘Ein menschliches Requiem’ – a Human Requiem. David Robertson, an eloquent communicator, conducts this profound masterpiece.