Ein deutsches Requiem
A German Requiem
Herbert von Karajan
Kathleen Battle, Soprano
José van Dam, Baritone
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded in 1985
Length: 1 hr 21 min
"A Requiem for the living"
When Johannes Brahms composed his "German Requiem", he thought little of the salvation of the deceased's soul. With his music, Brahms wanted one thing first and foremost: to give consolation to the bereaved. He completely turned away from church conventions. Seen in this way, he created a very atypical requiem.
On February 18, 1869, the complete seven-movement version of Johannes Brahms' "German Requiem" was premiered under Carl Reinecke in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
For Brahms, people, venerable poets, stand behind the Bible texts he himself has chosen. Texts by people for people. "I have completed my funeral music as a gift for those who suffer," said Brahms.
Not the dead and their peace of mind, not the redeeming death of Christ, who is not even mentioned by name - no, those who remain behind are the focus of this humanistic work. They should be given consolation. The reason for this interpretation may have been the death of his friend Robert Schumann in 1856. But years passed before the work was available in the seven-movement, symetrically closed system - leading into two world premieres. 1867 with three movements, 1868 with six movements.
The German Requiem was triumphant success for Brahms because he masterfully combined elements of the romantic style with pre-baroque musical language, modern means of expression with contrapuntal techniques. "Brahms' Requiem is even closer to our hearts," writes the famous music critic Eduard Hanslick, "because it sheds any denominational dress, any ecclesiastical convention, chooses German Bible words instead of the Latin ritual text, and chooses in such a way that the most intrinsic nature of the music and thus at the same time the mind of the listener is drawn into more intimate cooperation."