Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem

In February and March 2024, Dinis Sousa conducted the Monteverdi Choir and Concertgebouw Orchestra in performances of Brahms’s choral masterpiece Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. They were joined by baritone Christian Gerhaher and soprano Lenneke Ruiten.

★★★★★ Bachtrack: “They are truly one of the finest choirs of their time.”

★★★★★ De Volkskrant: “An amazing collective performance.”

★★★★★ Trouw: “Unimaginably beautiful and purely intoned… For years this has simply been the best choir in the world.” “It is rare to hear a performance that is so well controlled and so virtuosic as was presented by the Monteverdi Choir”


Heinrich Schütz: Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben
Johann Christoph Bach: Der Gerechte, ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirbt
Johannes Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), Op.45

Brahms’s profound grief, following his mother’s death, inspired him to compose Ein Deutsches Requiem. Instead of setting the traditional Roman Catholic mass for the dead Brahms created his own version using excerpts from the Old and New Testaments from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and the Apocrypha. Brahms’s intention was to compose a Requiem that would comfort the living, not only mourn the dead.

The first official premiere of the Requiem, featuring only six movements, took place on Good Friday, 10 April, 1868 at Bremen Cathedral. Brahms then added an additional movement and the final version, featuring seven movements, was performed for the first time in Leipzig on 18 February 1869. The work was critically acclaimed and established Brahms’s reputation as a significant composer.

Deeply moving, profound and powerful, Ein Deutsches Requiem is central to our understanding of Brahms’s compositional personality and inner spiritual life. Behind its dramatic gestures and 19th-century grandeur, it reveals Brahms’s love for German music of the past which the Monteverdi Choir reflected with two unaccompanied choral works by Heinrich Schütz and Johann Christoph Bach.

Concert dates:

Thursday 29 February 2024, 8.15pm
The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Friday 1 March 2024, 8.15pm
The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Sunday 3 March 2024, 2.15pm
The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam


“So why is the Monteverdi Choir so special? It is not just about the conductor, wonderful diction, silky smooth delivery of the text, immense discipline or the identity of individual sections of the choir. It is about the whole, and about creating unique sound worlds which move seamlessly as one. They are truly one of the finest choirs of their time.” – Bachtrack

“When the Monteverdi Choir started singing the famous opening bars of Ein deutsches Requiem, your heart opened instantly. What an unimaginably beautiful and purely intoned sound came from those fifty or so throats. And the quality of that sound remained completely intact for over an hour. There was no trace of fatigue. For years this has simply been the best choir in the world.” – Trouw

“The Monteverdi Choir’s a cappella performance was perfectly mixed and balanced…This balance and perfect unity were present all evening. The use of varied articulation, pacing and dynamic contrast painted the text beautifully…The Monteverdi Choir gave us amazing nuance and phrasing.” – Place de l’Opera