Thu 29 Feb, 8.15pm
The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lenneke Ruiten - soprano
Christian Gerhaher - baritone
Dinis Sousa will conduct the Monteverdi Choir and Concertgebouw Orchestra in performances of Brahms’s choral masterpiece Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, in February and March 2024. They will be joined by baritone Christian Gerhaher and soprano Lenneke Ruiten, who will be making her debut with the orchestra.
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
Johannes Brahms received a telegram from his brother, Fritz, on 2 February 1865 which read, “If you want to see our mother once again, come immediately.” Brahms rushed from Vienna to Hamburg to see her but she died of a stroke, aged 76, before he arrived. Brahms’s profound grief, following his mother’s death, inspired him to compose Ein Deutsches Requiem. The initial idea for the work had been triggered by the death of Brahms’s friend and mentor Robert Schumann nine years earlier, in 1856.
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 will be reflected in the Monteverdi Choir’s unaccompanied opening choral works by Heinrich Schütz and Johann Christoph Bach.
Photo: The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam - Hans Roggen