St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Brahms. Ein Deutsches Requiem

Anastasia Kalagina (soprano)
Vladislav Sulimsky (baritone)

The Mariinsky Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Justus Frantz

Johannes Brahms
Deutsches Requiem

Musical Preparation: Marina Mishuk
Principal Chorus Master: Konstantin Rylov

The premiere of the Deutsches Requiem on 10 April 1868 in Bremen brought international fame to the young Johannes Brahms as one of the greatest composers of his time. Very soon, this inspired work had been performed in Switzerland, Great Britain and Russia and it became part of the repertoire of almost every amateur choral society in Germany.
Brahms began work on his Deutsches Requiem in 1865, soon after the death of his mother. Unlike Schubert, who wrote his Deutsches Requiem much earlier, Brahms did not translate the canonical Latin text himself, instead selecting fragments from various books of the Bible as translated by Luther. There are no church dogmas in these fragments; the text deals with that which is dear to everyone, independent of their confession – namely solace. In 1868, after the Bremen premiere, the composer added a fifth section to the Requiem with a solo soprano whose theme is maternal comfort.
The  Deutsches Requiem was preceded in Brahms’ life by his years of experience as a chorus master, and so the brilliance with which he writes for chorus is not surprising. In the orchestration there are also many innovations, in particular the gloomy first section which is performed without the violins. Several episodes are written in an older style, reminiscent of Handel’s oratorios, but most of the music is free of stylisations and takes the path of Beethoven’s spiritual music – “from heart to heart”. Anna Bulycheva

Age category 6+

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