Brahms’ German Requiem

Brahms’ German Requiem was performed by The Boston Cecilia last night. This great Protestant piece, written by the Lutheran Johannes Brahms, was first performed in 1871 in London. Brahms said that he could have called it a Human Requiem. By this he meant to distinguish it from the Latin Requiem or the Catholic order of the Funeral Mass.  In The German Requiem Brahms grieves his mother with the emotional power of strong, trained human voices, singing in chorus and in solo the words of Luther’s German translation of the Bible, the Bible for the people. The music of a great composition works deep inside of us, reaching our own latent grief and goodness as we sit together safely, a community of strangers, without exposing any of us individually or asking us to confess or explain.

 

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