2016 Season - Winter Concert "Ein deutsches Requiem" by Brahms
“The German Requiem” by Johannes Brahms – Sung in Hebrew
“The German Requiem” was completed by Brahms in 1866, as a monumental work of six movements. His reason for writing this work was two tragic events within a space of nine years; the death of Robert Schumann in 1856 and the death of Brahms’ mother in 1865. It was only two years later, in 1868, that what is now the fifth movement (the stunning soprano solo piece) was written. The entire work of seven movements is between 65 and 75 minutes in length.
In contrast to the Latin Requiem liturgy, Brahms compiled the libretto himself from the Luther Bible. In sharp contrast to the Catholic presentation, which focuses our attention on the fate of the departed, with judgment and wrath, but Brahms chose texts which of hope and security for the faithful, and comfort for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. It is a work for the living and not for the dead.
One of Brahms’ regrets was that he wrote the piece for such a large orchestra that even in his own time, he was hard pressed to arrive at the resources to do it justice. It also required, of course, an overly large choir to balance the orchestra. Brahms himself composed an accompaniment for piano duet, which he was quite satisfied with. It has taken, however, 142 years for a “chamber orchestra” version to surface, thanks to the work of Joachim Linckelmann. It is that version that the “Liturgi-Kal” Concert Choir presented in October 2011 and again in 2016.
It has been our honor to present this work for the first time in the Hebrew Language. Israel is a country constantly fluctuating between fighting and mourning. The prevailing mood is one of national and ethnic uncertainty. It is the conviction of “Kamti” and “Liturgi-Kal” that this unparalleled message of comfort, love and security is particularly fitting for our people, our nation and our corner of the world. Here is a video of the Brahms Requiem performed in December 2016 at Christ Church, Jerusalem.