Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The German Requiem

Donald Macleod explains how, with premieres looming in Bremen Cathedral, Brahms finally completed his German Requiem.

With premieres looming in Bremen Cathedral, Johannes Brahms finally completes his German Requiem. Presented by Donald Macleod

German composer Johannes Brahms became a significant figure in Western music during his own lifetime, and has retained this position ever since. His works were performed throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, and displayed much passion in keeping with the musical language of the mid to late nineteenth century. Donald Macleod this week explores some of the larger orchestral works Brahms composed, taking on the mantle from Beethoven and Schubert, and the periods in which they were written. The series includes the First Piano Concerto, his German Requiem, concertos for violin, and for violin and cello, and also his third and fourth symphonies.

During the late 1860s Brahms was preoccupied with completing his German Requiem, in readiness for its premiere at Bremen Cathedral in 1868. He was the first German composer to choose and shape his texts from sources other than the burial service, to convey a message about grief and death. Clara Schumann attended the premiere, as did the composer Max Bruch. During this same period Brahms had fallen in love again, this time with Clara's daughter Julie, who inspired him to write his love songs the Liebeslieder Waltzes.

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (1st mvt)
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34 (3rd mvt)
Tokyo String Quartet
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (3rd mvt)
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op 52 (Nos 1-9)
Edith Mathis, soprano
Brigitte Fassbaender, alto
Peter Schreier, tenor
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Karl Engel, piano
Wolfgang Sawallisch, piano

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op 45 (5th mvt)
Genia Kühmeier, soprano
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Vienna Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Johannes Brahms

    Ein Deutsches requiem Op.45 - Selig sind, die da Leid tragen

    Choir: Arnold Schönberg Chor. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • SONY : 88697-720662.
    • SONY.
    • 1.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Quintet In F minor Op.34 - 3rd movement; Scherzo

    Performer: Jon Nakamatsu. Ensemble: Tokyo String Quartet.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI : HMU-807558.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
    • 7.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Ein Deutsches requiem Op.45 - Herr, lehre doch mich

    Choir: Arnold Schönberg Chor. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • SONY : 88697-720662.
    • SONY.
    • 3.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Liebeslieder waltzes Op.52 No's 1-9

    Performer: Karl Engel. Performer: Wolfgang Sawallisch. Singer: Edith Mathis. Singer: Brigitte Fassbaender. Singer: Peter Schreier. Singer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON : 423-133-2.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON.
    • 1.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Ein Deutsches requiem Op.45 - Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit

    Choir: Arnold Schönberg Chor. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • SONY : 88697-720662.
    • SONY.
    • 5.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.