Requiem of the Week – Brahms German

Albert Wood, a member of my church choir, and a March Pisces, died on Ash Wednesday.


Nothing gets me in the Lenten mood like a bunch of Requiems (Requia?). I have sung several of them over the years. One I haven’t sung is Brahms’ A German Requiem, though I do have a recording of it. However, I have sung the 4th movement, in English, and it is known as How Lovely is thy dwelling place.

From the Wikipedia: A German Requiem, To Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 (German: Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der heiligen Schrift) by Johannes Brahms, is a large-scale work for chorus, orchestra, and a soprano and a baritone soloist, composed between 1865 and 1868. It comprises seven movements, which together last 65 to 80 minutes, making this work Brahms’s longest composition.

A German Requiem is sacred but non-liturgical, and unlike a long tradition of the Latin Requiem, A German Requiem, as its title states, is a Requiem in the German language.

It is a standard for a number of choirs. I know of at least a couple of people who would love it to be performed at their funerals, and it is on my list of pieces to be considered for that purpose.

Here are:
How Lovely is thy dwelling place, in English, by the Exultate Festival Choir
The same movement, in German, by the UCLA Chorale
The whole requiem by the UC Davis University and Alumni Choruses and Symphony Orchestra; unfortunately, the vocals often sound a bit muddy, per the recording methodology, not the singers.

A sad note: Albert Wood, a member of my church choir as well as other choral groups, and a March Pisces, died on Ash Wednesday. Stole this picture from someone’s Facebook page. On his LinkedIn page, a fellow choir member had written: “An incredibly talented, energetic and ethical individual, with considerable insight into the human and corporate condition.” Among other things, he was a very talented pianist.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

6 thoughts on “Requiem of the Week – Brahms German”

  1. Very interesting information about requiems! Sorry for Albert Wood.
    Thanks for sharing, Roger. And thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment;o)


  2. Roger
    Do you ever do solos, and could you post a recording of your choir on your blog?
    Thanks, Tom

  3. No, I avoid solos at all cost.
    Odd, though, but I got a MP3 of our choir just today. Don’t know how to post it though.

  4. Roger, I am indeed sorry for your loss, and for the loss of all who listened to Albert.

    I have sung “How Lovely” many times, often under the direction of my mother when she directed our Episcopal church choir in my youth. You brought back wonderful memories with this post, and I thank you. Also, I have a particular section in my heart… toward the end, there is a peculiar, dissonant chord right before the expansive, How looooooovely, how loooooovely, is thy dwelling place… can’t explain it better than that!

    Go to your dashboard and see if there is an “ins” tab to put in the mp3. Copy and paste the mp3 to your desktop for easiest retrieval. Hope this helps! Amy

  5. Actually, I can post mp3s, but they got compressed in a way that cuts off half the content.

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