Tag Archives: Diana Damrau

Human Requiem

Brahms wrote, Ein Deutsches Requiem (The German Requiem), the most ‘human’ i.e. secular requiem of all requiems. Sacred but non-liturgical set to texts from the Lutheran Bible. Consolation to the living rather than judgement of the dead. About a year ago I went to hear the work at Carnegie Hall. It featured the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, choir, and solists, Diana Damrau (soprano) and Christian Gerhaher (baritone). 7 movements. Brahms mother died in 1865 and The German Requiem was written between 1865 and 1868 so some speculate his great grief inspired the work. Death is a funny thing in that it’s the last thing we all have to do. I recently read an article about the medical community addressing the practical uses of silocybin in hospice care. Expanding ones consciousness via hallucinogens is not a new concept…as a means to alleviate ones anxiety about death seems new. Western thinking seems stuck in an anxiety and fear of death and I can think of no greater consolation than music. The harmonies are exquisite and the choir stands out as much as the soloists, it is a very balanced piece of music. Brahms pays clear reverence to the dead in a loving, gentle, inclusive way. Beauty in the face of death may seem odd but it’s fitting. Paying homage to life requires an acknowledgement of death. We are fragile. Being human we must struggle and fight the dying of the light which the music appropriately conveys. Diana Damrau and Christian Gerhaher were stellar. I love Verdi’s Requiem but this one, not nearly as grand in scope, was a revelation to me in it’s sensitivity. I highly recommend Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem. Thanks for checking in!

P.S. I’m playing tonight at 8PM The Shrine in Harlem 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., NYC Not classical but some original Philip Lynch tunes nonetheless.