Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Germ Of "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras"

... "Schumann encouraged Brahms to write in the grand forms of the great Classical composers in order to continue the revered traditions of Mozart and Beethoven that Schumann believed were being swept away by the flood of meretricious music created by the legion of third-rate composers, now long forgotten, of the mid-19th century. Brahms began a symphony the year after Schumann's death with a view toward fulfilling his charge, but that project did not result in its intended aim. Though Brahms abandoned the symphony, he used the music of the opening movement in his first orchestral work, the D minor Piano Concerto. The slow movement of the Symphony was resurrected as a choral work in 1861 and provided with the text, "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras"; it served as the germ from which A German Requiem grew. It is possible that Brahms may have been influenced in this transformation by an idea credited to Schumann, one that he did not live to realize — the writing of a work of the Requiem type based on a German text rather than on the traditional Latin liturgy of the ancient Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead. With a view towards erecting a musical monument to Schumann, Brahms assembled a text appropriate to such a composition from the Lutheran Bible in 1861, but that memorial then laid dormant for several years." ...

© Dr. Richard E. Rodda for the National Symphony Orchestra and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2009. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved.


Full German text and English translation (with biblical citations) of Ein Deutsches Requiem


Photo credit: © Bettmann/CORBIS

John F. Kennedy Jr. Saluting His Father's Casket

"John F. Kennedy Jr., who turns three today, salutes as the casket of his father, the late President John F. Kennedy, is carried from St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC."

Image: © Bettmann/CORBIS
Collection: Bettmann
Standard RM
Photographer: Stan Stearns
Date Photographed: November 25, 1963
Location Information: Washington, DC, USA


Post a Comment

<< Home