2012.02.16 Royal Festival Hall, London: Simon replaced by Thomas Hampson

Ein Deutsches Requiem

16 February 2012

Royal Festival Hall, London

Christoph von Dohnányi conductor
Susan Gritton soprano
Thomas Hampson baritone (replacing ill Simon Keenlyside)
Philharmonia Chorus
Philharmonia Orchestra

Beethoven Symphony No. 4
A German Requiem

Brahms first considered writing a Requiem Mass after the death of his close friend Robert Schumann, but was only catapulted into its composition a decade later after the death of his mother caused him inconsolable grief. He completed his tribute to her four years later with a mass unlike any conventional Requiem. Ein deutsches Requiem sets sections of Luther’s translation of the Bible, dwelling far more on the hope of the resurrection than on the fear of Judgement Day. The first movement, ‘Blessed are they that mourn’, consoles those that remain on Earth with achingly beautiful suspensions from the chorus; the work moves through divinely beautiful music to the dramatic highlight of Brahms’s tone-painting of the resurrection of the dead. Yet the work ends back on an earthly level, a reminder that we cannot know what awaits us.

This concert is part of the Philharmonia’s series “The still point of the turning world”: Music that defines an era

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