»Ein deutsches Requiem«
Rediscover the familiar: Together with Jochen Sandig and a team of the dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests Rundfunkchor Berlin stages a choreographed version of Brahms’ Requiem.
The division between the spaces for stage and audience is dissolved, the listening public does no longer sit in front of the sound but instead right in the middle of it, creating a new set of interrelationships between the text, the actual bodies of performers and listeners, the space and the sound. In Rundfunkchor Berlin’s most recent scenic »Broadening« project, Jochen Sandig has realized his dream to create a choreographic »physicalization« of Johannes Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem. Following consistently sold-out performances and revivals of the production, thereunder in Paris, Brussesls, Athens and Hongkong, international guest appearances will follow at White Light Festival in New York in October as well as fife times in Berlin in May 2017.
The Brahms Requiem is not a mass for the dead, which is why the text is not that of the Catholic liturgy. It seeks to offer comfort to the living. Its subject is coming to terms with our mortality, the meaning of death and mourning, but also overcoming them – it remains focussed on life.
Within the community of singers and listeners this message becomes a space-filling and personal event: a “human requiem”. In an oft-cited letter to the conductor Carl Reinthaler, Brahms wrote in 1867: “As regards the text, I must confess that I would gladly leave off the ‘German’ and replace it simply with ‘human’.”
The Brahms Requiem is a permanent fixture in Berlin Radio Choir’s core repertoire. Its CD recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle won the 2008 Grammy for “Best Choral Recording”, the first of three Grammys in four years. In the performances of “human requiem” the work is heard in the version for soloists, mixed chorus and piano four hands. Through its series Broadening the Scope of Choral Music Berlin Radio Choir is opening up new forms of presenting and new modes of experiencing choral music. It collaborates with noted artists from various disciplines who are invited to rethink, redefine and fully tap the potential of the choral medium.