Ein Deutsches Requiem
A darkly glowing voice pervades to our ears as if from another world, full of hope in its burning confidence and yet opaque with dissonances as if they were stabs directly to the heart: “Blessed are they who suffer sorrow, for they shall be comforted”. The German Requiem of Johannes Brahms already had an overwhelming effect on Clara Schumann: “It is a hugely powerful piece and grips the whole listener like little else. Its deep earnest combined with the magic of poetry has a wonderful effect, shattering and yet soothing”. Brahms sought to overcome all boundaries of religions and confessions and nations with this composition, from the title of which, he himself confessed, he would ”have much liked to omit the word ‘German’ and to put ‘human’ in its place”..
When for his ballet première b.09 Martin Schläpfer announced that he would present a world première choreography to the Brahms composition, nobody could really anticipate how very much, in the hands of the Ballett am Rhein director, the work was suited to be the basis of a full-length ballet evening. Today not only its success with Press and public, but also a large-scale film for the 3sat programme of the Second German Television station and the award of “DER FAUST”, the most important German theatre prize, for the year 2012, bear testimony to the significance of this production, which harnesses all sectors of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein company. “With great sensitivity Schläpfer traces behind the firm foundation of the earnest music a gleaming hope of life, and at the same time remains fully attuned with Axel Kober’s no less sensitive reading of the score. An evening at Deutsche Oper am Rhein which is felicitous in every respect”, wrote Pedro Obiera in the “Neue Rhein Zeitung” – and in the “Frankfurter Rundschau” Sylvia Staude enthused: “A spectacular first night”.
In Florian Etti’s setting choir and orchestra preside over the action as if sitting in celestial judgment, and at the same time recall the chorus of a Greek tragedy – admonishing, commenting, imploring. By means of dance, the most physical and yet most fleeting of stage categories, Martin Schläpfer applies himself to an intense search and enquiry into the last questions of human existence, knowing the while that a comprehensive answer cannot be, and in his quest penetrates into those cracks and fissures of life which lay open things far beyond the case in hand, and more: as Dorion Weickmann wrote in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, he “gains the power to redeem for the ‘Requiem’ through dance what Brahms had intended with his score, the quality of a reassuring liturgy of creation beyond mourning, which neither blandishes nor condemns the demon of death, but looks it in the face and wins life itself out of the act of encompassing it”. ***
EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM
“Ein Deutsches Requiem” to words from the Bible for soprano, baritone, four-part choir and orchestra, op.45 by Johannes Brahms