Brahms’s A German Requiem
Title Details

510 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

15 b/w. 41 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Brahms's A German Requiem

Reconsidering Its Biblical, Historical, and Musical Contexts

by R. Allen Lott

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Examines in detail the contexts of Brahms's masterpiece and demonstrates that, contrary to recent consensus, it was performed and received as an inherently Christian work during the composer's life.
Despite its entirely biblical text, Brahms's long-beloved A German Requiem is now widely considered a work in which the composer espoused a theologically universal view. R. Allen Lott's comprehensive reconsideration of the work's various contexts challenges that prevailing interpretation and demonstrates that in its early years the Requiem was regarded as a traditional Christian work.

Brahms's "A German Requiem" systematically documents, for the first time, the early performance history and critical reception of this masterful work. A German Requiem was effortlessly incorporated into traditional Christian observances, and reviews of these performances and other appraisals by respected critics and scholars consistently deemed that the work possessed not only a Christian perspective, but a specifically Protestant one.

A discussion of the musical traditions used by Brahms demonstrates how the work is imbued with the language of Lutheran church music through references to chorales and through allusions to preceding masterworks by Schütz, Bach, Mendelssohn, and others.

Lott also offers an insightful exegesis of the Bible verses that Brahms selected. Altogether, this richly detailed study leads to a thorough reappraisal of Brahms's masterpiece.
Opening Statement
Interpretive Principles
Biblical Contexts
Contemporaneous Assessments
Early Performances
Musical Traditions
Closing Statement

R. ALLEN LOTT is Professor of Music History in the School of Church Music and Worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

"This is an engaging, well researched, and provocative examination of one of the most revered works of the choral-orchestral canon. It is not only beautifully written and meticulously documented, but also compelling in its portrayal of Brahms's German Requiem as a work that did not avoid specifically Christian theological perspectives, as is often suggested, but rather avowedly engaged with a consciously Lutheran approach to death, loss, and redemption through Christ. Lott's investigation also sheds new light on the work's stylistic allusions to other sacred music, including works by J.S. Bach, Cherubini, Handel, Mendelssohn, and Robert Schumann." John Michael Cooper, professor of music history, Southwestern University
"Without a doubt, R. Allen Lott has proved his case. In this thoroughly researched and extensively
documented study, Lott has...shown clearly that the preponderance of evidence proves that the Requiem was intended and understood as a Christian work,...[not] as a universal, multireligious, and secular-humanist piece. A monumental work of research; the world of Brahms scholarship cannot afford to ignore it." American Organist

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9781580469869

May 2020

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Title Details

510 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

15 b/w. 41 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press