Brahms Requiem and Richard Strauss Premiere at the Philharmonie Berlin Photo: BOC Plakat

Brahms Requiem and Richard Strauss Premiere at the Philharmonie Berlin

Contact Data

Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1
10785 Berlin


On November 3, 2021 at 8 pm, the Berlin Oratorien Choir (BOC) will perform "Ein deutsches Requiem" by Johannes Brahms at the Philharmonie Berlin as part of its traditional fall concert. In addition, the work "Besinnung," a setting of Hermann Hesse's poem of the same name (1933), begun by Richard Strauss and now completed by BOC conductor and composer Thomas Hennig, will celebrate its world premiere.

The evening will be performed by the Berlin Oratorien Choir together with the Apollo Choir of the Staatsoper (rehearsal: Artur Just), the Young Voices of the Max Delbrück Gymnasium (rehearsal: Franziska Günther) and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Hennig. The solo parts will be performed by Yvonne Friedli (soprano) and Artur Just (baritone).

Tickets starting at 15 euros (plus additional costs, if applicable) are available via the BOC website, at the known advance booking offices, Ticketmaster and Eventim, as well as at the Philharmonie's guest box office. Pupils and students pay 10 euros at the box office upon presentation of proof. The current hygiene regulations of the Philharmonie Berlin apply (3-G proof, AHA rules, contact tracking).

On the genesis and completion of the "Besinnung
Originally, the world premiere of Richard Strauss' "Besinnung" was already scheduled for November 2020. The work for choir and orchestra was completed that year by Thomas Hennig with the permission and kind support of the Strauss family. The concert, along with other works by Strauss and Braunfels, was intended to musically reflect the upheavals Europe experienced in the 20th century.

Richard Strauss had announced his departure as a composer in August 1941, intending to compose only occasionally and without ambitious intentions. He himself described his late works as 'wrist exercises'. This understatement, however, does not do justice to the extraordinary genius of the late output, as the Oboe Concerto and the Metamorphoses demonstrate. In the last years of his life, the composer turned very intensively to the poetic works of Herrmann Hesse. In addition to three poem settings, which were combined in a cycle after the composer's death as "Vier letzte Lieder", there is another unfinished song for soprano and (probably) orchestra entitled "Nacht," which could not be completed.

Strauss left extensive sketches for "Besinnung," which have survived in two notebooks. In a second work step, he had transferred the first sketches into a particell, an extended piano score, which was intended as the basis for the score fair copy. A further collection of the fugue elaboration in the particell has also survived. Strauss was no longer able to complete the sketches and begin the final work for the completion of the score. The plan remained a fragment.
In an effort to trace the musical ideas, Thomas Hennig has attempted to build bridges between the finished and nearly finished parts of the work in each case, so that a circle is closed that can make a performance possible.
Strauss took up various other compositional plans in the last years of his life and unfortunately was not able to complete them. However, the "Besinnung" as the last musical conception belongs to the immediate legacy of a life's work, which in the end also concludes an era.

The Berlin Oratorien Choir - one of the oldest lay choirs in the city
Founded in 1904 as the "Berliner Volks-Chor", the Berlin Oratorien Choir has a firm place in the concert life of the capital. It has made it its business to perform both popular and still lesser-known works of choral symphony music. Thus, regular, self-organized performances take place in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and the Konzerthaus Berlin - in addition to numerous collaborations and guest appearances. Between 1958 and 2008, the choir established itself in Berlin's musical life under the direction of Gert Sell and was honored in 2004 with the Zelter Plaque for the cultivation of choral music. In 2008 Thomas Hennig took over the artistic direction. With innovatively designed programs and high artistic standards, the choir remains a pioneering institution. The choir consists of about 80 active members from a wide variety of backgrounds and generations.



Additional Info

Additional Info

Corona Prevention: current Philharmonic hygiene rules apply (3-G proof, AHA rules, contact tracking)


Berlin, Brahms, Chorkonzert, Klassik, Kultur, Strauss, Uraufführung