"human requiem" by Berlin Radio Choir

  • country:Germany
  • region:Berlin
  • style(s):Classical Music
  • label:Warner, Sony, BPhil Media, PentaTone, Coviello, Carus
  • type:Large Ensemble
  • instrumentation:vocal, a cappella
  • artist submitted by:Berlin Radio Choir

Line up

  • Berlin Radio Choir (Choir)


“How do you go back to ‘normal’ life after such a performance?”
“A lifetime experience” – In this special adaptation of Brahms’s requiem the public is no longer sitting in front of the sound but right in the middle of it. Like a mobile, the voices move around the listeners, who, on their part, can move freely within the space. Brahms appropriately remarked that his ‘German’ requiem could easily be referred to as a ‘human’ requiem. Hell and damnation meant very little to Brahms. So he left the classical Latin mass of the dead and gathered a selection of biblical texts himself. Brahms wanted to offer his listeners an opportunity to come to terms with their own mortality and finally find peace in the here and now – amidst our equally mortal fellow human beings. In this realization, Brahms’s idea becomes tangible, corporeal, spatial and intensely personal. A complete experience.

With its “human requiem” the three-time Grammy-winning Berlin Radio Choir together with Jochen Sandig and a team from Sasha Waltz & Guests entered a whole new dimension, tearing down the division between the spaces for stage and audience at Berlin's Radialsystem V.

Following consistently successful revivals of the production, thereunder in the future plaza of the Elbphilharmonie as well as in Paris, Granada and Amsterdam, international guest appearances follow this year in Hong Kong, Brussels, Athens and New York.

Through its series “Broadening the Scope of Choral Music” Berlin Radio Choir is opening up new forms of presenting and new modes of experiencing music. It collaborates with noted artists from various disciplines who are invited to rethink, redefine and fully tap the potential of the choral medium.


“It was a lifetime experience. The performance became ever more beautiful as it progressed and culminated in the consolation felt both individually and privately, but shared with the choir and spectators, in a moment that we did not want to end.”
Audience reaction via e-mail (Granada)

“How do you go back to ‘normal’ life after such a performance? Thank you for the moving moments, wonderfully close, for the clear voices and for a staging filled with stunning images.”
Audience reaction via Facebook (Berlin)

“When the singers individually sweep past audience members, touch them and get them to sense their corporeality, one hears that single voice with special clarity. Suddenly the texture of the work glows in a way never heard before.“
Der Tagesspiegel, 13 Feb. 2012

“A unique concert, because it was a completely different kind of experience, constantly surprising, consoling, touching.“
Focus online, 29 Sept. 2012


What the nominator wrote:

I attend a concert or any other cultural activity many times in order to be surprised and shaken. Some other times you just want a straight forward musical experience that celebrates accomplishments of past centuries. However when a project is able to surprise you and reinvent your experience with a beloved classic, both experiences recombine and create something new that cannot be ignored. Rundfunkchor Berlin's reinterpretation of Brahms' Requiem is an experience that highlights the power of its music stripping it down to its most essential elements. As an audience member you cannot help but be touched spiritually and sonically by this wonderful reinterpretation of a most traditional musical piece.

A production of the Rundfunkchor Berlin in cooperation with Sasha Waltz & Guests and Radialsystem V.