An Analysis of Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras from Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem

Faculty Sponsor

Katharina Uhde


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-28-2022


My focus in this research is to inquire into the second movement — of which elements originate from 1854, that is, earlier than the other movements — with the question in mind which aspects of the piece point to Brahms’s 1854 thought- and sound world. In 1854 Brahms was closely connected with Joachim, Clara Schumann, and Robert Schumann. Brahms witnessed Schumanns suicide attempt; moved closer to Clara Schumann, and had deep interaction with Joseph Joachim’s compositions. This research paper explores movement 2 for possible traces that point to the year of 1854. Although we cannot be certain in our assumptions regarding which aspects originate in 1854 — given that no exact documentation survives — this inquiry can still result in useful information, such as what the year of 1854 means in Brahms’s musical language. Other than reflecting on Brahms’s 1854 circle, this paper will also investigate movement 2 for possible similarities to other Brahmsian works from 1854.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Johannes Brahms, (born May 7, 1833, Hamburg [Germany]—died April 3, 1897, Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now in Austria]), German composer and pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote symphonies, concerti, chamber music, piano works, choral compositions, and more than 200 songs. A German Requiem, to Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 by Johannes Brahms, is a large-scale work for chorus, orchestra, a soprano and a baritone soloist, composed between 1865 and 1868. It comprises seven movements, which together last 65 to 80 minutes, making this work Brahms's longest composition.

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