program notes by composition > B > Blessed Are They

Blessed Are They

Johannes Brahms/trans. Barbara Buehlman

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) was moved to write A German Requiem for chorus and orchestra by the deaths of his friend Robert Schumann and his mother. The decision to include the word “German” in the title is notable as is his use of German text (drawn from Martin Luther’s translation of the bible) instead of the traditional Latin. While most requiems are writ- ten as a mass for the dead, Brahms intended this piece to serve as consolation for the living. He avoided strict references to redemption through Christ for a non-denominational appeal. In an expression of his intentions, Brahms stated that he could have titled the work, “A Human Requiem.”

Barbara Buehlman scored the first movement of the masterwork for concert band. The title comes from the first movement’s choral text: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. They that go forth and weep, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.”

Barbara Buehlman (1936–1997) earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Northwestern University. She taught in the Round Lake School District for 23 years. Her band arrangements and her method books are widely acclaimed. She became executive administrator of the highly successful Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and served for 14 years. Professional accolades included the Sudler Medal of the Order from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and an honorary doctorate from VanderCook College of Music.

Miss Buehlman was a major force in the modern concert band movement and a trailblazer for women in music education. Working closely with John Paynter, she was business manager, assistant conductor and principal hornist of the Northshore Concert Band . The Palatine Concert Band is well familiar with Barbara Buehlman from the period 1980 to 1985 when she served as our conductor.

Last updated on March 25, 2014 by Palatine Concert Band