I took a different approach to this project than any of my other work thus far. I sought to document my process, both by writing reflections on each movement as I studied Brahms’ work and the biblical texts and by photographing myself as I made the work. I read biographies and listened to audio courses about Brahms. I read critiques of the Requiem, looked at its musical analysis and considered the score. I made a web diagram of each movement, asking questions and jotting down the trains of thought that popped into my mind. And of course, I put the brush to canvas and ink to paper, seeking to synthesize all of the information I had gathered into a reflection of the beauty I was accumulating in my soul as a result of studying this magnificent work.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in this process, it is that this work is still as deeply relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1868. The human soul is still marked by the same questions about the frailness of life, the fear of death, and the presence of suffering.