Brahms “Triumphlied”

MarekZebrowski-PoznanPhil-2.jpg.w300h200The Brahms Triumphlied – In its most ambitious project yet, the L.A. Musical Salon commissioned a chamber music transcription of the rare Brahms Triumphlied from talented composer, concert pianist and chamber musician Marek Zebrowski.

To listen to the 1st movement of the Brahms Triumphlied transcribed for piano quintet with double bass, as recorded live at the premiere by Marek Zebrowski and the Upstream Ensemble at the L.A. Musical Salon on May 19, 2012 (1st movement approx. 8 minutes; entire three-movement piece runs approx. 25 minutes), click BrahmsTriumphlied1stMvmtAudio

The Triumphlied is a majestic work scored for double chorus, baritone solo and large orchestra with the ad libitum organ part.  Completed in 1871, it was published in 1872 and premiered on June 5, 1872, in Karlsruhe, Germany. With its militaristic mien—dotted rhythms and wind fanfares dominating the three-movement work—Triumphlied celebrates the German victory at the battle of Sedan in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

Brahms, who was not a particularly religious person, selected text for the chorus from the 19th Chapter of the Book of Revelation, celebrating the fall of Babylon.  The work is dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.

Brahms’ fondness for Baroque music is clearly evident in this piece, with numerous motivic resemblances to Handel’s Messiah and Te Deum.

It was a challenge for Mr. Zebrowski to even locate a copy of the score of the Triumphlied within the United States, and when one was finally obtained after several months, it turned out to be an original 19th century score that could not be released to him because of its rarity—although he was permitted to take a copy of it to work from.

Mr. Zebrowski decided to score the piece for the same instrumentation as Franz Schubert’s beloved Piano Quintet in A Major (The Trout):  piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.  This new work is a welcome addition to the repertoire for this fairly unusual chamber music instrumentation.

This was a three-year project, for which funding was generously provided by a multi-year grant from The Westwood Endowment.

The L.A. Musical Salon was proud to present a sneak preview of the first movement of this new chamber music piece as a work-in-progress at its February 6, 2010 concert. The completed work was premiered in our 2012 season, at the final concert of the season on May 19—to read the press release for that premiere, click PressRelease-BrahmsTriumphlied-2012-5-10.

The score is available for purchase at our online store. For more info, email info at or call 310-470-0770.