Blessed Are They

From Wind Repertory Project
Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms (trans. Barbara Buehlman)

Subtitle: From A German Requiem

General Info

Year: 1868 / 1970
Duration: c. 6:05
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $55.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Suspended Cymbal


In score and parts:

  • Trombone I, m.14: First note should be an E-flat (tied from previous measure)
  • Trombone I-II, m.78: Last note should be a B-Flat

In parts:

  • Trombone III, m.78: Last note should be a B-flat

Program Notes

A German Requiem is considered Brahms’ greatest vocal work. It was premiered on Good Friday, April 10, 1868, at the Cathedral Church in Bremen, Germany. Brahms had to receive special permission to perform the piece because it “contained no explicit reference to Christ and scrupulously avoided an exposition of doctrinal theology.” Regardless, the public immediately accepted the piece and its performance became an annual event at the cathedral. Critics claimed it uplifted them “both spiritually and aesthetically.” Brahms' German Requiem differs from the standard Roman Catholic requiem mass by offering a message of “assurance and hope to the living.”

A characteristic of Brahms was his laboring over a score even after it has been finished. In fact, Part V of the Requiem was not even included in the original score but later added. The Requiem “evolved through nearly a decade of painstaking composition and revision.” The opening of the Requiem is an affirmation, as opposed to the typical requiem opening with a plea. The Roman Catholic requiem mass opened by bringing our attention in honoring the dead, but Brahms opens his work by seeking to comfort the living and to offer solace and hope to those who have lost loved ones. The text was selected from Luther’s translation of the Bible and Part I reads as follows:

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. They who go forth and weep, and bear precious seed, shall come again with rejoicing and bring their sheaves with them. – Psalm 126:5-6

Part I, the prelude of Brahms' Requiem, was used by Barbara Buehlman for Blessed Are They. This arrangement for band was published in 1970.

- Program Note by Anthony Johnny

Johannes Brahms was not a religious man in the usual sense of the term. Thus, it should be of no surprise that when he wrote the German Requiem, it did not follow the prescribed five movement form of the traditional requiem mass based on biblical texts, but instead contained seven movements. The work was premiered in the Bremen Cathedral on Good Friday, 1868. The German Requiem marked the first time that Brahms combined orchestra with chorus and soloists. It is considered to be his choral masterwork. While the style is unabashedly romantic, the form is clearly influenced by Handel and reflects Brahms’ intensive study of earlier masters.

Blessed Are They is the first movement of the German Requiem. The original version pairs the chorus with the orchestra to create a heavy, somber mood.

- Program Note from Appalachian State University Concert Band concert program, 25 April 2016


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Arkansas: III
  • California: III Class C
  • Florida: IV
  • Georgia: V
  • Iowa: III
  • Louisiana: III
  • Michigan: Senior High B
  • Minnesota: II
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • North Carolina: V
  • Oklahoma: III-A
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Tennessee: III. Complete
  • Texas: III. Complete
  • Virginia: III


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Smith College (Northampton, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Meghan MacFadden, conductor) - 4 December 2023
  • University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls) Symphonic Band (Justin J. Mertz, conductor) - 21 September 2023
  • Clarke University (Dubuque, Iowa) Wind Ensemble/Julien Winds (Rob Stull, conductor) - 23 April 2023
  • Georgia State University (Atlanta) Symphonic Wind Orchestra (Douglas Tiller, conductor) - 27 February 2023
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Honor Wind Symphony (Ricky Fleming, conductor) - 22 January 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) -- 21 October 2022
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Daniel Lee, conductor) - 12 October 2022
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (Michael Hudson, conductor) - 18 September 2022
  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Wind Ensemble (Denny Hawkins, conductor) - 10 February 2022
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) (Imran Amarshi, conductor) - 27 February 2022
  • Iowa State University (Ames) Wind Ensemble (Michael Gokemo, conductor) - 23 April 2021
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Sooner Campus Band (Brian Wolfe, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • Illinois Valley Central High School (Chillicothe) Wind Ensemble (Matthew J. Chapman, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) Concert Band (Emmanuel Rodriguez, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • LaVilla School of the Performing Arts (Jacksonville, Fla.) Band (Ann Adams, conductor) – 20 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southern Division Conference, Natchitoches, La.)
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Wind Symphony (Jamal Duncan, conductor) – 25 November 2019
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert Band (Beverly Taylor, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Oklahoma City (Okla.) University Wind Philharmonic (Tyler Stone, conductor) – 7 November 2019
  • State University of New York Potsdam Concert Band (William L. Lake, Jr.)– 10 October 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 26 September 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Brahms, J.; Buehlman, B. [1970]. Blessed Are They: From a German Requiem [score]. Ludwig Music: Cleveland, Ohio.
  • A German Requiem (Brahms), Wikipedia
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 279-285.