And one thing that really annoys me, as one of the procrastinators of the world, is that all kinds of sites have program notes and essays about this piece, and they give you the exact same bit of tiny information.
"A German Requiem is unified compositionally by a three-note motif of a leap of a major third, usually followed by a half-step in the same direction. The first exposed choral entry presents the motif in the soprano voice (F–A–B♭). This motif pervades every movement and much of the thematic material in the piece." (via the Wikipedia article)
Well, that's very nice, but where else is it? Nobody will say. Some of us are preparing at the last minute here! How about throwing us a bone? Where else does this motive show up? Nope, everyone seems to have just cribbed from the Wikipedia article. (Like I wanted to do, except there's not enough info!)
So HERE, for anyone ELSE preparing a lecture last minute on the Brahms' Requiem, are some other places that the motive of a rising major third followed by a rising half-step occurs.
Movement 3, m. 164, if you put the bass and tenor lines together, on the words "I hope"
Movement 3, m. 173, the beginning of the fugue subject (the tenors have it first) on the words "The righteous souls" (actually just "the right--") and of course whenever else the fugue subject comes in
Movement 4, m. 4-5, the first three notes of the soprano melody, on the words "How lovely", and whenever else the melody reoccurs.
Movement 6, m. 208, the first three notes of the fugue subject (the altos have it first) are this motive in reverse (descending half step followed by a descending major third) on the words "Lord, you are worthy." Provides kind of a nice contrast to the corresponding fugue in Movement 3.
Movement 7 obviously reincorporates the material from Movement 1.
This is just after a 10-minute glance through the choral score. Anyone have any other points where this motive occurs? Want to argue that Brahms used an inversion of it somewhere? Leave a comment! Help the future procrastinating music lecturers of the world!