Herbert von Karajan conducted Brahms's choral masterpiece frequently throughout his long career, but only once on film and with both of these outstanding soloists. This unique document from the 1978 Salzburg Easter Festival was acclaimed by Diapason as "a magical interpretation, prodigiously realized … with a sublime fusion of timbres, a cohesion and, ultimately, a simplicity that are truly unequalled."
Among the major choral-orchestral works of the 19th century, Sir Roger Norrington and his former Orchestra, the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, have tackled over the years, now finally comes Brahms' "German Requiem." one of the most beautiful and popular sacred music works in the repertoire. Brahms’ contemporaries, including his close friend Clara Schumann were moved with the score and were enthusiastic about it - and it has been a favorite with the general public ever since. Although Biblical texts are used, the piece is not in the standard church-liturgical tradition. It was Brahms‘personal response to "those who mourn"! The central idea of this masterpiece is the reality of human existence. It is precisely this „earthly character“ that Roger Norrington uses to shape his interpretation emphasizing the grave beautify of the music and not religious awe; in this, Norrington draws us close to the composer’s intentions. He is ably supported by soprano soloist Christina Landshamer, basso Florian Boesch, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart and the NDR.
For too long a gap in the Brilliant Classics catalogue,we are happy to present a superb recording of Brahms’ sacred masterwork, Ein deutsches Requiem. Brahms’ Requiem, written in German and presenting bible texts selected by Brahms himself, was composed after the death of Brahms’ mother, a shattering experience for him. The dark aspects of Death are relieved by music of great tenderness and intimacy.
Celebrating 80 years of vigorous artistic life with Brahms’ expansive and consoling mass for the dead, Ein deutsches Requiem, the hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) under its Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi, is joined by soprano Natalie Dessay, baritone Ludovic Tézier and the Swedish Radio Choir in an interpretation described as “exemplary” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
This is a rather brisk reading of Brahms' masterpiece, the most ambitious work in his output, one of the greatest compositions of its type. When I listen to this piece, I often sit numb, in awe of its profound beauty, of its emotional range and intellectual depth. I hadn't heard it for some time, so this recording occasioned a most welcome reacquaintance. Though Herreweghe's tempos often pushed the music to its limits here (except for the first section), the performance never actually sounded fast, or at least not offensively fast. In fact, it challenges my previous favorite, the Levine/RCA.
This account of the German Requiem really is one of the great recordings of the century. Even today, Otto Klemperer's monumental interpretation with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, recorded in 1961, remains unmatched among readings that emphasize the spirituality of the score. Sober and sustained, but not unduly slow, it places Brahms on the continuum of German sacred music going back through Beethoven to Handel, Bach, and Schütz.
Everything about this dvd has to be greatly admired. The sound captured on the recording is pristine (with the exception of the audience coughing in between the movements) and well balanced. The video direction and cinematography (if such a word is appropriate) is engaging and gorgeous, never indulging in unnecessary visual elements.