The early Beethoven, the late Haydn… Where is the borderline between these 2 – what is the connection, what differentiates them? Although their ways of life & characters were clearly different, both masters lived in a time during which it was as important to obey the prescribed musical rules as it was to connect the artists intellect with his creativity, personality, & emotional world.
Herbert von Karajan also often confronted himself with spiritual music. Especially the Mozart, Verdi and Brahms Requiem were always performed in the utmost quality, whereas before all else Verdi's Messa di Requiem demands excellent opera voices.
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.
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.
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.
Between 1961 and 1986, Herbert von Karajan made three recordings of the Mozart Requiem for Deutsche Grammophon, with little change in his conception of the piece over the years. This recording, from 1975, is, on balance, the best of them. The approach is Romantic, broad, and sustained, marked by a thoroughly homogenized blend of chorus and orchestra, a remarkable richness of tone, striking power, and an almost marmoreal polish. Karajan viewed the Requiem as idealized church music rather than a confessional statement awash in operatic expressiveness. In this account, the orchestra is paramount, followed in importance by the chorus, then the soloists. Not surprisingly, the singing of the solo quartet sounds somewhat reined-in, especially considering these singers' pedigrees. By contrast, the Vienna Singverein, always Karajan's favorite chorus, sings with a huge dynamic range and great intensity, though with an emotional detachment nonetheless. Perfection, if not passion or poignancy, is the watchword. The Berlin orchestra plays majestically, and the sound is pleasingly vivid.