- Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
- Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
- Audio CD (5 Mar. 2007)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Live
- Label: EMI
- ASIN: B000MTEDIE
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,750 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem Live
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RATTLE SIMON / BERLIN P. O.
Brahms was in his forties before he completed his first symphony, and goodness knows what other symphonic achievements he might have had, had he not been cowered into silence by the ghost of Beethoven for so many years. Lucky for us, though, that he wasn't similarly scared off writing large choral works. It is extraordinary to think that this Requiem was his first major composition, written when he was only in his thirties, such is its physical and emotional magnitude. Happily, on the whole, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Radio Choir have done it justice with an arresting and powerful recording.
Brahms claimed he could have named this his Human Requiem, with its focus on comforting the living, and this is particularly apt for the first movement. The music comforts, calms, suggests hope, whilst still acknowledging the tragedy of death, and under Simon Rattle's baton the choir and orchestra have got to the heart of it; they bring out all the nuances of emotion, and one feels they really understand it. Strangely, however, the second movement Denn alles Fleisch, es wie in Gras proves to be the one blip in the performance. Whatever connection the performers felt in the previous movement has gone and, despite the drama in the score, it sounds almost one-dimensional. Thank goodness, then, for the baritone Thomas Quasthoff's soulful Herr, lehre doch mich. The chorus and orchestra take his lead, and they keep up the emotional momentum through the balming Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen. There is more soloist pleasure to be had in the exquisite "Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit"; the fact that Brahms was prompted to write the Requiem upon the death of his mother adds especial importance to this fifth movement, as it is only here that a mother's comfort is explicitly referred to. Dorothea Roschmann's beautiful, rich soprano voice delivers the impassioned tenderness the listener craves. The sense of connection between musicians and music continues for the remainder of the Requiem so, all in all, this is a great performance and I think we can forgive Rattle his second movement wobble. --Charlotte Gardner
Top Customer Reviews
Like his recent Schubert Great C Major, this is in many ways an old fashioned performance. Tempi are broader than we get from more `authentic' modernists like John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington and the like, textures are richer and warmer, it comes through as an altogether grander work. Brahms determined to write a very untraditional Requiem, not just in his choice of texts but in his focus on the bereaved who are left behind rather than the traditional prayers for the dead themselves. It was, after all, written soon after his mother's death and the central movement, `Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit', is a tender and moving memorial to her. Rattle reflects this humanity in his performance: it is perhaps the most humanist German Requiem since Kempe's wonderful performance with the same orchestra.
I don't want to leave the impression that this is an over-sombre, stodgy performance, though. Far from it. Those moments when the clouds clear and the sun comes out and the music starts to stir with life, movement and liveliness suit Rattle's ability to lift and energise a rhythm well. The fourth movement becomes almost a lilting waltz at times, a heavenly dance if you like.Read more ›
Rundfunkchor Berlin is singing with an outstanding perfection where every syllable is heard. Berliner Philharmoniker is the perfect orchestra for this with it's classical heritage.
Among the soloists I would like to mention Quasthoff, his voice is carrying the message right to the heart.
I have not heard every recording of this work (who has?), including the Klemperer recording which many regard as the touchstone recording. However, I have three other recordings (Gardiner, Kempe and Ansermet) with which to make a comparison with Rattle's recording.
To start with positives. I think that Rattle gave the work a wonderfully flowing performance. I do not find it at all stodgy. I think that the tempi chosen are sound. Overall, he takes just two minutes longer than Gardiner and on some movements, he is swifter. The performance also reveals plenty of fascinating orchestral details I did not hear in other recordings. So many times in the recording, I was truly transported by the gorgeous noises emanating from my loudspeakers. The choir too, produce an excellent sound. They make it sound so easy (and believe me, it is not an easy sing). I don't think that the singers themselves are quite as good as the ones Gardiner has in the Monteverdi Choir but that is a minor quibble. I like also Thomas Quastoff's solo passages. His diction is superb and I like the quality of his voice. It is a performance which is cool rather than emotional and dramatic but this is not necessarily a criticism.
However, I did tend to find that the overall performance was rather cool at times and I did feel that the search for a flowing style did rob the dramatic bits of a bit of Old Testament fury. I also had some issues with Dorothea Roshmann's soprano solo.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An exquisite recording. Have not stopped playing it since I got it!Published 3 months ago by Simmie
Lovely production. Thoroughly enjoyable. Bought because I am singing it in May and this was in German and the words are quite clear. Very pleased.Published 10 months ago by L. J. Hardy
Unless you live in the Age of Pericles, Zeitgeist sucks. What does it mean in our current age? Don't exclude anyone - not even Joe Dirt. Keep everything visible and within reach. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon
I first heard Ein Deutsches Requiem at the Salzburg Festival with Christian Tielemann and was completely overwhelmed by the power of this piece and wanted a CD. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Rex
This is a magnificent work but somehow, did not move me and I do like to be moved - best wishes.Published on 21 Aug. 2013 by H. R. Bennett