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  • Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem [IMPORT]
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Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem [IMPORT] Original recording remastered


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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Ziemlich langsam - Selig sind, die da Leid tragenElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid10:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Langsam, marschmäßig - Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie GrasElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid14:32Album Only
Listen  3. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Andante moderato - Herr, lehre doch michElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid 9:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Mäßig bewegt - Wie lieblich sind deine WohnungenElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid 5:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Langsam - Ihr habt nun TraurigkeitElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid 6:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Andante - Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende StattElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid11:46Album Only
Listen  7. Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1997 Digital Remaster): Feierlich - Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterbenElisabeth Schwarzkopf/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Philharmonia Chorus/Philharmonia Orchestra/Ralph Downes/Otto Klemperer/Reinhold Schmid10:14Album Only

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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. Drawing committed playing and singing from his forces, Klemperer opens the door to the beauties of the music without fuss or fanfare. Both soloists are exemplary: Schwarzkopf's expressive portamento now sounds a bit dated in style, but her singing is characterful, while Fischer-Dieskau is a paragon of restrained expressiveness. The singing of the Philharmonia Chorus is especially beautiful. EMI has done a superior job of remastering the original recording. Balances and tone quality are quite fine, and the spacious Kingsway Hall ambience conveys with lifelike immediacy. Compared with previous CD incarnations, there is new depth to the image and better resolution of detail--the weight of the organ can really be felt, as can the timpani strokes in "Denn alles fleisch es ist wie gras," and one finds greater presence and definition in the chorus and considerably more richness of tone in the orchestra. There is still some distortion in the climactic moments; for example, what sounds like tape saturation frizzes a couple of the big Beethovenian choral proclamations at the end of "Denn alles fleisch es ist wie gras." Such things are but a small blemish on what is an absolutely ravishing restoration of one of the most valuable recordings of the stereo era. --Ted Libbey

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Amazon.com: 36 reviews
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Yeah! A performance worthy of the music! 17 Dec. 1999
By Gregory M. Zinkl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Everything Mr. Libbey says in his review I totally agree with. My only issue is with Schwarzkopf's singing, which, while lovely, I prefer a more ethereal sound--I prefer that the voice during the apex of the arching vocal lines "projects" into infinity. Gardiner's soloist attains this otherworldliness, if memory serves.
Given that one minor exception, I am very pleased to have finally listened to, and own, this recording. After hearing so many recordings whose performances fall short--whether by the big shots or the unknowns--this one has done it all for me. This recording has earned its stripes as a recording of the century--a title Gardiner's try could have had (or tied for) if his orchestra had been something a little less scrawny and weak. How can you reasonably expect the fury of the 6th movement to project without an orchestra that has the power of the Philharmonia strings in top form? Which gives another chance to plug the Philharmonia's playing--angelic. From the violas and celli who carry the burden of the string writing in I, to the brass (II and VI are notable for even more exceptional, powerful playing) and finally to the woodwinds, characterful and sensitive in every solo. Klemperer's tempi are slow (of course), but his climaxes are overwhelming, and he is appropriately gentle when the music calls for it. All in all...a great recording and performance!
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Klemperer's German Requiem 18 Jan. 2005
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have been listening to Brahms's German Requiem to commemorate the death of a parent of a dear friend. This beloved work received its first performances in 1868 and 1869. Its immediate inspiration was the death of Brahms's mother and, probably, the death of Robert Schumann as well. Although many view Brahms as a conservative composer, the spiritual message of this work is distinctly modern. In writing his Requiem, Brahms eschewed traditional religous doctrines, creeds, and texts. Instead, he chose passages from the Bible (Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha) that emphasized a sense of the mystery of life, the fragility of life and inevitability of death, the hope for the future, and the value of patience and endurance. The German Requiem gives a sense of spirituality in a secular age. Brahms himself saw his work as a "human" rather than as merely a German requiem. Malcolm Macdonald, in his 1990 book, "Brahms", has aptly captured much of the spirit of this music when he describes it as showing "human love as the equivalent of God's love of the cosmos" (p. 22). Human love encompasses the love of a parent, friend, child, sweetheart, and much else.

I can't think of a more fitting interpreter of the German Requiem than Otto Klemperer or of a better recording to bring this music to life than this historic, 1961 recording with the Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, with soloists Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwartzkopf. The recording is available at modest price on the EMI Classics series of "Great Recordings of the Century." It is that, indeed.

Otto Klemperer (1885-1973) was himself a religious seeker passing through at various times of his life periods of skepticism, Judaism, Christianity, and then near the end of his life a return to Judaism. He was at his best in the performance of serious, monumental music and in the works of Beethoven and Brahms. (His performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is also masaterful and available on this series.) This recording captures the solemnity and gravity of Brahms's great Requiem and also its lyricism -- its ultimate message of comfort and hope. The sound is outstanding. The chorus can be heard clearly and understood, and the instrumentation of the work comes through. The soloists, Fisher-Dieskau and Schwartzkopf perform their important parts in the third, sixth, and fifth sections beautifully. Klemperer's tempos are slow and magesterial.

The Requiem combines Brahms's study of the music of the past, primarily Bach and Mozart, with his need to compose in his own voice. Put otherwise, Brahms tried to reformulate the religious sensibilities of the past for the modern temper. Large massive fugual sections conclude the second, third and sixth sections of the requiem and counterpoint looms large in much of the rest of the work. But the prevailing tone is one of peace and comfort.

The first movement of the work is a consolation to mourners set in the lower registers of chorus and orchestra. The second movement is a lengthy and solemn sarabande which celebrates the transience of human life and the hope of an enduring life hereafter. This movement includes grand music for brass and tympani as well as for the chorus and the monumental fugue. Fischer-Dieskau delivers an eloquent prayer for wisdom and understanding in the third movement which, again, is capped by a great fugue. The fouth movement, the climax of the work, is short and songlike and captures the etherial spirit of heaven. The fifth movement belongs to Ms Schwartzkopf as she delivers Brahms's message of hope and consolation to mourners. The sixth movement is an impassioned dialogue on the mystery of life between the chorus and Fischer-Dieskau culminating in a grand fugue of glory to God. The finale returns to the movement of the opening, in a higher register, and closes the work on notes of hope and serenity.

The German Requiem is one of the treasures of music. Klemperer's version is an inspiration and will move both new listerners and those familiar with Brahms's great score.
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Towering and profound..... 16 Nov. 2000
By Timothy Mikolay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Klemperer was a big man and I have yet to hear a recording where musicians have sounded so stately and play with such breadth and grandeur as do these people. I would not dare say that this reading is even incomparable; it stands alone. Such immense forces in my listening experiences have never performed with such compassion and profundity. This is must to add to any CD library. This is an immensely satisfying recording.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Comforted heart 8 Sept. 2000
By catherine guelph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I enjoy this recording immensely. If there is a drawback, it is that the sound reproduction is limited by the times in which it was recorded. That is less of a fault of this CD than an acknowledgement of how far audio recording has advanced in the last half decade. That nit dispensed with, this is truly a "must have" performance, in my opinion. Otto Klemperer is a master. He illicits a restrained, dignified performance which plays well for this material. I have to admit that he is my favourite conductor. The subject matter may be sad, and the material is at times sombre, even so, there is an element of overcoming the temporal world gained by a faith in eternity. Although Johannes Brahms(1833-1897) was not a Christian, he nonetheless did not shy away from choosing scriptural passages which proclaim the power of the LORD to overcome the circumstances of death and mourning. From an ominous beginning, the REQUIEM erupts into a finale of comfort and spiritual rest. The seven pieces typically start with a foreboding feeling of hopelessness which is subdued by a truimphant ending. A clear example of this scheme is apparent in #2 Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras (For all flesh is as grass). Strains of hopelessness which match the title immediately come to fore. This succumbs to deterioration as the end of the sentence is reached, till the point that the last two words (Grases Blumen) are a last gasp of exasperation, barely audible. The second stanza (So seid nun geduldig) has an ethereal quality about it. The original theme returns with the third section (Aber des Herrn Wort Bleibet in Ewigkeit) but is transformed from a funeral dirge to a victory march. The performances by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano) and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone) fortify their illustrious reputation. The force and power of Fischer-Dieskau enhances the third and sixth pieces while Schwarzkopf captures the peace and serenity of the fifth piece. I feel refreshed and comforted after hearing this tremendous, landmark performance. If you are interested in one of the best performances of the 20th century, or in music that provides a realm of spiritual comfort, this CD will be interesting to you.
PS. There is a grievous typographical error in the notes which accompany the CD I have. The sentence "Aber des Herrn Wort Bleibet in Ewigkeit" from 1 Peter 1:25 is incorrectly translated as "But the world [sic] of the Lord endureth for ever." The correct English translation should be "But the >>word<< of the Lord endureth for ever." Not only is translating "wort" to "world" incorrect it undermines the intented meaning of the passage.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Great piece, really good performance 3 Aug. 2006
By E. Moeckel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First of all, here's what I don't understand: when people say Brahms "looks good on the page, but...". I don't even really see how that's possible. They either flipped through a score at a music store, bought it because all the little notes and stems looked pretty, and went home and tried to conduct it with disappointing results: "wow, that page looked really nice, but little Skyler wasn't hitting the bass notes... Brahms sucks"; or, just by looking at the page, they are actually capable of transposing several instruments written in different clefs and key signatures, are aware of the various timbres of all those instrument at different marked styles of playing, and have the musical knowledge to know how those combinations of sounds will translate over time - in which case they would in fact be capable of telling whether or not a piece of music really looks good on the page, and should also be conducting orchestras. But the vast majority of people who really are capable of that and do actually conduct orchestras seem to love and perform Brahms regularly. So I guess I don't really understand what people mean by that phrase but I'm open for enlightenment if anybody else gets it and wants to share.

As for the requiem itself it is beautiful, deep, and personal music. Brahms had an immensely expressive harmonic palette and he knew exactly how to use it to pull listeners in and manipulate their emotions, and that is really what he's doing in the Requiem. He was just as advanced as Wagner with his harmonies and chromaticism. Where they differed was that Brahms believed in the intrinsic beauty of classical forms and the progression of the tradition of thematic development, just as his heroes Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, etc. had, which gave his music its clarity and sense of completion and perfection, while, due to his later place in history, he had the benefit of the Romantic period's harmonic explorations to give his music its emotional depth and intensity.
One reviewer claims that Brahms didn't have a penchant for melodies, and regardless of the fact that I don't agree with that, I also think it's important to point out that some movements in this piece are not meant to be sweepingly melodic, but instead very powerfully emotional because of the harmony. This is lush, romantic music, not dry and academic. Appropriately heavy and pensive at times, and those are the most powerful moments of the piece. It's about struggling with mortality, comforting those who are left behind after a person's death - it isn't really a traditional requiem, it's an existential dilemma set to music, using bible verses specifically chosen by Brahms because they illustrated how he felt in relation to his own mortality/sadness in coping with loss, and all of humanity's struggle to come to terms with that.

Some of the 5th movement text:
"And ye now therefore have sorrow...
Ye see how for a little while I labor and toil, yet have I found much rest.
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. . ."

There are reasons why this work is very popular - it is beautiful and affecting, and touches a universal and personal concern of all humanity.

This Version:

On this recording the slower movements are great: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, totally sublime. The 6th movement, though - it's powerful most of the time, but also a let-down: the brass sounds amazing, and Klemperer really uses them to build tension with those high clustered dissonant notes. But for some reason he builds up to these really intense moments and then cuts the tempo right as the next section begin. It sounds strange and anti-climactic and it's a bummer because it otherwise sounds really impressive.
I would purchase either this or Claudio Abbado's versions, or both. I don't like Karajan's at all, it's ridiculously slow and bland (and I consider him to be the best interpreter of Brahms' symphonies). Bruno Walter's is fast. REALLY fast. And Gardiner's is pretty good. Right now I'm torn between Abbado's and this recording because Abbado's sounds more polished and beautiful, but less balanced. The woodwinds and brass are overpowered by the strings and, although it still sounds great, you realize which sonorities are missing when you compare it to this one.
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