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Brahms;a German Requiem

Battle , Levine , Chicago So Audio CD

Price: £13.95
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1. A German Requiem, Op.45: Selig sind, die da Leid tragen
2. A German Requiem, Op.45: Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras
3. A German Requiem, Op.45: Herr, lehre doch mich
4. A German Requiem, Op.45: Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen
5. A German Requiem, Op.45: Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit
6. A German Requiem, Op.45: Denn wir haben hie Keine bleibende Statt
7. A German Requiem, Op.45: Selig sind die Toten

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Scaled but Tender Reading of the German Requiem 20 Feb 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
James Levine usually goes for the big moments in his conducting and so it is with some surprise that this recording dating back to 1983 is so subdued. Certainly the forces at hand - Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the elegantly trained by Margaret Hillis Symphony Chorus - are able to give more in sheer volume and propulsive impact, so it must be Levine's vision of Brahms.

The tempi are on the slow side: another way of saying the same thing is that Levine lingers on Brahms' lovely phrases. His soloists are among the finest for this deeply touching Requiem. Surely this is one of the most beautiful readings of 'Ihr habt nun Trauerigkeit' by Kathleen Battle of any of the recordings. And Hakan Hagegard has just the right weight and color for the baritone solos. The orchestral playing is caressingly languid and the choral singing floats.

For those who look for a more dramatic reading then the von Karajan/Janowitz/Waechter version remains the one with the most impact. But for the contemplative solace Brahms intended, then this is the reading. Grady Harp, February 2005
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Huh? 30 Aug 2003
By Yvonne Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I own three German Requiems and after reading the reviews, I almost didn't buy this one. However, I remembered hearing and liking it years ago, so followed my gut. I'm very glad I did. This is a wonderful performance, full of spirit and fire. It is not, however, a conventional performance and maybe that is what people object to. This performance harks more to Mahler than to Beethoven. Boring it isn't!
The sound is crystal, the orchestra brillient, the soloists splendid. Unlike others, I thought the chorus was good. It wasn't at Robert Shaw standards (few are), but it had good dynamic control and crisp articulation. I recommend this performance.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Brahms Requiems 25 Nov 2007
By pyramidcvv - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the most beautifully done choral albums I've ever heard. The choral singing is just marvelous. The choristers display fine diction and are well-miked. I was particularly impressed with their powerful work in the fugues and their virtuosic fireworks in Movement 6. If you are looking for gorgeous choral singing whether for study or pleasure, you will not go wrong with this album.

It is ironic that Kathleen Battle recorded this album in 1983, the year of her unfortunate spat with Kiri Te Kanawa and the beginning of her long and tragic fall from grace. Since her 1994 dismissal from the Metropolitan Opera, she has continued to do recitals and orchestral appearances - a good thing for Brahms lovers. Her rendition of the Brahms Requiem soprano aria is definitely one of my all-time favorites. There seems to be a temptation to be bland in this. But she brings out every ounce of emotion in this stunning aria.

I heard Hakan Hagegard do Brahms Requiem in concert and wasn't very impressed. Maybe he was having a bad day. But he certainly was at the top of his game in this album. You will enjoy all of his solo appearances here.

Previous reviews spoke of clumsiness in the orchestra and screaming among the choristers. I really didn't hear anything at all like that.

Texts and translations included.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At the Bottom! 16 April 2007
By music lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I became very interested in this work about 4 years ago, and the first recording I bought was the Shaw/ASO version. WHOA! But, being a good musician, I figured I better give some other recordings a listen. This was on the list, and I'm sad to say it was. From the opening movement which is supposed to bring comfort to the grieving, one can tell that the orchestra sounds very clumsy and not together at all. The sopranos sound as if they are screaming in a very non musical way to reach all of the high notes. It gets worse as the second movement approaches ("Behold all flesh is grass"). This is one of the slower approaches to the movement, and it just dosen't work, as the choir sounds very tired and sloppy. Throughout the rest of the work, one wishes that the conductor would just stop and put some emotion, some spirituality into the work, and not worry so much about technical aspects. Overall, as another review stated "a suprising dissapointment." The only redeeming factor is Kathleen Battle, who is AMAZING!
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate Representation of A German Requime by Levine. 30 Jan 2000
By "bigmikedc" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have to say that one would believe this recording was actually bad when seeing the other reviews. However, I must say that while this recording may not suffice for hardcore Brahm listeners that it is more than enough for the likes of those who are looking for a performance that represents the composer's vision well.
Let us keep in mind that Levine also won a Grammy Award for this CD and that it is considered one of his best recordings. I cant see why he would not be deserving of this accolade. The chorus in my opinion rises easily to the challenge of portraying the magic that is this piece and I dont at all imagine it as being anything other than a masterful performance. I was also shocked at how well the orchestra were able to play a piece with such intensity and balance. Ah, who could forget the soloists. I have other CDs with Haken Hagegard and I wont dare review this without mentioning how well he performed his solos. They were full of emotion. Then, there is the legendary Kathleen Battle, who is once again pouring all her soul and magic into an incredibly challenging solo. She is on a level of her own and no one can possibly go against that statement.
Overall, James Levine has performed this work of art with great genious and deserves the Grammy Award for which this recording received. I must applaud this performance of one of Brahms most beloved compositions.
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