Can soloists make or break a recording of Brahms's "Deutsches Requiem"? I'm not sure, but they make a difference. Robert Spano's Telarc account has it over Previn in orchestral presence and liveliness of phrasing, and it has a large chorus that sounds very good. Previn's recording sounds a bit more recessed, though the sound is warm and not overly homogenized, and his smaller choir, the Ambrosian Singers, are very good and are recorded without congestion. However, it's a bit slow, especially in the last two sections, and the phrasing is a bit too smooth and uncharacterful, where Spano seems to relish a more deliberate shaping and energizing. But Previn isn't bad at all -- the piece has the right devotional spirit. Most of all, it has perhaps the best exponents of the solo parts on record. Samuel Ramey, the best bass America has produced, is caught here in his prime, and though the part lies a bit high for him, he dispatches it with great tone, great feeling and total confidence. And Margaret Price -- just one of the premier singers of her generation. She has no problem with the wicked tessitura, and her singing allows the listener to hear the shape of the soprano lines, instead of hoping that she'll just get through it. It's a lovely performance, preferable even to Jessye Norman's fine account. Spano's soloists, by contrast, are perhaps the weak spots in his recording.