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Un Requiem Allemand [Import]

Rudolf Kempe, John Eliot Gardiner, The Monteverdi Choir Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Un Requiem Allemand + Brahms: Symphony No.4 (Coriolan Overture/ Sanctus/ Symphony 4) + Brahms - Symphony No. 2
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: M10
  • ASIN: B000051YEX
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Product Description

BBC Review

Though ostensibly an ardent Romantic, Brahms had a great interest in the music of the past, especially that of 17th century composer Heinrich Schütz. Though not always immediately obvious, a surprising amount of Brahms' own music is influenced by Schütz's style and techniques. His German Requiem of 1869 consciously sets texts which had previously been used by his forebear over 200 years earlier – so the chance to compare these works on the same album is very welcome.

The warmth and clarity of John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir makes it a compelling exponent of the two Schütz works presented here, in live 2007 performances from London and Paris. A year later in Edinburgh, the Brahms begins beautifully with an even richer choral sound, effectively contrasted with the relatively abrasive, vibrato-less gut strings of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique – providing a piquancy absent from many urbanely smooth modern instrument versions. The second movement, Denn alles Fleisch, can often get bogged down with overbearing morbidity. Not so here, thanks to Gardiner's agile, slow-waltz tempo and choral dexterity. The initial, well-enunciated, chorus entry has an arresting intensity, although the curiously tame climax of Gardiner's crescendo does not match the earth-shattering force of many performances. The brisk, forthright march of the concluding fugue makes up for a lack of gravitas with sheer exhilaration, but the third-movement fugue is more successful – free-flowing and well-grounded, it builds powerfully.

Gardiner adopts a relatively steady tempo for the sublime Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, creating an ethereal ebb and flow with romantic rubato and portamento. The choir is a shade too English-sounding here, at odds with the relaxed radiance the movement requires, but it is an improvement on his 1991 Philips studio recording. The tempestuous episodes in the sixth movement are thrillingly dramatic, and the work's luminous close brings a genuine sense of repose.

The Achilles heel of many Gardiner recordings is his choice of young ‘up-and-coming’ vocal soloists. In this case, sadly neither the soprano nor baritone are up to the job, letting down what is otherwise a highly rewarding account of the German Requiem realised in a carefully considered, mature and generally persuasive attempt at late 19th century performance practice.

--Graham Rogers

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Review

Another triumph for Sir John Eliot Gardiner... The symphony surges forward, newly illuminated, wonderfully alive, dappled with the unfiltered colours only possible with period instruments --The Times

There has never previously been a recording which so vividly magics the work out of its own private hinterland for our delectation and awe. --Gramophone

Does the world need another recording of Brahms's German Requiem? A glance at Amazon shows there are dozens available, from big, broad Karajan and the Berlin Phil to finely focused Harry Christophers and the Sixteen. Yet John Eliot Gardiner convinces us that there is room for one more, even of a performance he and his garlanded choir gave four years ago at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. The choral ensemble is superb; intonation perfect. Gardiner's instrumentalists' meticulous attention to authentic performance style adds a further dimension to a glorious reading of this beautiful piece. Highly recommended. --Observer,26/02/12

Schultz's radiant Psalm 84, gloriously sung by the Monterverdi Choir, almost steals the show here on a disc that emphasises Brahms's interest in early music by pairing his German Requiem with settings of similar text.The Requiem is more popular with performers than the critics-more fun to conduct or sing than to hear.Gardiner's superb choir and period-instrument orchestra certainly liven it up.The big C major fugue is particularly rousing and the lovely Wie liebich exquisite. --Sunday Times,26/02/12

With their Howard Hodgkin cover images, John Eliot Gardiner's series of Brahms symphonies may be the most beautiful items in the CD racks. On the concluding volume of Ein Deutsches Requiem, the music is at least as sumptuous. The requiem is preceded by two pieces by one of his influences, the 17th-century composer Heinrich Schütz; both share Biblical textual extracts with Brahms' longer work, notably the "Selig sind die Toten," which in the seventh movement brings Ein Deutsches Requiem to a sublime, beatific repose. Gardiner's forces are marshalled with care, the Monteverdi Choir as uplifting as on his series of Bach Cantatas, while the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique lives up to its name in its emotional subtlety. **** --Independent,02/03/12

Schultz's radiant Psalm 84, gloriously sung by the Monterverdi Choir, almost steals the show here on a disc that emphasises Brahms's interest in early music by pairing his German Requiem with settings of similar text.The Requiem is more popular with performers than the critics-more fun to conduct or sing than to hear.Gardiner's superb choir and period-instrument orchestra certainly liven it up.The big C major fugue is particularly rousing and the lovely Wie liebich exquisite. --Sunday Times,26/02/12

Symphonies are paired with superb choral singing and handsomely blended performances. --Financial Times,31/03/12

Schultz's radiant Psalm 84, gloriously sung by the Monterverdi Choir, almost steals the show here on a disc that emphasises Brahms's interest in early music by pairing his German Requiem with settings of similar text.The Requiem is more popular with performers than the critics-more fun to conduct or sing than to hear.Gardiner's superb choir and period-instrument orchestra certainly liven it up.The big C major fugue is particularly rousing and the lovely Wie liebich exquisite. --Sunday Times,26/02/12

The star of the German Requiem is always the choir. You know you're in safe hands with the Monterverdis and the pitch-perfect top A at 2'04''(a graveyard for many a choral society)absolutely confirms it. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone,May'12

Schultz's radiant Psalm 84, gloriously sung by the Monterverdi Choir, almost steals the show here on a disc that emphasises Brahms's interest in early music by pairing his Germa --Sunday Times,26/02/12

The recorded sound has great immediacy, and the chorus produces a beautifully sustained and richly coloured vocal tone. Performance **** Recording ***** --BBC Music Magazine,May'12

Schultz's radiant Psalm 84, gloriously sung by the Monterverdi Choir, almost steals the show here on a disc that emphasises Brahms's interest in early music by pairing his German Requiem with settings of similar text.The Requiem is more popular with performers than the critics-more fun to conduct or sing than to hear.Gardiner's superb choir and period-instrument orchestra certainly liven it up.The big C major fugue is particularly rousing and the lovely Wie liebich exquisite. --Sunday Times,26/02/12

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Transcendent Requiem 21 Mar 2012
By The Wolf TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Johannes Brahms began writing 'Ein Deutsches Requiem' in 1865 following the
death of his Mother and completed it three years later. Clearly a deeply
personal work, it is one of Bramhs' most beautiful and moving compositions.

John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the work succeeds through his masterful
integration of both its intimacy and grandeur. The hushed opening of the
first movement, especially the choir's entry on 'Selig Sind, Die Da Lied Tragen'
is simply wonderful. As ever the Monteverdi Choir excel in their peerless
handling of every vocal nuance. In Gardiner's hands they remain one of the
most exquisite instruments on the planet. The Orchestre Revolutionnaire Et
Romantique, too, are playing on top form. The power generated in the second
movement's B-flat major 'Aber Des Herm Wort Bliebet In Ewigkeit' is awesome.
The work's culmination in the trancendent final bars of 'Selig Sind Die Toten'
unites band and chorus in a resolution which is nothing less than sublime.

The soloists, Katherine Fuge (soprano) and Matthew Brook (bass) deliver their
parts with elegance and sensitivity. All-in-all a wonderful interpretation.

I still have a soft spot for Otto Klemperer's 1961 recording with Elizabeth
Schwartzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and the Philharmonia Orchestra and
Chorus but Gardiner's rendition can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best.

(The inclusion of the Monteverdi's accounts of Schutz's 'Wie Leiblich Sind
Deine Wohnungen' from the Op. 2 'Psalmen Davids Samt Etlichen Moteten Und
Concerto' and 'Selig Sind Die Toten, Die In Dem Herren' from the Op. 11' Geistliche
Chormusik' (especially the latter) are the icing on the cake. Glorious stuff!)

Essential.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I must confess, on seeing this second recording by Gardiner of the Brahms Requiem, I was a little dismissive. For while I've enjoyed all of Gardiner's recent `period' Brahms Symphonies discs (even down to their beautiful presentation), I'd never taken well to his earlier Philips recording of the Requiem. While at the time - a good two decades ago now - Gardiner had spoken about wanting to reinvigorate the piece, I found it a relatively cold and unmoving experience. Not being a fan of traditional overinflated Brahms Requiems with stodgy choirs and (often) operatic soloists, I settled on Norrington's surprisingly good `period' account on EMI/Virgin with Olaf Bär and Lynne Dawson (recorded in 1992). For while Norrington's `period' Brahms Symphonies (EMI) ignited much controversy when they were released, (I certainly didn't enjoy them) he managed to produce a consistent and satisfying `period' Requiem in which the lumbering excesses of past `modern' versions were trimmed away and the music given a pulse.

It is within this context that I approached Gardiner's second account of the Requiem. From the very opening movement it is clear that there is engagement with the text. Words are projected clearly allowing us to savour their meanings. But for all its beauty and refinement, I couldn't help feeling that it sometimes comes at the expense of sheer gutsiness. Take, for instance, the climaxes of the 2nd movement which, as performed here, seem somewhat underpowered, or the way in which the ending of the 3rd movement lacks exhilaration and momentum.

The soloists are new names to me and I was apprehensive about what to expect. Both are successful in lending `presence' but without `spotlighting' themselves.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 14 Mar 2012
By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
John Eliot Gardiner seems to polarise people - folk seem either to love him or hate him. I know him from his Bach cantata recordings, having collected the entire set. But Brahms? I enjoyed his symphonies by Gardiner, but I know little about the Deutsches Requiem, so this was a speculative purchase. I enjoyed it thoroughly. A recording of a live performance, as are most Gardiner recordings, I found it quite thrilling. The Schütz choral pieces that are also on the CD are also excellent. The Monteverdis and the Big Gardiner Band are in top form. I can't compare it with anyone else's Deutsches Requiem, because I haven't heard anyone else's, but taken on its own, I found it really excellent both musically and performance-wise and would recommend a listen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the last one 14 May 2013
By Bruce
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Amazingly it is something like 20 years since John Eliot Gardiner last recorded this for Philips. In that time his interpretation has not changed significantly, but recording quality has improved a bit giving a clarity that was missing from that earlier version. If you have the earlier one I wouldn't necessarily replace it, but if you have not then this is well worth acquiring. But if you don't have an 'original instrument' version at all then definitely get this - you will hear things that are usually lost in the mush of overbearing orchestration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording 29 May 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you like your Brahms slow and steady do not go for this, but I love it! The quality of the recording and the choir is brilliant.
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