14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2005
Bruckner's early Requiem is an under-rated and under performed work. Whilst it lacks the impact of his later mass settings, it does contain some exquisite music. This is, without much doubt, the finest version available. The singing from both soloists and choir is sublime, particularly Joan Rodgers and Maldwyn Davies, and the ECO is on fine form and Matthew Best holds the whole thing together with his usual touch. The two psalm settings, both also early works, receive equally good treatment. The recording, which dates from 1987, is very good indeed.
If you are a Brucknerite, then you need this disc, it's as simple as that.
If you like choral music, then this is a worthwhile purchase.
The CD plays for just under an hour. You get useful, if brief notes, and full libreto.
What you don't get is a detailed track listing, which is annoying, but not fatally so.
There is also a three CD set of Best's recordings of Bruckner's three mature masses and Te Deum available (Hyperion again ASIN: B000002ZFX) which is even more essential than this set.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2015
The Australian Knappertsbusch Association is a byword for debauchery, insider-trading and sleaze, even by the colourful standards of the penal colonies. Our internal politics - the AGM will occur next month - makes `House of Cards' look like Sunday School with Jesus the Yellowbeard. Nevertheless we're die-hard Brucknerians to the last man and cattle-dog. In the pantheon of great composers, he's unique. I dare not audit my collection, Bruckner-wise. That being said, we're somewhat daunted by the Bruckner Society of America, headed up by the formidable John F Berky who listens to three symphonies per day. The BSA awards the `Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor to individuals and organizations which have furthered the understanding and appreciation of Bruckner's life and work.' Keeping it all legit, I've offered to do a trade with John - you know, he awards me this medal (it's overdue) and I'll hand over the AKA equivalent - the Leo Farkus Memorial Home-Brew kit for Services to Bruckner - but strangely enough, I've yet to hear back from my American counterpart. It's a bugger!
Anyway, many a time the BSA has undertaken a pilgrimage to St Florians where Bruckner's famous Bösendorfer resides in glory. It features in many a photograph of the great man. And of course, it always brings to mind the circumstances wherein it came into Bruckner's possession; it was bequeathed to him by Franz Sailer, which in turn prompted Bruckner to write the first composition of his maturity: the Requiem. While a masterpiece it ain't and its debt to K 626 is unmistakable, it's like no other work in the canon. No-one else could have written it. It has a fluency, purposefulness and ease-with-breath that predicate the later compositions. Needless to say, it's attuned to the Great Beyond.
Performances of the Requiem are not thick on the ground. A cottage-industry they ain't. I've never liked this performance of WAB 39 on Hyperion and the fillers fail to carry the day. It sounds somewhat Anglicised to me. The rhythmic tread in the first movement, which harkens back to the Requiem Aeternam of K 626, is softened to its detriment. In other words, it's too polite and ethereal for its own good. The choir, as others have noted, is not the last word in pungency.
Where to from here? Desperate times call for desperate measures. On YouTube, of all places, there is a performance of the Requiem that derives from an old LP from Fontana. It is conducted by Friedrich Wolf at the head of the Choir and Orchestra of St Augustine's in Vienna. Leopold Spitzer, the bass, is a wobbler with no projection. Nevertheless it's the real deal. You'd be better served to consolidate these five tracks into the one performance via a YouTube-to-MP3 converter.
Beginnings are delicate matters. Walk with Bruckner as he takes his first steps.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2003
That's a very interesting recording of two early works by Bruckner which sound more Mozartian than Brucknerian. They deserve to be better known and we must be thankful to Hyperion for issuing this recording. The performance is excellent in all respects.