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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Transcendent Requiem,
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!)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take Two of the Brahms Requiem. And much more of a success,
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. They might not be 'international' names but they work very well within the musical tapestry. Matthew Brook is a robust and pleasing baritone. Katherine Fuge has a touching simplicity about her singing helped by her beautiful articulation of the words.
The recording (made live in Edinburgh Hall in 2008) gives a pleasing and helpful resonance to the sound. There are no audience intrusions or applause. Thrown in for extra measure are two pieces by Schütz which share some of the texts Brahms used in his Requiem texts.
All in all, a satisfying `period' account, albeit one which doesnt completely transcend its 'English' sensibilities (the same can be said of Gardiner's Bach cycle) it is still preferable to much of what else is out there, hence 5 stars nevertheless. Those who are committed to the famous versions of the past like Klemperer, Abbado, Karajan etc may not approve of everything here. But really, this work (as has much of Brahms' symphonic oeuvre) has long been in need of an overhaul and it gets a very successful one here.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent,
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the last one,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant choral music,
This review is from: Ein Deutsches Requiem/German Requiem (MP3 Download)
Love this piece after discovering it recently. However this recording isn't if the highest quality with a fair degree of hiss and noise. I also realise I should have gone for a CD version rather than MP3 download as the audio quality is superior. I'm happy with this as an introduction to the work but will be looking for a better quality version
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music,
This is a good recording of some lovely music. Quick delivery, very satisfied.
It is quite unecessary to add anything further.
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