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All flesh is as grass - a human requiem
on 12 December 2014
I have pondered five stars or four stars. I have listened often to this CD. I have passed through 'This is not right', to 'Is this right?' to 'This is right!' It certainly is one of the quickest performances of this work. It is not ponderous in any way. It is fleet-footed, nimble, lively and exciting. The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir are on familiar territory and acquit themselves very well. The sopranos certainly have some lovely moments and there is excellent work among the tenors in their leads. Stephen Genz(baritone) does good work in the 3rd and 6th sections and Anna Lucia Richter (soprano) has astonishingly lovely tone in her singing of ' And ye now therefore have sorrow.' One of the tremendous advantages of the pace of this performance is that the lines and sense are preserved and the structure can be taken in. Moments in the initial and final sections can be referred to each other. To my mind, this very human kind of a requiem is what Brahms may have had in mind rather than somewhat weightier 'church type' pronouncements. One thing- I find myself singing over and meditating on the second section 'For all flesh is as grass.' Brahms wrote a fine work.