Albums

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released January 4, 2019 | Glossa

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Johannes Brahms’ consolatory Ein deutsches Requiem receives a fresh and considered interpretation from Daniel Reuss and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. This renowned orchestra took the decision – following the death, some years back, of Frans Brüggen – to retain its founder’s dynamic process of alternating concert tours with recordings. And dispensing with the need for having a principal conductor, the orchestra now works with a range of musicians according to the repertoire being performed. Such a conductor is Daniel Reuss, who is also the artistic director of the Cappella Amsterdam, the choir which has frequently been appearing alongside the orchestra in recent times. A well-received reading of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis involving Reuss and the orchestra was issued by Glossa in 2017 and these musical forces have now turned their attention to Johannes Brahms’ pillar of religious music. Taped in the Rotterdam De Doelen concert hall this new recording involves Carolyn Sampson (soprano) and André Morsch (baritone) as its two soloists, in a version which attempts, as far as it is possible, to get close – in terms of tonal colours, interpretation and tempi – to Brahms’ original intentions. This extraordinary work, here maintaining a sweeping and moving spirit for some 70 minutes, contains texts from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and, it is thought, was inspired by the loss of both the composer’s mother and also that of Robert Schumann. © Glossa
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 10, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 15, 2013 | naïve classique

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
There are several uses for Brahms' transcription of Ein Deutsches Requiem scored for soloists and chorus but with the orchestral parts arranged by the composer for two pianos. It can be useful to choirs without access to an orchestra and thus broaden the availability of the work. It can be useful to scholars studying how Brahms solved the problems of transcription and thus broaden the understanding of one of the great German nineteenth century composers. But as an arrangement, Brahms' is not itself particularly successful. Two pianos cannot compete with the long lines of the strings, the colors of the winds, the heroism of the horns, and the fateful tread of the tympani, and all that's left here is a black and white snapshot of a great work. While it may be useful to have a recording of Brahms' arrangement available, this 2003 recording by Laurence Equilbey directing Accentus with soprano Sandrine Piau, baritone Stéphane Degout, and pianists Brigitte Engerer and Boris Berezovsky is itself not especially useful. Despite the absence of an orchestra, the textures are thick to the point of opacity. Part of it is that Accentus has more weight than gravity and more density than clarity. Part of it is that Equilbey is slow to the point of turgidity and sluggish past the point of torpidity. And part of it is that Engerer and Berezovsky are terrific virtuosos with stunning recordings of Chopin and Rachmaninov behind them, but they are too much for their parts and instead of sounding like two pianos substituting for an orchestra, they sound like two virtuosos trying to sound like two orchestras. Piau is pleasant and Degout is doughty, but the performance has sunk long under its own weight before either of them open their mouths.
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 9, 2011 | Helicon Classics

Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 4, 2011 | IDIS

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 22, 2010 | Sony Classical

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 15, 2010 | RCA Red Seal

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
Widely respected as a pioneer in the field of early music who employed original instruments in performances of Baroque and Classical music, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is also admired for his insightful interpretations of 19th century music. His 2007 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic of Johannes Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem is characteristic of his handling of the Romantic repertoire, insofar as he clearly knows the best scholarship on performance style, yet neither makes authenticity a fetish nor lets expression suffer through an obsession with period practice. The sound of the orchestra is quite modern and full, and there is no attempt to make the strings play with minimal vibrato or to make the ensemble seem reduced in size or altered in the seating arrangement, unlike some historically informed performances. Furthermore, Harnoncourt's tempos are conventional, and the pacing is steady and even on the slow and reverent side, so his approach shows that he is far from doctrinaire in his choices and doesn't always follow a revisionist approach. The singing by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is quite rich and smoothly blended, and the solos by soprano Genia Kühmeier and baritone Thomas Hampson are warm and expressive. Overall, the sound of the recording is fine, though RCA's microphone placement seems a little distant and soft-focused, so some of the details in the counterpoint seem hazy.

Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 28, 2010 | PentaTone

Booklets Distinctions Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
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Marek Janowski leads Rundfunkchor and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in a solid performance of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem on this Pentatone hybrid SACD. He doesn't bring particularly distinctive new insights to the piece, but just about everything is absolutely in place, and that is an achievement in a work with the emotional range and difficulty of this one. The opening is appropriately hushed and the second movement is as frighteningly thunderous as it should be. "Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen" is a highlight, with an urgency that blossoms into an outpouring of ecstatic fervor as it surges toward its celestial climax. Both chorus and orchestra perform at the highest level of professionalism, singing, and playing with discipline, passion, and a warmly enveloping tone. Soprano Camilla Tilling does not have a large voice, but it is focused and intense, and she can soar when the music calls for it. The weak link is baritone Detlef Roth; his singing is insightful but his voice lacks the heroic timbre the music requires, and he has a wobbly top and shaky bottom. The forces are beautifully balanced and the music's extreme dynamic range is well captured. This fine performance may be unlikely to join the ranks of the most sublime recordings of the work, but its virtues make it one that would be a fine introduction to this choral masterpiece.

Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 1, 2010 | LPO

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 1, 2010 | Classico

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 15, 2006 | Berlin Classics

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 2, 2005 | RCA Red Seal

Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 2, 2004 | naïve classique

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 1, 2003 | Chandos

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 12, 1995 | Sony Classical

Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 1, 1991 | Chandos

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