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|Thomas Quasthoff, Johannes Brahms, Simon Rattle|
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
No Description Available. Genre: Classical Music Media Format: Compact Disk Rating: Release Date: 3-APR-2007
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No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 3-APR-2007
A Majestic Live Performance of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requ
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone who loves Brahms has a favorite recording of his uniquely beautiful and deeply moving Requiem and the competition among the varying performances is keen. For this listener, still committed to the old Klemperer, von Karajan, and Levine recordings (for varying reasons), this now Grammy award winning CD is in a class of its own. Part of the grandeur of the impact of this Requiem is the fact that it is a true capturing of a live performance, something that at times sacrifices perfect acoustics for immediacy. But here Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Rundfunkchor in a richly detailed, emotionally satisfying and probing reading of this great work.
Rattle's ability to find the nearly inaudible pianissimos in the opening movement are matched only by his explosive bursts of radiant sound in the big moments. The choral sound is pure and unstrained and the mighty Berlin Philharmonic is sensitive to Rattle's every nuance. Thomas Quasthoff is the baritone soloist, producing his expected lush tone coupled with his communication of the text. Dorothea Röschmann may not erase all memories of Gundula Janowitz's exquisitely effortless solo, but hers is a radiantly beautiful voice, blooming on the top while remaining in the communication of the words. The overall effect of this recording is one of warm and eloquent Brahms and the Grammy award for finest choral performance is well deserved. Grady Harp, February 08"
VERY BRAHMSIAN ACCOUNT OF THE REQUIEM
Klingsor Tristan | Suffolk | 04/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure I've ever heard the Deutsches Requiem sound more Brahmsian. That may seem an odd remark, but many recordings make of it a sui generis piece, living in a funerary world of its own. But I hear in this performance from Rattle and the Berliners direct lines into the symphonies and the concertos that I'm seldom so conscious of with other performers. It's there in the melodic and rhythmic phrasing, in the orchestral textures, especially of the woodwind, and in the integration of choir and orchestra.
Like his recent Schubert Great C Major, this is in many ways an old fashioned performance. Tempi are broader than we get from more `authentic' modernists like John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington and the like, textures are richer and warmer, it comes through as an altogether grander work. Brahms determined to write a very untraditional Requiem, not just in his choice of texts but in his focus on the bereaved who are left behind rather than the traditional prayers for the dead themselves. It was, after all, written soon after his mother's death and the central movement, `Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit', is a tender and moving memorial to her. Rattle reflects this humanity in his performance: it is perhaps the most humanist German Requiem since Kempe's wonderful performance with the same orchestra.
I don't want to leave the impression that this is an over-sombre, stodgy performance, though. Far from it. Those moments when the clouds clear and the sun comes out and the music starts to stir with life, movement and liveliness suit Rattle's ability to lift and energise a rhythm well. The fourth movement becomes almost a lilting waltz at times, a heavenly dance if you like. The big fugal passages with their strong undertow of typical Brahmsian pedal points have great energy and thrust. Even the imposing, deliberate tread of the `Alles Fleisch' funeral march always retains focus and purpose.
The performers are an impressive lot. The orchestra again shows itself to be in the very front rank, investing textures with colour and shape, phrasing solos with individuality while remaining consistent with the whole. The choir are exceptional: this is glorious, wonderfully disciplined choral singing. Roschmann is an ideally tender soprano soloist in that central, consolatory movement. Quastoff is eloquent as always, but do I detect just the first signs of wear and tear in the voice creeping in? Is there just a tad more spread to the tone when it's put under pressure than there used to be? It is nevertheless a fine performance. Perhaps neither soloist quite lives up to the perfect ethereal beauty of Grummer or the drama of Fischer-Dieskau on the Kempe recording, but they are certainly good enough to see off most of their modern rivals.
As a performance, the Kempe remains something very special. Among modern recordings, this new one is up there with the very best. Gardiner is worth exploring for a refreshingly brisker cleaner view: but for a more traditional take on the work this new Berlin performance is well worth hearing."
Rattle is fine, Quasthoff is great
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The previous negative reviewer seems lost in his own personal reactions and hasn't given an accurate description of Simon Rattle's persuasive new German Requiem from Berlin. Far from being slow, traditional, and rich-sounding, this performance is 5 min. faster than Karajan from Vienna and 10 minn. faster than the classic Klemperer from London (both on EMI). What overall timings can't reveal is that Rattle takes slow sections slower than usual and fast ones faster. The chorus is smallish rather than employing large church choirs or a body like the Vienna Singverein. The forces under Rattle sound no fuller than Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir on Philips. Textures are similarly streamlined. So much for the objective facts.
And the performance itself? Rattle avoided Brahms's music for twenty years on records and has turned to it late, no doubt out of a sense that his position in Berlin calls for it. One detects a certain lack of religious intensity in the opening movements, which is strongly at odds with Brahms's fervent Protestant intent. There's no lift, no soaring lyricism when harmonies shift upward. The timpani underlying the second movement should sound like the approach of fate--this is a work about death--but here it sounds merely like a drumbeat.
For many listeners the chief attraction will be the great Thomas Quasthoff, a totally convincing singer of Brhams lieder. The Gramohone reviewer grumbled that Quasthoff was having a bad night, but that would be an outstanding night for any other baritone. In fact his voice lacks a certain stability of tone at loud volume here, but he is never less than a passionate, riveting soloist, for me the best to be heard in the wonderful third and sixth movements since Hans HOtter for Karajan in the early postwar years. Rattle follows Quasthoff's lead, giving us freer expression and hushed spiritual intimacy from the chorus--this is the cry of souls coming face to face with mortality on Judgment Day.
I am not a particular fan of Dorothea Roschmann, who nevertheless gets a lot of plum jobs in opera and choral works nowadays. Here she is up against the likes of Schwarzkopf and Battle, whose singing of the Traurigkeit movement is exquisite. Roschmann can't match them for vocal purity, but she is emotionally gripping, which counts for a lot, and Rattle speeds up the movement, making it vocally less teacherous for her. Throughout the German Radio Choir, which I assume is professional or nearly so, sings quite accurately and with pure tone.
In all, this reading is a mixed bag. I don't think I really buy that Rattle is sympathetic to Brahms's religious feelings, but he is certainly skillful at extracting a convincing performance musically, and Quasthoff is a joy."