Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Klaus Tennstedt, London Philharmonic Orchestra|
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
Listen to Samples
Luminous Brahms from Tennstedt, but not in the best sound
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My current enthusiasm for Klaus Tennstedt didn't develop during his studio years, and I've come to believe that only his live concerts capture him at his best. Having never heard his German Requiem from 1984 on EMI, I bought this contemporaneous live version fearing that it would have iffy sonics -- and it does. The chorus isn't miked so that we can understand the words very often, and the London Phil. sounds murky in the bass line; there's not much detail to the inner voices either. Royal Albert Hall, with its long echo, remains the Wembley Stadium of concert venues.
Tennstedt's studio version had a reputation for being slow, and here the opening movement does drag a bit, but from there on out, Tennstedt creates a riveting sense of occasion. The London Phil. Chorus sings much better than the Vienna Singverein on Karajan's five versions -- all of which I admire -- and their energy and commitment drives the performance. Yet it's up to the conductor to build drama and tension, and this Tennstedt does with great skill -- at his best, he's as luminous and powerful as Furtwangler.
As for the two vocalists (who are different from the studio recording) both are inspiring. Thomas Allen gives a performance to rival any on disc, and even at Tennstedt's slow tempo, he finds intense dramatic expression in his part -- the baritone soloist functions as the soul of Brahms the Protestant striver -- equalling Hans Hotter and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in their celebrated accounts. Happily, forwrd microphone placement allows Allen to be heard with total clarity. The 'Traurigkeit' solo for soprano is usually a meaningless few minutes of floating legato, and it's to Lucia Popp's credit that she works hard to make it reverent and intense instead. Her singing is a bit effortful compared to, say, Janowitz, Battle, and Schwarzkopf, but that's a small matter.
In all, this is an inspiraiton from beginning to end, and I hope more lsiteners will fall under its spell."