Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Norman, Hynninen, Tennstedt|
ROUGE & NOIR
ROUGE & NOIR
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was my standard listening choice for the Brahms "German Requiem" in the 1980s. What was I thinking of? Or better, what was I hearing? I dredged it up from my deep boxes of CDs purposefully to compare it to the performance of the Requiem conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, which I've just reviewed also. The comparison goes all to Gardiner's glory. The only thing that sounds excellent to me now on the older recording is the robustly musical singing of baritone Jorma Hynninen on the third motet, Herr lehre doch mich. Jessye Norman, on the other hand, sounds uncannily like one of the small-town warblers who tormented my Sunday mornings in church when I was a child. Didn't I notice that vibrato in the 80s, as wide and muddy as the River Platte? I guess I still thought 19th C music was supposed to sound that way. It wasn't, as gardiner brilliantly demonstrates.
The London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, needless to say, were repuatble artists, and performed with full conviction under the baton of Klaus Tennstedt. It wasn't the quality of the performance that failed; it was the conception. This Brahms is post-Wagnerian. The tempi are ponderous. The dynamic range is from loud to thunderous. The rhythm of Tennstedt's baton overrides all the counterrhythms, hemiolas, and other subtleties that Brahms had learned from his study of Baroque and Renaissance composers. The totality is monumental rather than spiritual, a performance to send you home driving your Mercedes with pomp and circumstance rather than to awaken your mind to the pathos and splendor of mortal life.