- Ein deutsches Requiem (German Requiem), for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 45
In his 2007 EMI recording of Johannes Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, Simon Rattle aims for a somewhat streamlined and fleeter interpretation than is usually heard: with moderate tempos, he trims approximately five to eight minutes off the conventional timing, though he maintains the deeply reverent feeling that is expected and preserves the structure of this expansive seven-movement work in his steady, proportional pacing. The recordings were made between October 26 and 29, 2006, so the composite performance on this CD is remarkable for its consistency, smoothness, and balance, a success that is not always found on Rattle's other live discs. The playing by the Berlin Philharmonic and the singing of the Berlin Radio Choir are close to flawless, and the moving solos by baritone Thomas Quasthoff in "Herr, lehre doch mich" and soprano Dorothea Röschmann in "Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit" are splendid in their technical control and sublime in their expressive depth. The reproduction on this album is slightly unfocused and a bit distant, possibly due to the microphone placement, but the intensity of the singing fully comes across, and the orchestra's timbres and textures are quite audible, if lacking in vibrancy and presence.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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