- Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 45
Having recorded the Fauré "Requiem" in a reduced scoring by director David Hill, the Yale Schola Cantorum here turns to Brahms' famed "Ein deutsches Requiem, A German Requiem, Op. 45." For Brahms the small choir uses a new version not by Hill but by British pianist Iain Farrington. They're on somewhat more stable ground here, for Brahms himself arranged the work for piano four hands and chorus, and this version is often performed by choirs lacking orchestral resources. Farrington's contribution is to add a small ensemble back into the music while keeping Brahms' piano parts: violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, and clarinet. These are deployed mostly in the vocal solos, retaining some of Brahms' contrapuntal writing. The version could catch on: most choirs can muster a small ensemble of this kind, and the arrangement adds some of the intimacy lost in the more abstract piano version. But it also seems to approach and depart from Brahms in an awkward way. Sample "Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit" to judge your reaction to the effect and also to the signs of strain in the soprano section on sustained notes; probably those who favor the sound of American choirs, warm but less precise than those of their British counterparts, will gravitate toward this recording. Hyperion delivers excellent sound from New Haven, Connecticut's Saint Joseph's Church.