Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (German Requiem) (2007-04-03)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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...
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...
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...
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