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Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Piano Concerto in D minor which premiered in 1859 was universally detested, so Johannes Brahms dedicated his attention to composing extended chamber works. Eventually he reworked an abandoned slow movement of the concerto into a choral setting of the chorale "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras." This became a cantata, which in time was extended to six movements with solos for soprano and baritone called 'A German Requiem.' The deaths of his mother and his mentor, Robert Schumann, made Brahms contemplate mortality. The composer denied that the Requiem was specifically for Schumann, but rather for "the whole of humanity." 'A German Requiem' does not move audiences with fire and brimstone but instead touches the heart
with its serenity.
This recording is one of a series called "Great Recordings of the Century" and it lives up to its name. Soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau were at the peak of their form when this recording was made and make memorable solo contributions. The Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus are under the direction of one of the century's greatest conductors, Otto Klemperer. Klemperer paces things superbly, with devastating impact in the magnificent sarabande of the second movement.
R E V I E W S:
"Klemperer's stoic reading, clear-eyed and often quite quick, with its superb solo contribution from Fischer-Dieskau, takes us close to the work's emotional, theological and musical sources. It remains, with the 1948 Karajan recording . . . a uniquely revealing account of the work." -- Gramophone
Works on This Recording
German Requiem, Op. 45 by Johannes Brahms
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone),
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano),
Ralph Downes (Organ)
Written: 1854-1868; Austria
Date of Recording: 1961
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London, England
Length: 69 Minutes 9 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Great music at my fingertips April 16, 2012
By D. Malkus (Madison, WI) See All My Reviews
"One cannot overestimate the capacity of the Brahms German Requiem to comfort the grieving. I doubt one can find a performance that reaches out more more gently than this one. When I needed it, Arkiv's simple download process let it get to my iTunes and to my ears in a pleasingly short time."