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Mozart: Requiem; Bach, Brahms / Kittel, Straube, Briem, Freimuth, Drissen

Release Date: 09/28/1998 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 459004   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartJohann Sebastian BachJohannes BrahmsRobert Fuchs
Performer:  Tilla BriemWalther LudwigGertrud FreimuthFred Drissen
Conductor:  Bruno KittelKarl StraubeGünther Ramin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraBruno Kittel ChoirLeipzig Thomaner Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although this disc contains five items, its title piece—a 55-minute, 1941 recording of the Mozart Requiem—is the most interesting, in part because of the work's stature and length, but also owing to the perverse policies that existed in Nazi Germany at the time. The conductor, Bruno Kittel, was a Hitler favorite, and he readily acceded to bowdlerizations that excised Sion and Jerusalem from the sung text. One might argue, perhaps, that the performance should have been allowed to rot, but its resurrection provides a symbol—foul as it may be—of the noxious impact of Nazism in general and the potentially insidious image resulting from any political manipulation of the arts.

Politics aside, the performance is more or less what
Read more one might expect: large-scaled with good choral work, thickly textured, and old-fashioned by today's standards. Nonetheless it has more to recommend it than one recorded six years earlier by Bruno Walter.

-- Mortimer H. Frank, FANFARE [5/1999]


Historic significance rather upstages artistic values in the first volume of DG's imaginatively conceived "Centenary Collection" — titled "The Early Years" — when an unexceptional performance of Mozart's Requiem earns notoriety through one singular, sinister peculiarity: the unsettling claim that "all references to Christianity's Jewish roots [are] rigorously excised". This means that "Deus in Sion" becomes "Deus in coelis", and "in Jerusalem", "hic in terra". Pinch yourself if you insist, but I can assure you that it is true! Bruno Kittel conducts his own Choir and the Berlin Philharmonic, with a team of soloists that includes the excellent tenor Walther Ludwig, and the 1941 shellac originals have been exceptionally well transferred.

-- Gramophone [12/1998]
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Works on This Recording

Requiem in D minor, K 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Tilla Briem (Soprano), Walther Ludwig (Tenor), Gertrud Freimuth (Alto),
Fred Drissen (Bass)
Conductor:  Bruno Kittel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bruno Kittel Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1941 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
Length: 52 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 78, Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Bruno Kittel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bruno Kittel Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1942 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Deutsche Volkslieder (14), WoO 34: no 8, In stiller Nacht by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Karl Straube
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Thomaner Choir
Date of Recording: 1930 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Christkindleins Wiegenlied (O Jesulein zart), for chorus by Robert Fuchs
Conductor:  Günther Ramin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Thomaner Choir
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1940 
Venue:  Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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