WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Romantic Choral Music / Helmuth Rilling, Et Al

Release Date: 08/01/2004 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98460   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz SchubertFelix MendelssohnAntonín DvorákJohannes Brahms,   ... 
Performer:  Scot WeirGilles CachemailleDonna BrownPamela Coburn,   ... 
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach CollegiumGächinger Kantorei StuttgartStuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 8 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

No realistic listener will expect a collection this extensive--8 CDs covering 14 works, most of them major compositions and most offered in their entirety, recorded from 1989 to 1997 and featuring several choirs and orchestras in different venues--to hold under one roof (in this case a sturdy cardboard box) all of the first-choice performances of the pieces in question or to consistently represent the ideal in recording quality. However, if you're looking for a very respectable survey of some of the 19th century's grandest and most glorious choral music in performances that often are outstanding and never less than very good, you'll find nothing less than many hours of pure pleasure in this thoughtfully compiled set.

Read more /> For one thing, the conductor is one of today's most intelligent, practical, and knowledgable interpreters of large-scale choral music. And he's one of the most experienced, exhibiting his love for all sorts of choral repertoire through dozens of recordings of both ancient and modern works, from Penderecki and Rihm to his complete Bach cantatas edition for Hänssler. And his passion clearly comes through in his conducting, especially in these "romantic" masterpieces, for which he seems to inspire whatever choirs and orchestras he's leading (all of them excellent, by the way) to his own interpretive vision.

The heart of the set--discs 3, 4, and 5--contain perhaps the most popular and enduring works: Dvorák's monumental Stabat mater and all of the Brahms pieces, including the complete German Requiem. The Dvorák is a solid performance by the Oregon Bach Festival, commandingly conducted, with outstanding solo work, especially by tenor James Taylor. It's not, however, more illuminating than Shaw's valedictory rendition or Belohlavek's expansive reading. The shorter Brahms pieces with the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart are excellent--Schicksalslied and Nänie in particular--but in the Requiem, the work that most listeners will know best, Rilling occasionally exhibits some quirky, often sudden shifts of tempo and dynamics that may make some kind of textual sense, but musically just sound arbitrary and somewhat jarring.

Highlights from the rest of the set include a truly lovely rendition of Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 (the Stuttgart forces again), some memorable solo singing by soprano Simone Nold (Jemima) in Schubert's unfinished oratorio Lazarus (here we get all 76 minutes of the composer's "fragment"), the very early Motetto per San Paolino by a 19-year-old Puccini that shows all the promise of the great opera-composer-to-be (and features an at-the-time emerging young bass, Matthias Goerne), and three gorgeous (and magnificently overwritten) sections of César Franck's Les Béatitudes (more great solo singing), these last two works performed by the Gächinger Kantorei and Stuttgart Radio Symphony.

And speaking of overwrought--we also get to experience Liszt's all-too-voluptuous setting of Stabat mater and two of Bruckner's endless, if often beautiful, masses. Verdi's segment of the Messa per Rossini, Libera me, concludes the disc and the set in a (sort of) contemplative mood, with soprano Gabriela Benacková wowing us with her amazing range and expressive powers. As suggested above, the choirs and orchestras throughout are first-rate--and it's interesting to hear the difference in overall tone quality between the American-based Oregon Bach Festival choir (brighter, more open sound) and the German ensembles (darker vowels, more covered sound). It's also a treat to have all of this music in one place in such consistently fine performances and in generally top-notch sound. On a couple of the discs I had to turn my volume higher than my normal listening level--and I'm not a fan of the flimsy paper sleeves that encase the individual discs (you can't get them out without getting fingerprints on the data side). Liner notes are minimal but informative; no texts or translations are included.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Mass no 5 in A flat major, D 678 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Scot Weir (Tenor), Gilles Cachemaille (Bass), Donna Brown (Soprano),
Pamela Coburn (Soprano), Diana Montague (Soprano), Simone Nold (Soprano),
Sibylla Rubens (Soprano), Verena Schweizer (Soprano), Marina Shaguch (Soprano),
Ingeborg Danz (Alto), Elisabeth Glauser (Alto), Gabriela Benacková (Soprano),
Monica Groop (Alto), Henriette Bonde-Hansen (Soprano), Cornelia Kallisch (Alto),
Iris Vermillion (Alto), Kurt Azesberger (Tenor), Christoph Genz (Tenor),
Uwe Heilmann (Tenor), Keith Lewis (Tenor), Michael Schade (Tenor),
James Taylor (Tenor), Juan Vasle (Bass), Camilla Nylund (Soprano),
Reinhard Hagen (Bass), Matthias Goerne (Bass), Thomas Quasthoff (Bass),
Thomas Mehnert (Bass), Andreas Schmidt (Bass), Michael Volle (Bass)
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Lazarus, D 689 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Psalm 42, Op. 42 "Wie der Hirsch schreit" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Stabat Mater, Op. 58/B 71 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876-1877; Bohemia 
Song of Destiny, Op. 54 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1871; Austria 
Nänie, Op. 82 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1881; Austria 
Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Austria 
German Requiem, Op. 45 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1868; Austria 
Mass no 3 in F minor, WAB 28 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1893; Linz, Austria 
Psalm 150 in C major, WAB 38 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Vienna, Austria 
Mass no 2 in E minor, WAB 27 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1896; Linz, Austria 
Christus, S 3: Stabat mater by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Rome, Italy 
Mottetto per San Paolino by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Italy 
Libera me by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1869; Italy 
Les béatitudes, M 53: Prologue by César Franck
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Les béatitudes, M 53: no 1, Bienheureux les pauvres d'esprit by César Franck
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Les béatitudes, M 53: no 8, Bienheureux ceux qui souffrent persécution pour la justice by César Franck
Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title