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Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem / Karajan, Schwarzkopf, Hotter


Release Date: 03/23/2004 
Label:  Emi Great Artists Of The Century Catalog #: 62812   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Elisabeth SchwarzkopfHans Hotter
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraVienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This 1947 Vienna recording of the Brahms Requiem—the first studio recording of the work and still one of the most charismatic—sounds more strangely radiant at each new reissue, with this CD version the best of several we have had from Europe and Japan in the last 12 years. The recording was made in astonishingly difficult circumstances by Karajan, Legge and his recording engineer Douglas Larter, but it has always been peculiarly clear despite some general recession of the choral image and an occasional haze round the edges of the higher frequencies. The clarity derives from eerily poignant articulation of the singers and reminds me very much of a comparable atmosphere in Nadia Boulanger's 1948 recording of the Faure Requiem (EMI References Read more mono (D CDH7 61025-2, 1/89).

The intonation of some members of the Singverein occasionally wavers—there was no heating in the hall and some probably had not seen a decent meal for a week—but Karajan and Legge were endlessly patient and Schwarzkopf herself stood in the midst of the sopranos in many of the takes to give them added confidence and surety. The result is an articulation of the text so tender, so sad, so telling that one is no longer listening to a performance of a piece of music but, to a sublime meditation on sacred texts by men and women all too acutely aware in the aftermath of war of the truth of the words and the sublimity of Brahms's setting of them. Thus, it is like many performances of that period—including the Karajan/Richard Strauss Metamorphosen recorded during the same sessions and his glorious, liberating 1951 Bayreuth Meistersinger that EMI will be reissuing on CD in the References series later this year—a performance that can never be emulated or repeated.

Collectors of the Requiem will still no doubt want a stereo version in better sound than this, and if they are wise they will buy the Klemperer (EM) (D CDC7 47238-2, 6/87). Thereafter, there will be no need to darken the doors of a record store again in search of a recording; between them, Karajan and Klemperer say all that needs to be said about this wonderful but so easily maligned and mis-directed work.

-- Gramophone [1/1990]
reviewing this recording previously reissued as EMI 61010
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Works on This Recording

1.
German Requiem, Op. 45 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano), Hans Hotter (Baritone)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1868; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Zemlich langsam)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): II. Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras (Langsam, marschmässig)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): III. Herr, lehre doch mich (Andante moderato)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (Mässig bewegt)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Langsam)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): VI. Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt (Andante)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) Op.45 (2004 - Remaster): VII. Selig sind die Toten (Feierlich)

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