Brahms Requiem: CD Recommendation For The Week


Brahms Requiem is one of my four favorite requiems.  The other three were composed by Mozart, Fauré, and Karl Jenkins.  I’m sure I could come up with a fifth, but these four quickly come to mind.  The link provided happens to be one of the recordings I have, but the one conducted by Robert Shaw is also an excellent alternative.  Before making a purchase, read the reviews.  For many of you, selecting Brahms Requiem from Spotify or another music source is another option.  As I recall, I made my selection based on a review from one of Ted Libby’s music books.

Here is one positive Amazon review.

“Everything Mr. Libbey says in his review I totally agree with. My only issue is with Schwarzkopf’s singing, which, while lovely, I prefer a more ethereal sound–I prefer that the voice during the apex of the arching vocal lines “projects” into infinity. Gardiner’s soloist attains this other worldliness, if memory serves.

Given that one minor exception, I am very pleased to have finally listened to, and own, this recording. After hearing so many recordings whose performances fall short–whether by the big shots or the unknowns–this one has done it all for me. This recording has earned its stripes as a recording of the century–a title Gardiner’s try could have had (or tied for) if his orchestra had been something a little less scrawny and weak. How can you reasonably expect the fury of the 6th movement to project without an orchestra that has the power of the Philharmonia strings in top form? Which gives another chance to plug the Philharmonia’s playing–angelic. From the violas and celli who carry the burden of the string writing in I, to the brass (II and VI are notable for even more exceptional, powerful playing) and finally to the woodwinds, characterful and sensitive in every solo. Klemperer’s tempi are slow (of course), but his climaxes are overwhelming, and he is appropriately gentle when the music calls for it. All in all…a great recording and performance!”