Johannes Brahms – Ein Deutsches Requiem – Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2010) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Johannes Brahms – Ein Deutsches Requiem – Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2010) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:12:01 minutes |1,14 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © RCA Red Seal / Sony Music
Recorded: December 2007, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria

Something new is always to be expected whenever Nikolaus Harnoncourt turns his attention to an important piece of music. In recent years he has been giving audiences a fresh view on some of the masterpieces of Romantic and late-Romantic music. His account of Brahms’ German Requiem is based on a thorough study of the composer’s ideas on how it should be performed. His is a sensitive interpretation that takes a completely new approach to the work. Technically and artistically, the new disc is a perfect record of the concert given in Vienna in December 2007, which was greeted enthusiastically by music press and audiences alike. A high-profile line-up comprises the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, whose connection with Harnoncourt goes back more than thirty years, and the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the world’s greatest orchestras. The two solo vocal parts are ideally cast with soprano Genia Kühmeier and internationally-renowned baritone Thomas Hampson. In 2009 Harnoncourt was honoured with the much-deserved Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award.

Widely respected as a pioneer in the field of early music who employed original instruments in performances of Baroque and Classical music, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is also admired for his insightful interpretations of 19th century music. His 2007 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic of Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem is characteristic of his handling of the Romantic repertoire, insofar as he clearly knows the best scholarship on performance style, yet neither makes authenticity a fetish nor lets expression suffer through an obsession with period practice. The sound of the orchestra is quite modern and full, and there is no attempt to make the strings play with minimal vibrato or to make the ensemble seem reduced in size or altered in the seating arrangement, unlike some historically informed performances. Furthermore, Harnoncourt’s tempos are conventional, and the pacing is steady and even on the slow and reverent side, so his approach shows that he is far from doctrinaire in his choices and doesn’t always follow a revisionist approach. The singing by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir is quite rich and smoothly blended, and the solos by soprano Genia Kühmeier and baritone Thomas Hampson are warm and expressive. Overall, the sound of the recording is fine, though RCA’s microphone placement seems a little distant and soft-focused, so some of the details in the counterpoint seem hazy. -AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45
1 I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Ziemlich langsam) 09:58
2 II. Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras (Langsam, marschmäßig) 16:02
3 III. Herr, lehre doch mich, dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss (Andante moderato) 10:47
4 IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (Mäßig bewegt) 05:54
5 V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Langsam) 07:00
6 VI. Denn wir haben hier keine bleibende Statt (Andante) 12:35
7 VII. Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben (Feierlich) 09:45

Genia Kühmeier, soprano
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Arnold Schoenberg Chor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor