Herbert von Karajan also often confronted himself with spiritual music. Especially the Mozart, Verdi and Brahms Requiem were always performed in the utmost quality, whereas before all else Verdi's Messa di Requiem demands excellent opera voices.
For too long a gap in the Brilliant Classics catalogue,we are happy to present a superb recording of Brahms’ sacred masterwork, Ein deutsches Requiem. Brahms’ Requiem, written in German and presenting bible texts selected by Brahms himself, was composed after the death of Brahms’ mother, a shattering experience for him. The dark aspects of Death are relieved by music of great tenderness and intimacy.
Among the major choral-orchestral works of the 19th century, Sir Roger Norrington and his former Orchestra, the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, have tackled over the years, now finally comes Brahms' "German Requiem." one of the most beautiful and popular sacred music works in the repertoire. Brahms’ contemporaries, including his close friend Clara Schumann were moved with the score and were enthusiastic about it - and it has been a favorite with the general public ever since. Although Biblical texts are used, the piece is not in the standard church-liturgical tradition. It was Brahms‘personal response to "those who mourn"! The central idea of this masterpiece is the reality of human existence. It is precisely this „earthly character“ that Roger Norrington uses to shape his interpretation emphasizing the grave beautify of the music and not religious awe; in this, Norrington draws us close to the composer’s intentions. He is ably supported by soprano soloist Christina Landshamer, basso Florian Boesch, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart and the NDR.
Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra present Brahms’ greatest choral work, the 'German' Requiem, featuring soprano Sally Matthews and baritone Christopher Maltman. Gergiev’s first Brahms release on LSO Live, Symphonies Nos 1 & 2, Tragic Overture & Haydn Variations was awarded 5/5 by BBC Music Magazine.
This collection of short choral pieces by Johannes Brahms is an unusual one in present times, partly because many of the choral parts are quite demanding. For a choral club in the 19th century, however, it wouldn't have been so novel, and there are great beauties on offer here. After the fetching Ave Maria, Op. 12, the rest of the program is dense, metaphysical, and, with the partial exception of the Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53, concerned with death. There are two funeral songs, and two more about fate, and this is not the warm, humanistic Brahms of the German Requiem, Op. 45. The performances are profound and dignified, and the overall effect uncanny. The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir under choirmaster Henryk Wojnarowski has a gorgeous rich tone that is undiminished by the long lines of the music, and the Alto Rhapsody achieves real grandeur in the hands of contralto Ewa Wolak. But the real credit goes to the Warsaw Philharmonic and conductor Antoni Wit, who keep a consistent level of tension and momentum in difficult, dark material like the somber Nänie, Op. 82 (Funeral Song), a rarely performed late Brahms masterwork.
From plainsong to Penderecki, this film for Remembrance Sunday shows how music has shaped the requiem over 500 years. John Bridcut explores the significance and history of one of the oldest musical forms and discusses its enduring appeal with some of its greatest exponents. The great requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi and Faure have been rooted in the Latin requiem mass of the Roman Catholic Church. But now, thanks to Brahms and Britten, the requiem has spread into other Christian traditions, producing some of the finest classical music ever written.
Herbert von Karajan conducted Brahms's choral masterpiece frequently throughout his long career, but only once on film and with both of these outstanding soloists. This unique document from the 1978 Salzburg Easter Festival was acclaimed by Diapason as "a magical interpretation, prodigiously realized … with a sublime fusion of timbres, a cohesion and, ultimately, a simplicity that are truly unequalled."