COMPOSERS: Johannes Brahms
ALBUM TITLE: Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
WORKS: Ein Deutsches Requiem
PERFORMER: Anna Lucia Richter (soprano), Stephen Genz (baritone); MDR Leipzig Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop
CATALOGUE NO: 8.572996
This nicely judged account of the German Requiem makes a very satisfying followup to Marin Alsop’s estimable series of the Brahms Symphonies with the LPO. Perhaps it doesn’t emanate much of a spiritual aura, but it’s a sensitive and often moving account of the score. Alsop’s tempos are never ponderous, in places almost brisk: the tread of ‘Denn alles Fleisch’ is solemn but not funereal. Yet the result is never lightweight, either – the actual effect is lyrical and glowing – qualities that are reflected in the elegant, fresh-sounding account of ‘Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen’ and also in the vocal timbre of the two soloists. Anna Lucia Richter brings an appealingly youthful voice to ‘Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit’, while Stephan Genz’s light-coloured baritone, rather forwardly placed in this recording, is virile and emotional in his solos. Nevertheless, the great fugue in the sixth movement comes as a truly cathartic climax, and the concluding ‘Selig sind die Toten’ achieves a rare sense of poise. The Leipzig Radio forces are dependable, and the precision of the MDR Radio Chorus’s enunciation keeps everything moving along nicely.
There are rivals aplenty, some with much larger choral forces and others packing more punch. But at its bargain price, this honest, no-nonsense account, beautifully played and sung, is certainly competitive.