COMPOSERS: Letztes Gluck
ALBUM TITLE: Letztes Gluck
WORKS: Choral works by Brahms, C Schumann, Fuchs, Reinecke, Dietrich, Jenner, Koessler, Herzogenberg and Reinthaler
PERFORMER: Kammerchor Berlin/Stefan Rauh
CATALOGUE NO: ROP 6130
‘I don’t want to hear bad music; and if I want to hear good music, I can compose my own!’ Brahms was irascible with the younger composers who queued up to ask for guidance, but those who passed the test are said to have found him a generous mentor. Stefan Rauh and his Kammerchor Berlin have been able to find enough composers with whom he seemed to have been on good terms to subtitle this disc ‘Brahms and His Friends’.
Twenty-one short partsongs are included, by Brahms himself, Clara Schumann, Carl Reinecke and six other less familiar composers. They include two lively settings by Albert Dietrich, who collaborated with Brahms and Schumann on the FAE Violin Sonata, and one by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, who might not have stayed so keen on Brahms had he read the faint praise with which the older composer described his Lieder to a prospective publisher. Brahms had more time for the self-taught Gustav Jenner, from whom we hear four miniatures including Herz mich ein Wenig, which sounds almost like a round for children, and the smooth and lovely Gute Nacht.
The Kammerchor Berlin offer a fresh ensemble sound and are captured in a resonant church acoustic. But the close recording doesn’t always flatter their blend, and one could wish for more neatness, assertiveness and colour, especially from the boyish sopranos. Erica Jeal