Brahms: Alto Rhapsody; Nänie; Vier ernste Gesänge; Five Songs, Op. 94

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: Karussell
WORKS: Alto Rhapsody; Nänie; Vier ernste Gesänge; Five Songs, Op. 94
PERFORMER: Helen Watts (contralto), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone), Martin Isepp (piano); Suisse Romande Radio Choir, Pro Musica of Lausanne Chorus, Suisse Romande Orchestra/ Ernest Ansermet
CATALOGUE NO: 461 245-2 ADD (1967/71)
Ernest Ansermet and the Suisse Romande Orchestra are hardly the first names that come to mind for Brahms, but this is a fine version of the Alto Rhapsody, with a superb contribution from Helen Watts. John Shirley-Quirk was at the height of his powers, too, when these recordings were made (originally for Decca), and he gives a commanding performance of the Four Serious Songs, ably partnered by Martin Isepp. It all makes for austere, but rewarding listening. Shame about the sparse documentation and the lack of any texts. Misha Donat

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