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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.
“…Nikolaus Harnoncourt shows no sign of reining in his insatiable musical curiosity” The Guardian
“a tireless pioneer” The Observer
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: I. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (Ziemlich langsam)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: II. Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras (Langsam, marschmäßig)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: III. Herr, lehre doch mich, dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss (Andante moderato)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: IV. Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (Mäßig bewegt)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: V. Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Langsam)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: VI. Denn wir haben hier keine bleibende Statt (Andante)
Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45: VII. Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben (Feierlich)
7th November 2010
“Harnoncourt has it purring along from the start, plumping up a generous cushion of sound on which to float the equally impressive Arnold Schoenberg Choir, who luxuriate in Brahms's glorious vocal lines. Thomas Hampson and Genia Kuhmeier are in terrific form”
2nd November 2010
“it’s a generally slow-paced account (72 minutes), and the Vienna Philharmonic sound is unashamedly plush...The formidable Arnold Schoenberg Choir is a major asset, more than capable of sustaining drawn-out phrases with unflagging energy, its tone rich and radiant but also superbly clear.”
“Tempos are slow, sometimes even stolid, yet Harnoncourt achieves effects of extraordinary intensity...the superb Arnold Schoenberg Choir respond willingly to his every demand...Genia Kühmeier achieves an exceptionally beautiful interpretation, both consolatory and finely-nuanced, of 'Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit'”
“the performance is both beautifully shaped (especially from the woodwinds) and devotional in spirit. The closing "Selig sind die Toten" presents a warming richness of texture, the underlying rhythmic pulse admirably clear, while the sombre processional of "Denn alles Fleisch" builds well”
“The veteran Austrian's often irritating brand of fussiness works to revelatory advantage here, illuminating countless details while underpinning the overarching symmetry of the score...The Vienna Philharmonic's strings treat vibrato as their forebears would have done, as an ornament, not a permanent condition...it's deeply considered, exquisitely realised and genuinely consoling.”
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