Review by gonzostick November 11, 2009 (11 of 20 found this review helpful)
Levine does it again with the German Requiem. His Chicago Symphony recording for RCA in the early days of RBCD was exciting, lyrical and wonderful, all in the right places, as were his CSO performances of Brahms symphonies. Yes, the Boston Symphony website is a hassle to navigate, but his disc is wonderful, SO, GET IT!!!
The sound quality, recorded in concert (I wish they had asked the audience to contain their applause for just a few seconds), is excellent and the organ part, on that lovely pipe organ, sounds wonderful and acts like the glue that holds together this marvelous euphony.
I have a few exceptions to take with the performance:
- the solo bass is way too Wagnerian and wobbly for this repertoire, as he would sound more at home calling up the Magic Fire in Walküre. For a really great singer in this work, check out Fischer-Dieskau's performances.
- The SACD mercilessly exposes some of the suspect intonation, wobble, and scooping of older sopranos and tenors in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Because this is a live performance, one can excuse such approximate singing, but it detracts, somewhat, from the listening experience. There should be no crooning in choral Brahms.
Still, the performance is exciting and beautifully captures the frisson and élan of the live concert.
I did not attempt to listen in 2-channel as I think it is pointless...
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