Review by Audiophile.no April 30, 2014 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
|There's no getting past that Verdi and Mozart's Requiems are the ones most performed. I have previously reviewed two different-recordings of Mozart's Requiem on multichannel SACD from Linn Records - the ten-year-old recording by Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by the now dead Sir Charles Mackerras and the brand fresh recording with the Dunedin Consort , conducted by John Butt. A fascinating requiem, characterized by the fact that Wolfgang never completed it.
Verdi`s requiem is of course of a completely different character than Mozart's death Mass, written about 77 years later. And almost simultaneously with the Brahms requem, even though Verdi's Requiem was first performed 20 years later. It is then also possible to find some similarities between Brahms and Verdi's Requiem. The opening has some common mood, with its gentle yet powerful introduction.
There is still a marked distinction in Brahms's Requiem with the traditional reqiems that have been composed earlier, in that it does not follow the liturgy, in addition to the text being in German and not in Latin.
When you listen to this recording performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, it is tempting to in a weak moment think that there is no reason that Brahms's Requiem will be less played than the one of Verdi. That is until one remembers that the spectaclar shifting of dramatic course makes this work an audience magnet, of course, not least because of the appalling Dies Irae. For Verdi has undeniably greater dynamic and dramatic shifts than Brahms, and Brahms have a more powerful gravitational constant. But what a great, powerful and gigantic Mass for the Dead this is, especially in this bottling conducted by Antoni Vit.
I can not help but point out the soprano Christiane Libor`s amazing solo performance on Part 5 - Ihr Habt nur Traurigkeit. This is for me the releas` definite musical highlight. Christiane Libor has also a large number of recordings on Naxos.
This is one of some tens of releases on Blu-ray Audio from Naxos. Naxos has from the beginning of this century made recordings of classical music in multichannel, posing a period some productions in DVD-Audio and SACD. This stopped for a period up to 2006, until they issued their first release in Blu-ray Audio few years later. But even though the giant Naxos constantly have been makig multi-channel recordings, the number of releases really are very modest in relation to Naxos` giant production overall.
Personally, I belong to that part of the audiophle population who would like to see that both Naxos and other labels had a far greater proportion of their release in multichannel, but we can rejoice in those. And overall the market has actually eventually a very good selection of classical music in multichannel, where the majority is released on SACD.
Naxos has chosen to brand their sound-only releases on Blu-ray to Blu-ray Audio - a total of three generic terms, with Pure Audio Blu-ray and Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio. I previously left me a sigh that the market could easily enjoyed by a common branding.
Naxos has gone a little step further in the GUI than the other BD-A releases I've been dealing with, but without sacrificing the very important opportunity for screenless control and maneuverability. We're talking about a gentle animation on the screen during playback, as well as an opportunity to bring up additional information by pressing the "Credits". The latter is commendable, and as long as it is a clean option, others could take after this. They differ from other otherwise color standard, in that the stereo track is selected with the green button, not yellow.
The sound of Ein Deutsche Requiem is of high quality. We get a slightly unusual combination of a fairly broad stage, while allowing the sound to be kept a relatively large distance to the whole orchestra and choir. This gives us a sound that is not focused on details or focuses on some instruments but on the other hand has a very nice and homogeneous whole. It's a daunting task to make a good representation of such a large choir and orchestra as we have here, but it is expertly maintained.
This recording of Brahms's Ein Deutsche Requiem has enabled me to discover the very high quality of this composition, a quality I have overlooked before. Highly recommended!
This review was also written and published by me at www.Audiophile.no
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