Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem

Choir and Organ Magazine, by Philip Reed, May-June 2012

brahms-requiem Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem (SDG 706)

This is Gardiner's second recording of the Brahms Requiem and is, if anything, even finer than his earlier reading. The balance between voices and orchestra is close to ideal, while the smaller choral forces than are usual in this work (around 50 voices are listed) can be incisive and weighty when necessary. The period instruments reveal in glorious detail the delights of Brahms's orchestral writing, and the textures of Brahms's choral masterpiece have surely never sounded with such clarity.

The pair of motets by Schütz are no mere make-weights: using texts which overlap with those selected by Brahms for his Requiem, these works were much admired by Brahms, who closely followed the publication of Schütz's collected works. They receive exemplary performances from Gardiner and his forces. In short, this is a CD not to be missed.