Brahms: German Requiem (ein Deutsches Requiem) – Muso Magazine
Apart from being a musically luscious work, Brahms’ German Requiem changed the way choral music worked. Perhaps the greatest Romantic symphonic composer, Brahms used non-liturgical texts and a seven-movement form to create this stunning and often-recorded requiem.
Written in 1866 and inspired by the death of the composer’s good friend Robert Schumann, the work was first given a public airing in Bremen in 1868 and has become one of the most performed and recorded works in the religious repertoire.
Sometimes a choir is so good you can’t hear the individual voices. Unfortunately this often gives the feel of a Sibelius demonstration. Other times a choir is so bad all you can hear is one or two warbly sopranos. Somehow, the Vasari Singers seem to achieve a fine balance between the two, creating a rather ‘in the room’ Victorian choral sound.
The expression is beautiful and the dynamics precise. The piano is a little heavy-handed at times but soloists Claire Seaton and Colin Campbell are a joy to listen to. Seaton’s restrained soprano is well-suited to the gorgeous ihr Habt Nun Traurigkeit, whilst Campbell is suitably dramatic in Denn Wir Haben Keine Bleibende Statt.
This may not be one of the most polished versions of the Requiem but it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable ones. Vasari Singers – give up your day jobs!