Composer: Johannes Brahms
Conductor: Nestor Andrenacci
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Size: 243 MB
01. Primera Parte (Bienaventurados los que Sufren)
02. Segunda Parte (La Carne es Como la Hierba)
03. Tercera Parte (Señor; Ensañame)
04. Cuarta Parte (Cuban Dulces Son Tus Moradas)
05. Quinta Parte (Vosotros Teneis Tristeza)
06. Sexta Parte (Caracemos Aqui de Lugar Perdurable)
07. Septima Parte (Bienaventurados los Muertos)
Rilling & Stuttgart: Brahms German Requiem: A Warm, Pensive, Inflected, Conversational Reading
Let me start off my comments on this disc with the touchstone readings already on the nearby fav shelves. I’m used to a solemn, grand view of this requiem, touched as often as not with bejeweled lights glinting beauty, moved along by flashes of lightning and thunder, intellectualized. So I already cherish Giuilini, Klemperer, Blomstedt, Levine in Chicago, Haitink in Vienna, zu Guttenberg in Brno, Czech Republic …. my little group topped off with the magic of the super audio surround disc with Herreweghe and the Collegium Vocale.
I’m coming to this Rilling disc, belatedly then.
Despite being a latecomer to my library, this disc also goes right to the fav shelves. What marks this reading is a consistent warm glow, a surprising sense of intimacy that still yet does not yet diminish the monumental solemnities of recalling a loved one who has died. Recollection is heavy in this music – all gilded in burnished tones and lit uncannily from within by a remarkable inflection in vocal-choral phrasing. More often than not, Rilling has his orchestra playing with chamber music flexibility too, accompanying the sung text like the best of lieder pianists. Yes, the big moments still ring out fine – those imposing choral fugues are not slighted; but in between obtains that unusual sense of spoken comfort, reflection: fond remembrance is palpable.
Donna Brown has a largish soprano voice, lifting nonetheless into the stratosphere ranges where the composer saw fit to challenge (if not outright torment) his woman soloist. The hushed choral murmurs set off her star solo turns, and eventually move us ever so gently into the following movement’s beginning.
Gilles Cachemaille’s baritone must surely be among the more mellifluous, caramel creamy male voices to have ever attempted that soloist’s role on disc. What he innately lacks in prophetic gravity – he sounds like a knowing musical witness to the Last Trump not the Last Trump himself – he more than offsets by matching the overall sense of intimacy and musical-spoken arts. The moments when death is over thrown are strong, but not reaching for something super-human in place of the human witnesses, chorus singing matched to Cachemaille.
The musical arch of the requiem returns us to the opening motifs, and chorus members once again grow rich with valedictory conversation, all remembrance. Rilling keeps the broad sweep alive and moving by having his woodwinds and strings emphasis their surging-oscillating intervals of passing accompaniment beneath the unfurling choral declamations. The Spirit speaking consolation in long, long-phrased paragraphs of music emerges, completely calm and deep and inevitable. Blessed.
Five stars. Keep the standing musical high marks, and make good room for this reading. Rilling and the Stuttgart forces achieve a place all their own. Detractors will probably say that Rilling is too slow, too touched with precious-ness. Such listeners will perhaps hear his choral arts as far more forced and artificial than natural, organic to the music as it wants to unfold in this requiem. I’m happy to hear it, recommend it, contrary to such potential complaints. Five stars.