Antoni Wit / Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus / Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem

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Ein deutsches Requiem was Johannes Brahms' most important choral work, and its place in his oeuvre is comparable to the ranking of the Mass in B minor in Bach's and the Missa Solemnis in Beethoven's. This 2014 release by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir is a fairly standard interpretation that offers an expansive performance and focused recording where the counterpoint can clearly be heard. Wit is careful to convey the peaceful mood Brahms intended, so very little in this performance can be taken as dramatic or ostentatious. On the whole, Wit's tempos are unhurried and steadily paced, and the ensemble's size and sound are conventional, without any attempt to streamline the forces or treat the music to Romantic period practices. Featuring baritone Thomas E. Bauer in "Herr, lehre doch mich" and soprano Christiane Libor in "Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit," the solo singing is warm and expressive, and the choir's performance in all the movements is well-balanced and evenly blended, which lends a comforting richness to the work. While this performance may seem a bit old-fashioned when compared to several historically informed versions, it is a fine reading that will please traditionalists.

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