Alice Coote / Robin Ticciati

Brahms: Nänie; Gesang der Parzen; Alt-Rhapsodie; Schicksalslied

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It is thrilling to have a new recording of Brahms' greatest choral-orchestra works other than Ein deutsches Requiem: Nänie, Gesang der Parzen, Schicksalslied, and the Alto Rhapsody. Brahms remains one of the central figures in European art music, and his German Requiem is one of his most often performed and recorded works, but his other choral-orchestral works are less well known and much less often performed or recorded. Considering the skill, beauty, depth, and impact of these pieces, this is an enormous shame, but these performances are a disappointment. Although conductor Robin Ticciati clearly loves these pieces, he fails to make a persuasive case for any of them. His tempos are lugubrious, textures turgid, balances thick, and colors drab. Ticciati elicits heartfelt singing from the Bavarian Radio Chorus, but the articulation is slipshod and the diction slapdash. Alice Coote does an admirable job of getting across the meaning of the Alto Rhapsody, but Ticciati does her no favors with his heavy-handed accompaniment. Recorded in somewhat dim super audio sound, this disc cannot compete with the handful of great recordings of these works, which include those by Bernard Haitink, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.

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