Dresden Kreuzchor / Roderich Kreile

Johannes Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem

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The Dresden Kreuzchor has a longstanding relationship with Johannes Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem because it is performed annually at the close of the ecclesiastical year, and frequently given at memorial services, particularly in commemoration of the destruction of Dresden in World War II. In this Berlin Classics recording, the celebrated men and boys choir is augmented by the Vocal Consort Dresden, soprano Sibylla Rubens, baritone Daniel Ochoa, and the Dresden Philharmonic, under the direction of Roderich Kreile, so Brahms' greatest choral work is presented in its full magnificence. The interpretation is traditional, with broad tempos and a reverent mood that is typical of many church performances, though the humanist aims of the work don't require a specifically liturgical interpretation. Yet as well-practiced and persuasive as this performance is on many levels, there are some sound problems due to the live recording in the Kreuzkirche, and the massed voices and instruments are sometimes muddled by the responsive acoustics. Balance and control are important for the definition of the parts, and the diction is softened in the blurred sound, so the performance overall suffers from the soft-focused sonic image. While this recording of Ein deutsches Requiem offers a moving performance that is adequate for study purposes, it faces much competition from superior recordings on the major labels.

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