Friedrich Wolf

Johannes Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

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This performance of Brahms' German Requiem by the Choir and Orchestra of the Viennese Chorvereinigung St. Augustin is solid and satisfying without being extraordinary. The chorus, the critical element in a performance of the Requiem, sings with a good blend, warm tone, and a firm idiomatic grasp of the music. Ildiko Raimondi's soprano is pure and silvery, and baritone Wolfgang Bankl sings with earnest vulnerability. The orchestra, conducted by Friedrich Wolf, sounds like it may be of a smaller than standard size for this late Romantic repertoire and lacks the grandeur to give the Requiem the dramatic impact it's capable of making. The playing is generally secure, but there is a very occasional intonation problem in the winds. Wolf's reading is staunchly traditional, offering neither interpretive eccentricities nor fresh insights into the piece. While this performance is thoroughly respectable, given the wealth of radiant performances available, particularly the Klemperer EMI recording, this would not be a strong contender for the listener looking to own a single version of the Requiem. The texts and notes are in German.

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