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Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem [DVD Video]
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
DVD Video
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2007     1hr 43min


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: EMI Classics
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/24/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Move Over Klemperer!
Roger W. Wood | Jacksonville, Florida | 03/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are many who identify Klemperer's Philharmonia recording as the standard by which to judge performances of the Brahms German Requiem. Certainly it is a wonderful performance. I love it too. And there are other excellent ones I own and love. Maybe 10 others. At least.

Now imagine this. In 2007 EMI releases an April 8, 1964, DVD of Karl Richter conducting the best orchestra and choir in France, the National French Radio Orchestra, yes the same one with which Beecham and Klemperer and others have recorded legendary blockbuster performances (e. g. Beecham's version of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique and Klemperer rendition of Brahms Violin Concerto with David Oistrakh - both available through Amazon). Here Richter is doing Brahm's German Requiem (auf Deutsch! no less!)in Paris of that year with THAT orchestra and choir. That by itself 20 years after the war with a German conductor who could be only in his mid-30's at that time. Now, why would EMI release it 44 years later?

Now there may be historical reasons of which I am not aware. For instance it is 20 years after the Normandy invasion and since the Nazis left Paris! Anybody listening? However, if one simply experiences this performance, then it becomes quite clear why it is released. It deserves to be. It is a monumental performance of a great work! As some Americans might say, "by the French, no less!" But friend, je parle francais, and this is a great performance of this great Protestant Requiem by any orchestra! By the French, no less. But why should that surprise anybody interested enough to read this review?

Passion, precision, and conviction mark this performance. Richter can embody great emotion and, besides that, is a great conductor by anybody's standards. The orchestra is superlatively directed and plays gorgeously. The choir gives us controlled but inspired singing. Stewart, the baritone, is sensational. Lear, the soprano, sings in a registry I have seldom heard. In my opinion, Richter already has the best Messiah ever recorded (with the LPO in 1973) and the best Bach (and Handel) cantatas/ oratorios, etc., anywhere. He is not this pedantic lost period-piece professor of music who happens to conduct the Munich Bach Orchestra and Choir. He is a major music figure. Germans of that era knew it and were saddened by his death by stroke on February 15, 1981. We were deprived of a great musician in his best and most mature years. Viewing this DVD helps us realize during his age 37 (or so) what we are missing in his 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. Just think. Without a disc like this, we would not even be aware of his opera performances and symphonies and oratorios by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Dvorak, Verdi, and Reger, to mention a few. In the prime of his life this great talent was lost to us. I am so fond of his music that I miss him still. And I would advise anyone to get his 10 disc offering "Sacred Masterpieces" on DG Archiv through that includes the Matthew and John Passions, the B minor Mass, the Magnificat, and the Christmas Oratorio with soloists like Ernst Haefliger, Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, and a bunch of other greats.

Maybe nobody has more correspondence with this German Requiem than Richter because his special childhood and training in the Lutheran church (his father, a pastor), Brahm's own church culture I believe (protestantism), with Brahm's use of the historic text of the Martin Luther Bible, and the biblical texts that Bach and Handel use for much of their music. Richter understands the bottomline these composers are trying to communicate. And he was a pretty good shake at directing choirs, orchestras, singing, and playing harpsichord and organ (with many recordings on that alone.) This Requiem performance shows it. Richter communicates in a special way with the meaning of the texts, the inner and outer beauty of the music, and the corresonding dynamics of the orchestra and choirs. He has bundeled it all together in an historic two decade peace celebration and French performance of this great work.

Get it. If you love the Brahms German Requiem as I do, you need to see it. Richter and the National French Radio Orchestra and choir know where they want to go with this music. All three excel: conductor, orchestra, and choir.

You will not forget this performance if you love the Brahm's German Requiem. This feels to me like the Brahms German Requiem version of the Furtwanger Bayreuth Beethoven 9th. Klemperer is not the only one who can turn in a great performance. (By the way, I love also the Giulini, Kubelik, Abbado, and Toscanini performances, among others!) This one is historically fitting and exceedingly well done. Order it as soon as you can through Amazon. Order it any way you can. You will not regret this purchase!