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Richard Strauss: A Cappella - Deutsche Motette

Album Summary

>Strauss, Richard : Deutsche Motette ("Die Schopfung ist zur Ruh gegangen"), for soloists & chorus, Op. 62 (TrV 230)
>Strauss, Richard : Traumlicht, Op. 123
>Strauss, Richard : Songs (2) for alto or bass & orchestra ("Grossere Gesange"), Op. 44 (TrV 197)
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Sunday Times
Technically brilliant and utterly ravishing... performed with high accomplishment by combined professional chamber choirs.

Gramophone Magazine
This a fine choir - or combination of choirs - tone both gentle and firm, and with a sensitivity to the shadings and modulations so richly characteristic of Strauss's choral writing.

BBC Music Magazine
Hearing exquisite Straussian tonal twists sung with such precision and evident love is a treat for both ear and heart. àthe Deutsche Motette feels like a near-impossible fusion of the spirit of Tallis's 40-part Spem in alium with the loveliest pages of Strauss's own Daphne or Ariadne auf Naxos. And conductor Laurence Equilbey and her singers seem equally responsive to both extremes. Incredibly the piece's huge span seems just right - not a moment overlong. The opening couple of minutes of the first of the Zwei GesSnge, 'Der Abend' (Evening) constitute perhaps the most beautiful thing on the whole disc...

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Église Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France (06/2009).



Reviews

Richard Strauss sans orchestra
How much of Richard Strauss’s choral music do you know? I thought so. You can get a taste of this rarely-heard facet of the composer’s craft in this recording by the always-dependable choral ensemble Accentus. The recording presents a sampling of works, from the early Zwei Gesänge, Op. 34 (1897) to the male voice choir Traumlicht, Op. 123 No. 2 (1935), written when Strauss was struggling with the difficulty of his having his opera Die schweigsame Frau staged – the “jewishness” of its librettist Stephan Zweig was the issue. The centerpiece of the program is the Deutsche Motette, a lush 1913 work for SATB soloists and sixteen-part choir. Set to a text by Friederich Rückert, the Deutsche Motette is hair-raisingly difficult and requires an overall compass of four complete octaves. For nearly 20 minutes the choirs – Accentus is augmented by the Lativian Radio Choir – sing an unaccompanied line that has its fill of harmonic wiggling and some flat-out gorgeous melodies. It certainly reminds me of the symphonic Strauss. Accentus acquits itself quite well. Tonal quality and blend are near-ideal and the fact that they stay in pitch in the Deutsche Motette is quite a feat in itself. These are well-sung performances but there are some issues that keep this from being a revelation. I find an emotional coolness in these performances that drops things below the usual standard I’ve expected from Accentus. At times the choir actually sounds under-nourished and makes me wish for more body and a lot more volume. There are also some pretty obvious extraneous noises – do I actually hear somebody walking with creaking shoes? If you can get over these concerns you will enjoy this recording of some of Strauss’s most fetching music.
Submitted on 03/07/10 by Craig Zeichner 
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Works Details

>Strauss, Richard : Deutsche Motette ("Die Schöpfung ist zur Ruh gegangen"), for soloists & chorus, Op. 62 (TrV 230)
  • Performers: Jane Archibald (Soprano); Robert Gleadow (Bass Baritone); Élodie Kimmel (Voice); Edwige Parat (Voice); Eric Soklossa; Kristina Vahrenkamp
  • Conductor: Laurence Equilbey
  • Running Time: 19 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1913

>Strauss, Richard : Traumlicht, Op. 123 :: no 2
  • Performers: Jane Archibald (Soprano); Robert Gleadow (Bass Baritone); Eric Soklossa
  • Conductor: Laurence Equilbey
  • Running Time: 5 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1935

>Strauss, Richard : Songs (2) for alto or bass & orchestra ("Grössere Gesänge"), Op. 44 (TrV 197)
  • Performers: Jane Archibald (Soprano); Robert Gleadow (Bass Baritone); Eric Soklossa
  • Conductor: Laurence Equilbey
  • Running Time: 11 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1899