Notes & Reviews:
Ein Deutsches Requiem was completed in several stages between 1866 and 1869, when Ferdinand Hiller in Cologne gave the premiere of the final, seven-movement version. Its inspiration is thought to have been the deaths of Robert Schumann and of Brahms's own mother. The work's text is drawn from a then controversial mixture of Old and New Testament texts. One of the work's first conductors objected that 'from a Christian perspective it lacks the point around which everything rotates, namely the redeeming death of the Lord.' The present recording was made in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, in the last week of June 1955. The Requiem sessions took place in the evenings (the choir of St Hedwig's Cathedral was not available during the day); the mornings were used to record Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (also with Fischer-Dieskau), Brahms's Second Symphony and Schumann's 'Spring' Symphony. Rudolf Kempe took up the baton having been principal oboist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He conducted his first opera in 1935, and went on to take up music directorships at Chemnitz, Dresden and Munich. In Dresden he had the chance to record the gramophone's first complete Rosenkavalier and Meistersinger. The Berlin orchestra were amused by his Saxon accent but worked happily with him on a series of major recordings, of which this is the first.
American Record Guide, March/April 2014
The performance is sensitive and reverent. The choir is an excellent amateur group, the kind of choir we seldom hear these days. Grnmmer is a fine soprano, and she does admirably. It is, of course, wonderful to hear the young Fischer-Dieskau, then about 30, with all his freshness of voice. And Kempe, whom we know as an excellent conductor, presents his broad vision convincingly. The sound is fairly good.
Recording information: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (06/1955).
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Works DetailsBrahms, Johannes : German Requiem, Op. 45
- Conductor: Rudolf Kempe
- Ensemble: St. Hedwigs Cathedral Chorus
- Running Time: 75 min. 23 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Choral
- Written: 1857-1868