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German Requiem


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Audio CD, October 26, 1999
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German Requiem + Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000028TW5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Blest Are They That Mourn
2. II. Behold, All Flesh Is As The Grass
3. III. Lord, Make Me To Know
4. IV. How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place
5. V. Ye Now Are Sorrowful
6. VI. Here On Earth Have We No Continuing Place
7. VII. Blessed Are The Dead

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

The death of choral legend Robert Shaw in early 1999 came just before he was to have embarked on a much-anticipated recording: an adaptation into English of Brahms's deathless masterpiece Ein Deutsches Requiem. The present disc is based on Shaw's adaptation of the King James text to Brahms's score, which the conductor was in the process of fine-tuning before he died. Certainly it must have been a daunting task for conductor Craig Jessop to step into the shoes of his mentor (indeed, Shaw's own previous account of the original German-language version stands out as one of the high points in his vast recorded output), but he acquits himself admirably. This is a full-blooded performance, laying out a spacious canvas that is compelling in its grasp of structural sweep--this is after all Brahms's largest-scale work--and also lovingly attentive to local textural details: the rising harp chords in the final bars of "Blest are they that mourn" or the swelling chorus on "Death, O where is thy sting?" to cite just a couple. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is in glorious form, its special resonance captured with warm, present atmosphere here by Telarc's engineers. Janice Chandler sings seraphically--but not with distance--in the soprano's one movement, while Nathan Gunn's baritone solos emphasize vulnerability over darkness. Hearing the text in English only reinforces the universality and deep humanity of Brahms's message, his dual focus of resigned acceptance and comfort. The result is also a moving tribute to Shaw's legacy--and a testament to its abiding power. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

The Utah Symphony's work is admirable.
James A. Thorson
It is more often done in German; however, I enjoy listening to the English words for, of course, a better understanding of the meaning of the words.
John H. Danner
All in all I would recommend this CD to anyone who loves this piece of music.
Terry W. Sullivan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James A. Thorson on March 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This will be the definitive recording of Robert Shaw's English translation of the Brahms Requiem. Shaw's own Telarc recording of the Brahms (in German) has been criticized as magnificent but muddy. Craig Jessop's recording of the Brahms (in English) is magnificent and clear as a bell. Hearing it broadcast (as a tribute to Mr. Shaw), I immediately wrote Dr. Jessop a letter of congratulations and went on-line to purchase a copy of this album from Amazon.com. Craig Jessop sang with Mr. Shaw for many years (indeed, he appears in many of the recordings made by the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus). He leared all of Shaw's techniques. One of the best is to have the chorus "count" out the rhythm (over and over again) during rehearsals. He did this when he conducted a March, 1996, presentation of the Brahms Requiem done by the Omaha Symphonic Chorus and Omaha Symphony. I told him afterwards that he got from us the best that we had to give. He has now done this with a considerably bigger chorus; the precision of the singing is astounding; this recording is evidence of the genius of his conducting. It is absolutely clear, pure to the music of the master, sensitive, and powerful. The Utah Symphony's work is admirable. I would urge those who are hesitant to listen to an English version of a work that is so familiar in German to experience this album.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. Cundick on August 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I participated in this recording as a singer in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was a tremendously moving experience, made even more poignant by the recent death of Robert Shaw, who was to have directed it. Conductor Craig Jessop was very close to Mr. Shaw, and his own father also passed away within days of Shaw.
All of this multiplied the impact of Brahms beautiful Requiem in our hearts, for it was for this very purpose -- to comfort those who have lost a loved one -- that it was written. This was one of those times in life when I have felt very close to Heaven, and I hope that comes across to other listeners. I would recommend this recording especially to anyone who mourns. Hearing it in English is an advantage for those who do not understand German, because the text magnifies the compassion and hope of the music.
I am a little bit puzzled by the person who was disappointed in the diction. Of course, clear diction is very difficult for a Choir of over 300 voices, but we worked very hard on it. To my ear the text is easily understood, though I will admit it may be because I am so familiar with it. Still, I want to point out that TelArc�s Recording Engineers actually asked us to back off on our diction -- they felt we were overdoing it and it interfered with the beauty of the music. If you have difficulty discerning the text, I recommend you take out the CD insert and read along.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If you can get over hearing this work sung in English (some people find it unfitting for a German Requiem to be sung in English), then you'll find that this recording is indeed a treasure. Some major highlights for me are: the sound (Telarc rarely lets you down on sound), the wonderful job done by the timpani player, and finally, the clear diction of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Utah Symphony does a wonderful job as a whole playing this work.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Being a resident of Utah, I was enthused to find a collaboration with Telarc and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony. Moreover, Robert Shaw himself had planned to do this recording, but died three weeks before he could do so. Nonetheless, his works/notes/translations of Brahms' requiem into English have survived and in beautiful fashion! If you have heard this work by Brahms before, you won't be disappointed. The signature fourth movement and also the sixth movement are particularly moving! I'm sure Maestro Shaw is smiling up there...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Lowery on May 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have loved Brahms' German Requiem since I sang it (in English) over thirty years ago as part of the chorus with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. Some purists may disdain the performance of this magnficent piece of music in English. Dr. Cormier, who directed the Chattanooga Symphony at the time, suggested it would be easier to teach a bunch of college students, mostly from the Southeastern USA, to sing it in English than to teach them to pronounce the German correctly and then learn the music properly. I suspect he was correct.

Enough with nostalgia. Several things stand out for me with this recording. First, my favorite recording of the Brahms' Requiem in the original German is that done by The Atlanta Symphony and Chorus directed by Robert Shaw. Second, this libretto is a new adaptation into English done by Dr. Shaw, who knew this music intimately and loved it dearly. Finally, I have long desired a recording in English as a companion to my disc in German.

This disc admirably fulfills my needs. Dr. Shaw's adaptation is both faithful to the scriptural base of the German Requiem and singable. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir brings a depth and richness to the performance that brought tears to my eyes in several places. It is a fitting memorial tribute to the great maestro who prepared this work but did not live to record it himself.

One portion of the recording sticks with me as being particularly effective. The phrase, which I offer in English, "For Lo, the grass withereth" crescendos very rapidly and then falls back softly just as rapidly on the last part of the word withereth. If done well, it has the quality of weeping, moaning lament. The Mormon Tabernacle gets it just right.

If you love this requiem in German, and desire a fine companion in English, this is a recording I can heartily recommend. I would repeat again, it is also a fitting requiem tribute to Dr. Robert Shaw.
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