Brahms: Complete Symphonies - A German Requiem

Album cover art for upc 747313952984
Catalog: SWR19529CD

Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR; Norrington, Roger; Landshamer, Christina; Boesch, Florian; SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart; NDR Chor

Sir Roger Norrington has been chief conductor of the former Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (today the SWR Symphonieorchester) for thirteen years. During this time he has caused a stir internationally with what has come to be termed ‘The Stuttgart Sound’: a synthesis of historically-informed performance practice with the technical capabilities of a modern orchestra. Whether in Mozart, Haydn, Bruckner or Brahms, Norrington has sought to capture the performance experience of the time, adjusting the orchestra’s size and seating plan to create an authentic sound without vibrato. The present reissue of Brahms' four symphonies, recorded back in 2005, is no exception to Norrington's artistic credo of keeping as close as possible to the composer's expectations. And one of the main features – beside the "pure sound" without vibrato – are the quick tempi. Brahms left no metronome indications in his symphonies. However, the overall timings left by the Brahms conductor von Bülow are so short, compared to today, that there can have been no very slow tempi in his interpretations. Additionally, Norrington considered also one of the many hints left by another admired conductor and friend of Brahsm, Steinbach: “By all means conduct the opening of Brahms First Symphony in 6. But it must sound in 2.” 'A German Requiem' is one of the most popular compositions by Johannes Brahms. Although the texts are taken from the Bible, the piece is not part of any ecclesiastical-liturgical tradition, it is aimed – as Brahms himself expressly emphasized – at people “who are in mourning” and unlike the “Requiem”, the Catholic Mass of the Dead, it is not a liturgical prayer for the souls of the deceased, but rather intended to console the bereaved.

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