Telarc's latest release [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-26-2008, 10:44 AM
Back in May, I noticed that Telarc was releasing a new recording (on SACD) of Brahms' "Ein Deutsches Requiem" (A German Requiem). As an avid devotee of this piece, having performed it recently as part of the Spartanburg Festival Chorus, I immediately ordered a copy. Unfortunately, the release of the SACD was delayed until the end of July. Now that day has finally arrived!

I own three other CD's of this piece: one by the late Robert Shaw, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; another with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the piece in English (both on Telarc), and an EMI recording conducted by Simon Rattle. Each has its own merits, and I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this new disc to see how it stood up to the other three. Let me start by saying that this latest recording by Robert Spano and the ASO is one of the best conceived interpretations I've ever heard of this glorious piece of music, and is without question, the finest sounding with nothing coming even remotely close to it in that regard.

This music has moments that seem literally heaven-sent, and this recording practically floats us up there and back. The sumptuous sound of close to 300 voices has never been captured so well on any recording that I've ever heard, and the balance between this huge chorus as well as the two soloists and the ASO is simply outstanding in every respect. The breathtakingly beautiful, and soft, ending to the piece literally brought tears to my eyes.

From a purely musical standpoint, Spano has a deliberate, slow and grandiose approach to the "Requiem," which is something not all conductors bring to the piece. While some moments are played a bit more slowly than customary, the drama that enfolds as the music swells is unmatched by any other recording I've heard. Simply put, this recording is nothing short of outstanding.

And then there's the sound. Anyone not convinced that the SACD medium is, as Telarc's engineers believe, "the best there is out there," need only plop this disc into their SACD player, sit down and be mesmerized. On my system, it sounded almost as if I'd purchased newer (and better) speakers, along with a new subwoofer that went a few octaves lower than that which I currently own. Of course, I did nothing of the sort, but this recordng is indeed that good!

I cannot possibly recommend this new recording highly enough.

07-26-2008, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the heads-up. Spano also contributed to a highly touted rendition of "Berloitz's Requiem" a few years back, also of the SACD persuasion, which I can recommend as well.

I have the Shaw version, which I agree is quite good. It'll be an interesting comparison.


07-26-2008, 07:14 PM
I have the Shaw version of both the Berlioz Requiem, as well as the Brahms. I also have the CD (not the SACD) of the Spano version of the Berlioz, and think it's a good deal better than the Shaw. Back in Telarc's early days, bass drums and tympani often took center stage where they weren't initially supposed to (at least according to the composer's original intentions), but Telarc had them "close up, and "in your face," which, while not as the pieces were originally written, was still pretty exciting stuff.

On the Berlioz piece, the bass drums and tympani all but blew up my speakers with the Shaw version on the "Tuba Mirum" movement. The Spano has a much more natural sound to the drums, and a far more impressive sound quality overall, especially the brass choirs.

The Brahms Requiem by Shaw is lovely and well paced, but the Spano SACD is tops in all respects. I think you'll enjoy it.

07-27-2008, 01:40 AM
I love "Ein Deutsches Requiem".
I can't try the recommended recording as I do not own a SACD player, unfortunately.

It's hard work for an amateur chior but rewarding.

I own a couple of recordings, but my fav is Guiseppe Sinopoli with the Tschechische Philarmonie. A recording from the early 80's on Deutsches Gramaphon.
This performence has a lot of energy, drive but is very subtle at times.
Expecially part 6, bass with chior, "Denn wir haben hier keine blebende Statt" can move me to tears...great tempi chosen throughout the hole piece, quite fast but I like that.

The other one I like is Philippe Herreweghe on Harmonia Mundi.
Perfect performance, great chior, but at time too perfect, too slick if you know what I mean. Flawless effort but lacks a bit of emotion...

Anyway enjoy your new SACD recording!

07-27-2008, 04:16 AM
I love "Ein Deutsches Requiem".
I can't try the recommended recording as I do not own a SACD player, unfortunately.

It's also available as a CD. Actually, on all Telarc SACD's, the CD layer is identical sounding to the stand alone CD, and both sound pretty good due to the DSD recording system. Telarc goes to great extents to try to retain as much of the benefits of DSD recording on redbook CD's as is possible. I have quite a few DSD-mastered CD's from Telarc, just about all of which sound wonderful. But when listening to an SACD, they pale in comparison.

You could also purchase the SACD itself, as it's a hybrid disc playable on any CD or SACD player, and then, maybe, in the future, you might wish to upgrade to an SACD player.