Since its London premiere in 1871, Brahms’s German Requiem has enjoyed immense popularity in the UK, in both its orchestral and chamber versions. But the setting we know today is not the one that nineteenth-century British audiences knew and loved. The work was rarely performed here in German; rather, it was almost always sung in an English translation, and was even known by some as An English Requiem.
In its sixth Delphian recording, The Choir of King’s College London revives the nineteenth-century English setting in which Brahms’s masterpiece established itself as a favourite among its earliest British audiences. Under its new director Joseph Fort, the choir is joined by pianists James Baillieu and Richard Uttley, and soloists Mary Bevan and Marcus Farnsworth
"Their ‘How lovely is thy dwelling-place’ has a nimble, self-effacing sweetness…Bevan consoles with richly penetrating ardour…Pianists Richard Uttley and James Baillieu glide ably through, generating impressive momentum in ‘Behold, all flesh is as the grass’…It’s modest, unshowy. Brahms without grandeur, Brahms translated."
"The Choir of King’s College London sing with such relaxed assuredness that one almost feels they have been reunited with an old friend. The intonation on ‘Behold, all flesh is as the grass’ and the climactic ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord’ is English choral singing at its best, and Joseph Fort keeps the pace steady and neither hurried nor mournfully drawn-out. A model recovery of a much-loved piece in its original costume."
"This recording uses similar forces to those who gathered in a fashionable Wimpole Street drawing room in 1871, but revises the piano part to more closely reflect the textures of Brahms’s orchestration. This produces an intimate, highly charged chamber performance, brightly"
Recording venue(s): Trinity School, Croydon
Recording dates: 7-9 April 2017
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 7
Total playing time: 65:18
First UK release date: November 17, 2017
Album ID: DCD34195