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Cat. No. CHAN 9806 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9806 - Brahms: Choral Works
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Available From: 16 March 2000
Throughout his life Brahms worked with choirs and had a continuous interest in producing music for them, as well as a profound understanding of their capabilities. His choral music makes learned and creative reference to the great masters of the Baroque, yet he followed the lead of Schubert Mendelssohn and Schumann in the Chorlied adapting the form to his own ends.

No work shows Brahms more completely a Romantic composer than the Vier Gesänge, Op. 17 for female voices with two horns and harp, written for his Hamburger Frauenchor in early 1860. The unusual instrumentation is itself symbolic of Romantic feeling: the horn evokes forest mystery, the harp Aeolian winds.

Despite its opus number, the set of Drei Gesänge, Op. 42 for six-part unaccompanied chorus is contemporary with Op. 17. The styles in this group of pieces range from that which is clearly coloured by Brahm’s Early Music interests to Vineta, on which Brahms lavishes extraordinarily rich textures and warm harmony.

The Fünf Gesänge, Op. 104 date mostly from 1888. Beauty of sound and relaxed mastery of medium here combine with texts of almost uniformly nostalgic import to produce one of Brahms’s most exquisitely despondent works. The group contains Im Herbst (In Autumn), perhaps the culmination of Brahms’s secular choral writing.

In 1887 Brahms composed the eleven Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103. These ‘gipsy songs’ skilfully combine the appeal of his two most popular and successfully marketed works, the Hungarian Dances and the Liebesliederwaltzes. They form a sequence of dance-songs for vocal quartet: but with the rhythms and exotic shading of the Hungarian Dances.

Brahms final set of vocal quartets, the Sech Quartette, Op. 112, combines the different characters of Opp. 103 and 104, as if tidying up unfinished business. Four more Zigeunerlieder become Nos 3-6, but the prime interest is in Nos & 2. They are settings of short depressive poems by Franz Kugler and are the darkest thoughts he ever committed to the vocal quartet medium.
Throughout his life Brahms worked with choirs and had a continuous interest in producing music for them, as well as a profound understanding of their capabilities. His choral music makes learned and creative reference to the great masters of the Baroque, yet he followed the lead of Schubert Mendelssohn and Schumann in the Chorlied adapting the form to his own ends.

No work shows Brahms more completely a Romantic composer than the Vier Gesänge, Op. 17 for female voices with two horns and harp, written for his Hamburger Frauenchor in early 1860. Thje unusual instrumentation is itself symbolic of Romantic feeling: the horn evokes forest mystery, the harp Aeolian winds.

Despite its opus number, the set of Drei Gesänge, Op. 42 for six-part unaccompanied chorus is contemporary with Op. 17. The styles in this group of pieces range from that which is clearly coloured by Brahm’s Early Music interests to Vineta, on which Brahms lavishes extraordinarily rich textures and warm harmony.

The Fünf Gesänge, Op. 104 date mostly from 1888. Beauty of sound and relaxed mastery of medium here combine with texts of almost uniformly nostalgic import to produce one of Brahm’s most exquisitely despondent works. The group contains Im Herbst (In Autumn), perhaps the culmination of Brahms’s secular choral writing.

In 1887 Brahms composed the eleven Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103. These ‘gipsy songs’ skilfully combine the appeal of his two most popular and successfully marketed works, the Hungarian Dances and the Liebesliederwaltzes. They form a sequence of dance-songs for vocal quartet: but with the rhythms and exotic shading of the Hungarian Dances.

Brahms final set of vocal quartets, the Sech Quartette, Op. 112, combines the different characters of Opp. 103 and 104, as if tidying up unfinished business. Four more Zigeunerlieder become Nos 3-6, but the prime interest is in Nos & 2. They are settings of short dedpressive poems by Franz Kugler and are the darkest thoughts ne ever committed to the vocal quartet medium.
Reviews

‘The Danish National Radio Choir under Stefan Parkman is one of the jewels in Chandos’ crown. It distinguishes itself in repertoire of all periods, and its singing is consistently marked by maturity, intelligence and sensitivity.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9671 (Vol. 1)

‘… this first volume of Chandos’ survey of Brahms’s unaccompanied vocal music, is auspicious. The choir is excellent, with a nicely integrated sound…’
Classic CD on CHAN 9671 (Vol. 1)

 

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