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Richard Fairman
Gramophone, December 2013

…the War Requiem from Mariss Jansons and his Bavarian Radio SO inhabits a tense, oppressive world. The opening Kyrie immediately sets out with an urgent sense of seriousness, the chorus chanting the words with a rhythmic insistency…Although some of the speeds later are on the slow side, Jansons’s concentration means that this performance constantly feels on edge, digging into rhythms with a martial rigidity, and focusing on the work’s darkest thoughts and—at its most extreme—its sense of outrage. The Latin sections of the Mass are well sung by the Bavarian chorus and the proto-Wagnerian soprano of Emily Magee…Christian Gerhaher, singing in excellent English, is simply outstanding—powerful, supremely expressive and unforgettable in the intensity that he creates in ‘Strange Meeting’. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, December 2013

Recorded live at the Munich Philharmonie in March this year I was fortunate to report from one of the performances. I was struck how adept Jansons and his well prepared forces are with Britten’s tough harmonies and rhythms providing a highly positive response. Jansons is a master at controlling large forces and directs throughout with unyielding assurance. I remain delighted with the contributions of the three excellent soloists who display well contrasted voices and the choirs are on top form too. This compelling performance is quite stunning and it made a considerable impression on me. © 2013 MusicWeb International



Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, November 2013

Jansons’ excellent trio of soloists with the famous Tölzer Knabenchor all provide admirable contributions. In this live recording I was struck by how adept Jansons and his well prepared forces were with Britten’s tough harmonies and rhythms drawing a sharply positive response. Jansons’ chosen speeds feel judicious, providing a moving performance of splendid expressive contrasts that combine to real dramatic effect. Superbly coached by chorus master Michael Gläser the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks is on tip-top form evincing a real feeling for the Latin texts and the Tölzer Knabenchor sound fresh and expressive. Jansons is a master with large forces and directs throughout with assured control. I remain delighted by the contributions of the three excellent soloists who display well contrasted voices. London-born tenor Mark Padmore knows this work well and is highly effective with especially clear diction and he varies his tone splendidly with steadfast control. Christian Gerhaher is one of the finest baritones around today and his performance is movingly expressive, displaying splendid tonal shading. The playing of the chamber group of musicians in their steadfast accompaniment to the pair of male soloists is thoroughly adept. American Emily Magee is a bright-toned soprano…her sincerity for the text is unmistakeable. The sound quality of this live account from the Philharmonie is first class serving Jansons’ performance well.

Without a weak link in his chosen groups of musicians [Jansons] establishes unwavering close control over his forces and generates considerable emotional intensity. Responding powerfully and with conviction the singers penetrate deep to the heart of the texts which emphasise the futility of war. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, November 2013

Both the performance as a whole and the inherent effectiveness of Maestro Jansons’s concept of the War Requiem, as well as his execution thereof, could hardly have such poignant impact without the superb recorded sound provided by BR-Klassik: balances are rendered carefully within a warm, resonant acoustic…

There is indeed much in the singing and playing of the Tölzer Knabenchor and the Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks to applaud. This performance of the War Requiem…confirms that both the choristers and the instrumentalists have absorbed the legacy of decades past and perform on superb form. The BR choristers match the top-quality singing of the Tölzer Knabenchor, maintaining perfect intonation even when direly tested by Britten’s part writing. The choral singing is supported by an awesome account of Britten’s score by the BR Symphonieorchester, every player knowing his or her part and executing it confidently.

Singing the soprano solos…Emily Magee is a tremendous asset in this War Requiem…she sings with power and far greater security than many of the sopranos heard in this music…Mark Padmore fills the tenor lines…with his usual intelligence and plangent tone. In passages in which Britten set the tenor and baritone lines in duet, Mr. Gerhaher complements Mr. Padmore captivatingly.

Britten created an appropriately noble commemoration of the nameless heroes of his own and all times, and this radiant Bayerischen Rundfunks performance reveals that the War Requiem’s musical homage to the unrecorded deeds of those who sacrifice in the pursuit of peace is as inspiring in Munich as in Manchester, Minneapolis, or Manila. © 2013 Voix des Arts Read complete review





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