top
Brahms | Ein Deutsches Requiem
Johannes Brahms

Brahms | Ein Deutsches Requiem

Hervé Niquet / Flemish Radio Choir

Label: Evil Penguin
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917720525
barcode
Catalog number: EPRC 0019
Releasedate: 25-09-15
- Brahm's Requiem addresses all mankind with a message of hope and comfort.

- On this recording, acclaimed conductor Hervé Niquet fuses his Flemish Radio Choir and Brussels Philharmonic in a concentrated and intense performance, which brings out the expressive and rhetorical essence of music which is at once grand and intimate.

-  Hervé Niquet:  "Under his giant white beard, Brahms is a man of the theatre and “Requiem” his best opera!"
Lore Binon, soprano
Tassis Christoyannis, baritone
With his German Requiem, Johannes Brahms rose up to the challenge Robert Schumann had set his young protégé “to direct his magic wand where the massed forces of chorus and orchestra would lend him their power”. The result was a masterpiece which deviates from traditional Requiem horrors to address all mankind with a message of hope and comfort. On this recording, acclaimed conductor Hervé Niquet fuses his Flemish Radio Choir and Brussels Philharmonic in a concentrated and intense performance, which brings out the expressive and rhetorical essence of music which is at once grand and intimate.
________________________
Hervé Niquet:
I have some scruples in writing the following lines on Brahms and his Requiem, for the literature on these topics is so unbelievably rich. All musicologists, musicians, writers, and critics seem to have praised, admired, analysed, dissected, considered, conceptualised, figured out, and reinvented this work…
And yet, the cross-fertilization of my familiarity with these over-conducted lines, and my passion for rhetoric and symbolism, has urged me to start from afresh, and revisit this music through the accumulated experience with composers from bygone ages, in which rhetoric and symbolism represented the responses to questions which often were too complex or intellectual. My God, it was so simple, so inspiring, and so fertile to explain to the musicians the meaning of each motive, the function and place of each stone in the edifice, without letting ourselves be overwhelmed by a museum-prone approbation which would have moved us to speak sadly and to slow down the train…
Respect for the elementary sense of the text and the vocalism of each phrase have guided us to a simplicity far removed from the patina, which often conceals this Requiem. Once this simple humility is acknowledged, a gentleness suddenly invades each phrase. And then it is pivotal to recognize that there is no sadness on these pages, but an unspeakable kindness immersed in tender melancholy. No sentimentality whatsoever, but a mild enrapture upon happening on each memory Brahms believed to be buried. And please no decorum: this is a concert piece foreign to all incense and mausoleum.
Brahms relies on his musicians not to engage in any liturgical service, but to play a mordant narrative instead. As in the opera, or at a lied recital with an orchestra – light and etheric – or a flesh-and-blood choir terracing the auditorium, unsure whether it should cry or rejoice. Under his giant white beard, Brahms is a man of the theatre. “Requiem” is his best opera!
 
Hervé Niquet, chief conductor of the Flemish Radio Choir as of 2011, is a passionate musician like most of the composers of Baroque music whose works he enjoys. He studied not only harpsichord, piano and organ, but also the lyric arts and conducting. He considers the musical profession from a researcher’s perspective, and thus gives priority to primary sources in order to move beyond established conventions and customs. The experience he garnered from working with several major Baroque ensembles laid the basis for his special connection with the French ‘Grand Motet’ of the 17th and 18th centuries.

His great desire to bring new life to this unknown repertoire resulted in 1987 in the establishment of Le Concert Spirituel. Over twenty years, this ensemble has become the reference point for Baroque music.

In the same spirit, and starting from the principle that over the centuries there has been only one ‘French music’, Hervé Niquet conducts various eminent orchestras, including the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Sinfonia Varsovia, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Rias Kammerchor, the Kammerorchester Basel, and Brussels Philharmonic.

In 2009, he participated in the foundation of the Centre de musique romantique française, also known as Palazzetto Bru Zane in Venice. This led, among other things, to a prestigious project in collaboration with the Brussels Philharmonic and with the Flemish Radio Choir: a CD collection with music from the Prix de Rome and rarely performed works from the French Romantic repertoire. The first CD of the series is devoted to Debussy (2009), the second volume consists of neglected works by Saint-Saëns (2010), the third disc features the work of Charpentier (2011) and the fourth volume (2012) is dedicated to d’Ollone. In the meantime, new series have been launched featuring portraits of composers and French opera (Joncières’ Dmitri and David’s Herculanum).

Hervé Niquet has been made Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.