15 MAY 08 VIVIEN SCHWEITZER
The recording earlier this year of Michael Gandolfi's The Garden of the Cosmic Speculation highlighted Robert Spano's respected ability as a champion of new music. Now, a lustrous recording of Brahms's ethereal Ein Deutsches Requiem demonstrates his facility with standard repertoire.
These are the first and second of three recordings Telarc is releasing this year by Spano, now in his seventh season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, to mark the label's 30th anniversary.
Brahms, who eschewed traditional religious conventions, wrote the requiem after the deaths of his mother and Robert Schumann, his mentor. The profound spirituality of the requiem manifests itself in a tranquil and peaceful score, rather than in turbulent pleas for salvation.
Robert Shaw founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus in 1970 and developed it into a first rate ensemble during his lengthy tenure at its helm. Shaw, who recorded the Requiem for Telarc in 1983 and died in 1999, would surely be proud of this latest and luminous effort by his choir.
With strong support from the orchestra and able contributions from the baritone Mariusz Kwiecien and the soprano Twyla Robinson, Spano captures the monumental climaxes and grace of this transcendent work.