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CHAN 10215
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CHAN 10215
Choral Works Volume 3

Brahms: Choral Works, Vol. 3

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Stefan Parkman

Gerd Albrecht

Anna Larsson


Stig Andersen


Danish National Symphony Choir


Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen


Chris Hazell


Jorn Jacobsen

Record Label



Total Time - 63:08
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Choral Works Volume 3



Select Complete Single Disc for
  Choral Works, Volume 3  

Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89

  (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)  

Rhapsody, Op. 53*

  (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)  
  for Contralto, Male Chorus and Orchestra  

Rinaldo, Op. 50†

  Cantata by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  
  for Tenor Solo, Male Chorus and Orchestra  
3 Allegro. Chorus: 'Zu dem Strande! Zu der Barke!' - 5:29
4 Poco adagio: Rinaldo: 'Stelle her der goldnen Tag Paradiese' - 14:24
5 Allegretto non troppo. Chorus: 'Zurück nur! Zurücke' - 2:14
6 Andante con moto e poco agitato. Rinaldo: 'Zum zweiten Male' - 10:02
7 Allegro. Auf dem Meere. Chorus: 'Segel schwellen' - 6:53
This superb programme combines the beautiful Alto Rhapsody with the much more rarely performed Gesang der Parzen and the cantata Rinaldo – a work which gives us some idea of how a Brahms opera would have sounded.

This is the third and final volume of Brahms’s works for chorus and orchestra, performed by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under its distinguished Principal Conductor, Gerd Albrecht.

Chandos’ association with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has produced many highly acclaimed recordings.

Though Goethe called Rinaldo a ‘ballad’, it is a dramatic scena written explicitly for musical setting, and develops an episode from Tasso’s magico-fantastical epic of the Crusades, Gerusalemme liberata (1581). The paladin Rinaldo, bewitched by the enchantress Armida, has abandoned the siege of Jerusalem to languish on her magical island. His fellow-knights have followed him there and implore him to return to the Crusade. The poem dramatises how they break down the hero’s dream of love and indolence on the enchanted isle, and win his reluctant acquiescence. The seemingly episodic form lends Brahms’s cantata the character of an extended series of songs. The form is balanced at either end by the impressive orchestral prelude and the magnificent concluding chorus which is the work’s crowning glory.

The text for Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody is three stanzas extracted from Goethe’s poem Harzreise im Winter, about a young man mentally unbalanced by grief who seeks solitude in the wilderness. Brahms was rightly proud of the work’s compactness of expression, sombre beauty and discreet textural complexities.

Brahms’s last choral work with orchestra is seldom performed, possibly because it lacks even the ambiguous hint of comfort that ends his Hölderlin setting of the Schicksalslied. The text is taken from the monologue of the Priestess in Goethe’s drama Iphigenie auf Tauris. It is likely that Brahms set this story of the arbitrary judgements of indifferent gods in response to a series of personal tragedies, not least the loss of various members of the Schumann family to whom he was very close. The work is one of his most powerful, compressed and monumental expressions of tragic grandeur.

'And in the deeply pessimistic 1882 Song of the Fates, for six-part mixed chorus and large orchestra, Albrecht's urgent direction, the quality of the singing and playing and an excellent recording combine to make a powerful impression.'
BBC Music Magazine

The Alto Rhapsody, best known of the works on this disc, reveals Brahms at his most inspired. Many great contraltos and mezzo-sopranos have left their personal, individual accents on its solo part' Even in such company, Anna Larson acquits herself with distinction in a fine modern performance
International Record Review

C Richards

S Chilcott