Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (London Version)
If you swooned last week at the Edinburgh International Festival performance of Brahms's Requiem, with its drop-dead gorgeous orchestration and wonderful dark colours, here's something that might intrigue you. In the late 1860s, Brahms wrote a version of the Requiem with piano accompaniment only. It was premiered in 1871 in London (hence the subtitle) in a private performance at the home of one Sir Henry Thompson, whose wife Kate played the piano for the occasion. This French recording of that version, originally issued a decade ago, demonstrates resoundingly the viability of the transcription. It is absolutely superb: they hike up the power by using two pianos, with Boris Berezovsky and Brigitte Engerer doing the keyboard honours. I know many are resistant to transcriptions but, trust me, this is Brahms's own work, and it is phenomenally effective. Of course there is no orchestral palette; but this fantastic performance by Laurence Equilbey's superb choir Accentus really works. It has all the depth and character. I love it.