Yet another invaluable broadcast recording from the seemingly inexhaustible Toscanini archives finds its way onto a splendid sounding Guild Toscanini Broadcast Legacy edition. This time, the maestro turns his attention to the broad sweep and majesty of the Brahms German Requiem, surely one of the most beautiful works of the Romantic period.
The work is sung in English and this does not deter the concentration in the least as the 1943 sound is indeed very good for its age with the choir's elucidation very well projected. Toscanini conducts with an iron grip on proceedings with the massive "Behold, all flesh is as the grass" sounding pretty foreboding and penetrating at the same time. The pensive moments of the work are also very well conceived and shaped with the haunting 'Blessed are the dead' providing a rapt conclusion.
Both Herbert Janssen and Vivian Della Chiesa are assured and fine soloists although they are nothing to exalt excessively over. Richard Caniell again provides an excellent recording, keeping just the right balance between the original sonics and judicious technical intervention. Altogether, this is an indispensable addition to this magnificent collection of Toscanini recordings.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech