Liebeslieder & Walzer
Featured works: "Liebeslieder," 18 waltzes for chorus and piano four hands, Op. 52 (1868/69); "Walzer," 16 waltzes for piano four hands, Op. 39 (1865); "Neue Liebeslieder," 15 waltzes for chorus and piano four hands, Op. 65 (1874/75). Performed by GrauSchumacher Piano Duo, WDR Rundfunkchor Köln/Rupert Huber. "The present interpretation fulfills in a special way Brahms' desire to produce a work that unites music not far removed from folk origins with formal ingenuity. The conductor, the singers and the pianists lend this recording a remarkable authenticity, their music-making pointed up by the declamatory phrasing and articulation of the waltz: its melodic gesture is underlined by the traditional acceleration and holding back of tempo, something that lends the internal structure meaningful form and which helps the piece divest itself of any tub-thumping amateurism. A most apposite sound world is conjured up too by the generous but transparent colors of the historic Erard grand, built in 1839 and one of the many still playable keyboard instruments belonging to the piano collection of the WDR. It is these components that most convincingly demonstrates the claim by Brahms on music that 'is eternal,' the present performance confirming these waltzes -- pieces which are cast of course in a small form -- as character pieces, elevating them on occasion to the status of works which hold up a mirror to the soul." Stereo/multichannel hybrid SACD that can be played on any CD player.