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last updated: 04/11/2015

Aribert Reimann (*1936)

Christiane Oelze, soprano
Leipziger Streichquartett

MDG 307 1921-2


Youthful, optimistic, with a positive outlook on life: this is how we imagine Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Aribert Reimann took a closer look and formed a completely different picture of Mendelssohn. The title of his collection of songs by the genial early romanticist is a quotation from one of the Heine texts set by Mendelssohn and quite significantly refers to death: "... oder soll es Tod bedeuten?" Christiane Oelze teams up with the Leipzig String Quartet on this moving and unsettling program reflecting an existential experience of life covering the entire spectrum of the romantic emotional world.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Secular Vocal Quartets with Piano
Vol. 2

Liebesliederwalzer op. 52
Neue Liebesliederwalzer op. 65

Norddeutscher Figuralchor
Jörg Straube, conductor

MDG 947 1920-6


Brahms and love - now just what was or was not going on? He surely was infatuated with his patroness Clara Schumann for many years, but a more obvious "affair" is often overlooked. He was attracted to none other than Schumann's daughter Julie and - completely contrary to his custom - dedicated the Schumann Variations to her. He composed the Liebeslieder-Walzer under the influence of this evidently upright relationship. The fact that the Alto Rhapsody followed after what for Brahms was its surprising and unhappy ending shows how serious the supposed loner took it. By contrast, the Liebeslieder-Walzer became a sales hit already during the composer's lifetime - which is hardly surprising when one listens to this new recording with the Norddeutscher Figuralchor led by the conductor Jörg Straube!

Hugo Kaun (1863-1932)
Chamber Music

Octet op. 26, Quintet op. 26, Quintet op. 39

Berolina Ensemble

MDG 948 1937-6


Hugo Kaun? Nie gehört! Dabei hatte der gebürtige Berliner Kaun Hugo Kaun? Never heard of him! During his lifetime, however, the Berlin-born Kaun enjoyed considerable success as a composer and as an esteemed choir director - though in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, far from the capitals of European music culture. The Berolina Ensemble is now initiating his long-overdue rediscovery. His Octet, Piano Quintet, and String Quintet No. 1 display an independent character skillfully bringing together the traditions of German romantic music to form a very original expressive style.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
The Violin Sonatas

Stephan Schardt, violin
Philipp Vogler, piano

MDG 903 1916-6


Philipp Vogler and Stephan Schardt have conducted a daring experiment on three sonatas for piano and violin by Johannes Brahms, presenting these works on an original grand piano from the famous workshop of Johann Baptist Streicher, known to be the composer's special favorite, and a violin strung with mere gut strings. What initially seemed to be an iffy undertaking has now produced a successful result: never has Brahms been heard with such great transparency and yet so full of bouncy and dynamic energy!

Gottfried Homilius (1714-1785)
Sacred Motets

Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max, conductor

MDG 602 0145-2


More than thirty years ago Hermann Max and the Rheinische Kantorei recorded some motets by the then almost completely forgotten Gottfried August Homilius for MDG. At the time nobody could have imagined that this pioneering effort of his would mark the beginning of a genuine renaissance for the Bach pupil Homilius. The production released on vinyl has not been available for many years, which makes the carefully prepared CD new release of this historic treasure from the MDG archive all the more welcome.