Natalie Dessay, soprano
Ludovic Tézier, baritone
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi
Swedish Radio Choir
Celebrating 80 years of vigorous artistic life with Brahms’ expansive and consoling mass for the dead, Ein deutsches Requiem, the hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) under its Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi, is joined by soprano Natalie Dessay, baritone Ludovic Tézier and the Swedish Radio Choir in an interpretation described as “exemplary” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
In October 2009 the hr-Sinfonieorchester, known internationally as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, celebrated its 80th birthday, with a performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. Under the baton of Paavo Järvi, its Chief Conductor since 2006, it was joined by the Swedish Radio Choir and two of today’s leading French singers, baritone Ludovic Tézier and soprano Natalie Dessay (also a soloist on the 2010 Virgin Classics release of Mahler’s Second Symphony conducted by Järvi with the Frankfurt orchestra).
As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s most respected and influential newspapers said: “The ensemble was founded in October 1929 and today is perhaps in its prime period of artistic focus … Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi has often emphasised what a joy it is for him to work with the orchestra … [His] special interest in Brahms has already been manifest in his interpretations of the symphonies … and with the hr-Sinfonieorchester he succeeded in producing an interpretation that can be described as exemplary. Their intense engagement with the work was characterised by minutely shaded dynamics and finely proportioned sound.”
The reviewer, Harald Budweg, went on to praise the 48-person Swedish Radio Choir, observing that: “This hand-picked ensemble of singers was expressive to the utmost degree, and no less astonishing were its pianissimi, both substantial and immaculate in legato phrases. The elaborately contrapuntal choral passages were of consummate transparency.” Ludovic Tézier produced phrases of “overwhelming beauty” while Natalie Dessay impressed with her capacity for “nuanced expressivity, even in the highest register”.
After the concert, Järvi praised his musicians for the “beauty and sophistication” of their interpretation, while the German magazine for orchestral professionals, Das Orchester, affirmed that the Frankfurt orchestra “sets standards for precision, refinement of sound, a capacity to generate dramatic tension, tightness of ensemble and the quality of its soloists.”