With their Howard Hodgkin cover images, John Eliot Gardiner's series of Brahms symphonies may be the most beautiful items in the CD racks.
On the concluding volume of Ein Deutsches Requiem, the music is at least as sumptuous. The requiem is preceded by two pieces by one of his influences, the 17th-century composer Heinrich Schütz; both share Biblical textual extracts with Brahms' longer work, notably the "Selig sind die Toten," which in the seventh movement brings Ein Deutsches Requiem to a sublime, beatific repose. Gardiner's forces are marshalled with care, the Monteverdi Choir as uplifting as on his series of Bach Cantatas, while the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique lives up to its name in its emotional subtlety.
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