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A rare commercial recording of the Brahms Requiem with the composer’s own piano duet accompaniment, sung in a revised version of the English translation which he authorised, should be a welcome addition to the catalogue; but I’m afraid this isn’t the one for me. Chicago- based professional choir Bella Voce prides itself on its English cathedral-style clean sound, but in the first two movements this means they are not well balanced with the overly dominant piano duet, which for me lacks both warmth and momentum; and their diction is not always clear. Baritone soloist Hugh Russell is the star of the disc, declaiming the text with clarity and passion, and inspiring the choir to match him in the third and fifth movements.

CLARE STEVENS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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