Brahms beauty in the face of despair

Robin Ticciati and Alice Coote bring out the darkness and consolation in Brahms' Music for Voice and Orchestra

Composer: Brahms 
Repertoire: Music for Voice and Orchestra
Artists: Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano), Bavarian Radio Chorus, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Robin Ticciati
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Vocal/Orchestral
Label: Tudor 7167

These performances of Brahms in his most pessimistic vein are best taken one by one if the listener wishes to avoid being overcome by depression. Nänie is about the evanescence of beauty; the Song of the Fates and the Song of Destiny treat of man’s helplessness as the plaything of the gods; and the Alto Rhapsody describes the misery of a traveller in a remote landscape. All are fine pieces, though Brahms rather overdoes the dactyls (long-short-short) in the Song of the Fates. Robin Ticciati’s evocation of both darkness and consolation is unerring as is Alice Coote’s in the Alto Rhapsody.