Battle of the Berlin Philharmonic Grammy Winners

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sir Simon Rattle (Photo by Monika Rittershaus – License Creative Commons)

This coming Saturday is our next Carnegie Hall Live broadcast featuring Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection.

For today’s Showdown, we offered a choice of three Grammy-winning performances by Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic: Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (2000 Grammy winner for best orchestral performance), Brahms’s German Requiem (2008 Grammy winner for best choral performance), or Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (2007 Grammy winner for best choral performance).

Brahms was the front-runner all morning. We played his German Requiem at noon.


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp Minor. (Not the Berlin Philharmonic)

Johannes Brahms: German Requiem, Op. 45. (Not the Berlin Philharmonic)

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms. (Not the Berlin Philharmonic)

Comments [28]


The Brahms! The most sublime choral work EVER. The words are all from the Bible--just beautiful.

Feb. 22 2012 07:13 PM
Diane from NJ

Since it is Ash Wednesday, the Requiem sems most appropriate to me.

Feb. 22 2012 11:57 AM

I vote for the Brahms German Requiem, which may be the most moving choral work ever written. More spiritual than conventionally religious, and written for all those who mourn the passing of a loved one, it is particularly poignant for Brahms's insertion of the movement for soprano solo shortly after the death of his mother.

Feb. 22 2012 11:57 AM
Suzanne Rohr

Brahm's German Requiem is divine!

Feb. 22 2012 11:33 AM
philip merwin from Long Island

Nothing else, for me, has the power of the Brahms

Feb. 22 2012 11:26 AM
Harry Buschman from New York

I'd go for the Mahler.

Feb. 22 2012 11:23 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Without a doubt, Mahler gets my vote. It's about time you decided to play something during the day that runs over an hour! Since you are now a public radio station and not bound by the time constraints imposed by commercial ads, I would have thought we would hear longer works more often, but so far, I have been disappointed. Perhaps this particular Showdown offering signals a change. Can I hope to hear a Bruckner symphony soon?

Feb. 22 2012 10:53 AM
HYH from Purchase, NY

Oh my.....all 3 are great choices. Never a time when I cannot hear Mahler and in the last symphony you really get to hear new directions he was going harmonically. LOVE the Brahms Requiem and can never hear that enough times. But, the Stravinsky -- I have not heard that piece in a very long time and remember truly enjoying it. So, I'm voting for the Stravinsky, although, would it be so terrible to play all 3 pieces?

Feb. 22 2012 10:47 AM
stanb from nyc

I agree with Joy. This shouldn't be turned into a philosophiclal discussion.

Feb. 22 2012 10:46 AM
noel manning

I love this program!

Feb. 22 2012 10:42 AM
Harriet B from Bayside, NY

Since a whole Mahler symphony can be a bit tedious, and I don't really like Stravinsky, I far prefer the Brahms.

Feb. 22 2012 10:39 AM

@Steve Perrett from CT

Good eye/ear. The correct video is up now.

Feb. 22 2012 10:38 AM
Jde bary from Kerny, NJ

All the choices are fantastic... my preference go to the Brahms German Requiem - Thank you WQXR:)

Feb. 22 2012 10:33 AM

The task is not to choose who is to live and who two to get executed. This is a game without grave consequences and implications. So let us play it. This contest is the last think to complain about WQXR, whose taste and sense of sequence, structure and rhythm fails more often than not lately.

Feb. 22 2012 10:24 AM
Jim Bosco from Kalamazoo, Michigan

I am hoping for a tie of all three cause I would love to hear all of them. Hope you play the "loosers!!!!" soon.

Feb. 22 2012 10:12 AM
ramon from New York City, that is, Manhattan

my guess is that the often overrated mahler will be chosen, but my vote is cast in stone for Ein deutsches Requiem

Feb. 22 2012 10:10 AM
Monnie from BROOKLYN, NY

MAHLER by a mile.

Feb. 22 2012 10:08 AM
Steve from Manhattan

The German Requiem please! This piece sounds as if it were written in heaven.

Feb. 22 2012 10:01 AM
Flute Lady from Manhattan

First of all, your site is telling me that I've "already entered this survey" - not true! Oh well....My vote would be for the Stravinsky. I performed it years ago with the Zamir Chorale and although I didn't love it, I always welcome the chance for another hearing of a piece about which I'm a little ambivalent. I've often come to like a piece better after several hearings.

Feb. 22 2012 09:59 AM
Michael Meltzer

The vote is not at all an indication of what the public wants, unless "Please play all three" is a fourth option. The presumption here is that for some reason there is limited time. There is NOT limited time when works acknowledged by WQXR to be masterpieces are in question, as some of the questionable new issues that take air time are, for instance.

Feb. 22 2012 09:50 AM
Steve Perrett from CT

Folks, you've got the wrong Mahler Symphony among the listening choices on the website. I'm hearing the Adagietto from Symphony 5

Feb. 22 2012 09:38 AM
Richard Brode from Greenwich Village

So, a "Public" radio station should not be in the business of asking the "Public" what they'd like to hear?

Which part of "Public" isn't quite understood? WQXR asks for opinions in all sorts of way - including the most basic, that is, from the pocket. And I have to admit that "Showdown" is the most fun. It's a great way to learn what turns on the listeners who are tuned in.

WQXR - keep it going! (And, by the way, for me it's the Requiem. Just sublime!)

Feb. 22 2012 09:22 AM
Judith from Brookline, MA

Ms. Darby,
Mr. Meltzer isn't saying anything that hasn't already been said on countless Wednesdays since WQXR became a public radio station; he's just couching his remarks in general terms instead of being specific to the three choices on offer.

Feb. 22 2012 09:19 AM
KRISS from New Jersey

I vote for the Brahms Requiem. It's Ash Wednesday, so a requiem is most appropriate today.

Feb. 22 2012 09:15 AM
Chris Richardson

I personally believe that the showdown at high noon is great fun for all the listeners. Thank you WQXR.

Feb. 22 2012 08:58 AM
Michael Meltzer

MS. Darby:
If you have a musical opinion, express it. If you want to be gross and stupid, go to Craig's list, you'll have plenty of company.

Feb. 22 2012 08:12 AM

come on, michael, lighten up . . try a laxative. you'll feel better

Feb. 22 2012 07:59 AM
Michael Meltzer

A public radio station should not be in the business of the narrowing of quality choices. Simply find the time for all three.
At the same time you try to give the listeners the illusion they are running things. Is that honest?

Feb. 22 2012 07:38 AM

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