This charming disc presents a comprehensive selection of Brahms’s secular choral music. Through his professional activities, Brahms had a continuous interest in producing music for choirs, as well as profound insight into their capabilities. His impressive output of a cappella sacred choruses and motets makes learned and creative reference to such Baroque masters as Gabrieli, Schütz and Bach. Yet Brahms was equally adept in the traditions of the unaccompanied Romantic choral song, the Chorlied, following the lead of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann, and adapting the form to his own characteristic ends. He also wrote a large number of vocal duets and quartets with piano accompaniment, including the popular Zigeunerlieder, which are testimony to his extraordinary fascination for gypsy music and its fertilizing effect on his style.
Selections from these secular forms are performed by the professional chamber choir Consortium, conducted by Andrew-John Smith, who will be familiar to Hyperion listeners from his acclaimed recording of .