R. Strauss Archive

HOLST: The Planets; R. STRAUSS: Also sprach Zarathustra – National Youth Orch. of Great Britain; CBSO Youth Chor./ Edward Gardner – Chandos

HOLST: The Planets; R. STRAUSS: Also sprach Zarathustra – National Youth Orch. of Great Britain; CBSO Youth Chor./ Edward Gardner – Chandos

HOLST: The Planets; R. STRAUSS: Also sprach Zarathustra – National Youth Orch. of Great Britain; CBSO Youth Chor./ Edward Gardner – Chandos multichannel SACD Chan 5179, 79:53 (2/17/17) ****: A fresh look at two popular works, in a superb, life-like recording. One is never quite sure what to expect when one hears a ‘youth orchestra’. Often it’s effort over musical proficiency. Not so in this new thrilling recording from Chandos, which features The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the CBSO Youth Chorus, under the baton of Edward Gardner. The disc contains fine renditions of Also sprach Zarathustra and The Planets by Gustav Holst. You might say it is a ‘space age pairing’ because the Strauss has been permanently branded as sci-fi music due to its inclusion in 2001- A Space Odyssey. The Strauss opens with a very deep bass of the C Major chord from a pipe organ, and as the opening unfolds the sound is excellent, as good a Zarathustra as I’ve heard in terms of audio quality. With all that praise, I have to say the Holst is even better. It’s an exciting and detailed performance of The Planets, and the young players negotiate this difficult […]

Bruno Walter – The Complete Columbia Acoustic Recordings – Works of MENDELSSOHN, BERLIOZ, WEBER, WAGNER, & R. STRAUSS – Pristine Audio

Bruno Walter – The Complete Columbia Acoustic Recordings – Works of MENDELSSOHN, BERLIOZ, WEBER, WAGNER, & R. STRAUSS – Pristine Audio

The earliest Bruno Walter records reveal a committed Romantic conductor in music in the German tradition.  Bruno Walter – The Complete Columbia Acoustic Recordings – WEBER: Overture to Der Freischuetz;  MENDELSSOHN: Nocturne from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 61; BERLIOZ: Menuet of the Will-o’-the-Wisps from La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24; WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod; Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg: Prelude, Act III; Goetterdaemmerung: Siegfried’s Rhine Journey; A Siegfried Idyll; R. STRAUSS: Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24 – Royal Philharmonic Orch./ Bruno Walter – Pristine Audio PASC 482, 76:50 [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] ****: Producer and Recording Engineer Mark Obert-Thorn provides the following remarks concerning Bruno Walter’s first efforts for gramophone recordings: “Although Bruno Walter (1876-1962) claimed late in life that he had made his first recordings around 1900, his earliest documented discs date from 1923 when he began a series for Grammophon/Polydor in Berlin, most of which have been reissued on Pristine PASC 142 and PASC 322.  In May 1924, Walter was in London for the first presentation of a German opera season at Covent Garden since the end of the Great War.  That month, he conducted Wagner’s Ring cycle, Tristan und Isolde, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier […]

R. STRAUSS: Suite from Elektra; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Rodzinski) – Pittsburgh SO/ Manfred Honeck – Reference Recordings/ Fresh!

R. STRAUSS: Suite from Elektra; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Rodzinski) – Pittsburgh SO/ Manfred Honeck – Reference Recordings/ Fresh!

R. STRAUSS: Suite from Elektra (arr. Honeck/ Ille); Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Rodzinski) – Pittsburgh SO/ Manfred Honeck – Reference Recordings/ Fresh! multichannel SACD FR-722, 58:33 [Distr. by Naxos] *****: A brilliant performance of both works on this SACD. Ex-Vienna Opera violinist turned outstanding conductor Manfred Honeck is taking his Pittsburgh band down a new road with this unbelievably concise and brilliant arrangement of music from the difficult, astringent opera Elektra. The work has been considered a monumentally difficult piece to cast and pull off for many years, and even though its once-formidable harmonies were considered grating to the ear, today they don’t sound too difficult, even if they are a world away from the opera that followed, Der Rosenkavalier. One of Herbert von Karajan’s initial calling cards was the fact that he managed to conduct Elektra several times before WWII, astoundingly from memory, as he did everything. Honeck has given a lot of thought to the opera, not always simply excising passages and stringing them together in a suite, but evaluating the place of the vocal lines in relationship to the orchestra, and making other changes—in most cases, a thinning out, according to the conductor—to ensure more clarity […]

Monteux at Tanglewood, Vol. 4 – BEETHOVEN: Sym. No. 2; R. STRAUSS: A Hero’s Life – Pristine Audio

Monteux at Tanglewood, Vol. 4 – BEETHOVEN: Sym. No. 2; R. STRAUSS: A Hero’s Life – Pristine Audio

A fourth entry into the Monteux legacy at Tanglewood delivers mirth and heroism, at once. Monteux at Tanglewood, Vol. 4 (1962) – BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36; R. STRAUSS: Ein Heledenleben, Op. 40 – Boston Sym. Orch./ Pierre Monteux – Pristine Audio PASC 481, 72:30 [avail. in various formats from www.pristineclassical.com] ****: Producer Andrew Rose extends his rewarding survey of the Pierre Monteux legacy at Tanglewood, here in 1962, a year in which the famed French maestro appeared six times before his old colleagues of the Boston Symphony. The music of this concert comes to us on 29 July 1962. The reading of the Beethoven Symphony No. 2 (1802) revels in its boundless mirth, despite the fact that at the time of its composition Beethoven felt the first real strains of his oncoming deafness.  The first movement has Monteux’s urging his horns to exploit the ceaseless energy of its sudden injections of buoyant vitality. The strings whirl at dizzy pace, the tympani’s marking the cadences with gusto. Berlioz had claimed that the D Major Symphony smiles in every bar. The peroration that Monteux achieves at the coda becomes breathtaking, symmetrical in its ecstasies to the point […]

Editorial for December 2014

Editorial for December 2014

For this December’s drawing we have one set of the unique PentaTone collection of ten of the top operas by Wagner, with leading Wagnerian soloists and the Rundfunk Symphony and Chorus of Berlin conducted by Marek Janowski. This is the only all-SACD set, consisting of 32 multichannel discs plus a DVD with an interview with Janowski and video excerpts from Götterdämmerung. All the recordings were made live, utilizing the highest technical standards. Conductor Janowski avoided any staging, to allow the music to stay true to its nature. Critics were unanimous in praising the entire set of operas, and there are only 350 such boxes out there. The RSB is Germany’s oldest radio symphony orchestra and R. Strauss, Hindemith and Schönberg have conducted their own works with them. The winner will be chosen from AUDIOPHILE AUDITION readers who register this month using our simple form and will be listed below next month. Here are the two lucky winners of the 45-CD DGG set of the recorded performances by famed conductor Ferenc Fricsay—our November drawing:  Steven Molnar, Hopkinton MA; David Hoehl, Silver Spring MD. EDITORIAL AUDIOPHILE AUDITION began as a local program in San Francisco and then in 1985 as a weekly […]

Editorial for August 2014

Editorial for August 2014

For August Universal and DGG will donate two of their new Karajan/Richard Strauss analog recordings sets consisting of 11 CDs and a Pure Audio Blu-ray. Details Here. The remastered set is released to mark the 25th Anniversary of the conductor’s death and the 150th Anniversary of Richard Strauss (June 2014). All of Karajan’s R. Strauss analog recordings are included, plus his first Strauss digital recording (Alpine Symphony) and the complete Der Rosenkavilier. The two winners of this set will be chosen from among those AUDIOPHILE AUDITION readers who register this month using our simple form. When you register we don’t share any of your information except your address (used only for mailing the discs), and you won’t be receiving emails from anyone else. The two winners’ names will be listed here next month. Here are the three winners of our July drawing—the 14-hrs.-plus Blu-ray set, the EuroArts Classical Archive Collectors’ Edition of video performances by ensembles featuring leading classical artists: Ted Kastelic, San Jose CA; Peter Gayde, Naperville IL; Gabor Legradi, Hattiesburg MS. Congrats to all! ———————————————————————————————————–   EDITORIAL AUDIOPHILE AUDITION began as a local program in San Francisco and then in 1985 as a weekly national radio series hosted by […]