Works of R. STRAUSS-LISZT-KORNGOLD-BUSONI-SCHREKER: (TrackList follows) – Orch. de la Suisse Romande/ Kazuki Yamada – PENTATONE multichannel SACD PTC 5186518, 65:00 (6/10/14) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
This is a recent release on the Pentatone label of a well-played collection of dance music with conductor Kazuki Yamada and the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande. It’s a dramatic and dynamic recording in 5.0 surround, and well- designed to get listeners engaged.
Many of the pieces performed will already reside in many collectors’ collections, but the performance and recording are noteworthy enough to give this disc more than a passing listen.
The only outlier here is the all-too-often passed-over Erich Wolfgang Korngold. We get a fine performance of Straussiana, composed in 1953. Korngold lived in two worlds, as a film composer and a classical composer, with noteworthy scores for some Errol Flynn films, and he is noted for a symphony and some concertos. Straussiana resulted from an American commission for a youth orchestra, and the work is a well-scored tribute to Strauss and beautifully rendered by the Suisse Romande.
The other lesser known work is Ein Tanzspeil by Franz Schreker. Schreker mainly composed operas. During his peak, which coincided with the peak of the Weimar Republic, he was often performed and compared to Richard Strauss, but over time he lost favor as anti-Semitism rose in Germany. His dance music is a welcome addition to this disc.
The recording was done at the Victoria hall in Geneva, Switzerland. It is an outstanding recording with orchestra balances, extended frequency response, and respect for the acoustic space all done perfectly. The bass is tight without ever sounding tubby, and the strings are smooth and never grating.
In the early days of stereo this collation might have been billed as a ‘dance spectacular’. It’s a fine collection, and gets enough off the well trodden path to be interesting. Recommended!
- Richard Strauss
Salome, Op. 54
- Franz Liszt
Two Episodes from Lenau’s Faust, S110/2
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold
- Ferruccio Busoni
Tanz-Walzer, Op. 53
- Franz Schreker
Ein Tanzspiel (1908, orchestrated 1920)
- Richard Strauss
Der Rosenkavalier, op. 59 (1946)