All the previously available recordings of Richard Strauss's DER ROSENKAVALIER are flawed in some way - at least one weak cast members in a key role, or flaccid conducting or poor sound. And all the complete sets except historical ones with really terriible sound are pretty expensive. This 1978 live recording from the Salzburg Festival has probably the best cast assembled ever in the era of decent recordings and that sound is really remarkably good for a live performance. The Vienna Philharmonic (who have this music in their bones) play like angels and the conducting by Christoph von Dohnanyi is sensitive and wonderfully idiomatic. But above all there is the cast. Gundula Janowitz (Feldmarschallin), Yvonne Minton (Octavian) and Lucia Popp (Sophie) all at the height of their powers and on top form. Kurt Moll deligthtful as Baron Ochs, really winging the role even while ectracintg humour from it (so many just bark it). Down the line you get Doris Soffel as Annina, and - wait for it - Luciano Pavarotti as the Italian Singer. At a third of the price of most of the complete recordings, this is just an amazing bargain.