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Last Concerts, The (Strauss) [Double CD, Import]

Philharmonia Orchestra , Richard Strauss , BBC Symphony Orchestra , Alfred Blumen Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £20.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Richard Strauss
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (24 Nov 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD, Import
  • Label: Testament
  • ASIN: B001NB7XJ6
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Don Juan, Poème symphonique op.20 - Burleske - Sinfonia domestica op.53 - Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche op.28 / Alfred Blumen, piano - Philharmonia Orchestra - BBC Symphony Orchestra - Richard Strauss, direction

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious fragments of a unique musical event 19 July 2012
Verified Purchase
Being moved to rate this wonderful set of recordings at five stars, I should in all fairness begin with a caveat. THREE OUT OF THE FOUR PIECES PRESENTED HERE ARE NOT ACTUALLY COMPLETE! I was not aware of this when I made the purchase (for the primary purpose of acquiring the Sinfonia Domestica, sadly one of the three), but was so captivated by what I did acquire that I was happy to overlook the missing bars of music and enjoy the recordings simply as a priceless archive.

The partial recordings of the Sinfonia, Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel appear to have survived by sheer accident, having been recorded off a live radio broadcast by sound engineer Kenneth Leech, presumably for his own private enjoyment. The reason for the gaps is that the recordings were made on a series of acetate discs, each with a capacity of approximately five minutes, which had to be changed several times mid-recording. The gaps are not large - one can imagine the urgency with which Mr Leech must have worked to get each new blank disc up and running - and the surviving material is worth every bit of the effort. More recent recording expertise has served to improve the quality of sound considerably (two tracks of untreated original sound recording are supplied here for very telling comparison), and the genius of the composer/conductor shines splendidly through the inevitable remaining limitations (it is remarkable how much energy the octogenarian Strauss was able to command in the present reproduction of his music; all the more so when one considers his famous economy of technique).

It may be simply that I am better acquainted with Don Juan than with the other works on these CDs, but it is this piece that I personally feel sounds best overall.
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