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R Strauss: Orchestral Works [Box set]

Richard Strauss , Rudolf Kempe , Staatskapelle Dresden , Peter Damm , Manfred Clement , et al. Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 75.99
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Product details

  • Performer: Peter Damm, Manfred Clement, Manfred Weise, Wolfgang Liebscher
  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Rudolf Kempe
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (18 Oct 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000026D4K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,503 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

When it comes to the music of Richard Strauss, none of the world's great orchestras has a more distinguished tradition than the Staatskapelle Dresden. As pit orchestra of the Dresden Court Opera, the Staatskapelle was involved in the premieres, between 1901 and 1911, of Feuersnot, Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier; later, with Karl Böhm conducting, its players participated in the premiere of Daphne. Most of Strauss's major tone poems have been in the Dresden orchestra's concert repertory since completion. Back in the 1970s, EMI was able to capitalise on this association when it reunited the Staatskapelle with Rudolf Kempe--a native of Dresden, one of the master conductors of the 20th century, and an absolutely authoritative Straussian--for an integral recording of Strauss's orchestral works and concertos. The cycle was warmly received when it was originally released on LP, and it has become one of the treasures of the CD catalogue since EMI reissued it whole, in three volumes, in 1992. With this latest repackaging, the whole impressive enterprise becomes available in one box.

Across the board, Kempe and the Dresdeners give magnificent readings of the music. Their Zarathustra is imposing and grand; their Heldenleben suitably heroic and quite smashingly played; their Till Eulenspiegel and Don Juan delightfully brisk, characterful, and exultant (the latter is dispatched in a blazing 16:06, and receives as ardent and exhilarating a reading as you are ever likely to encounter on disc). One of the finest of all the offerings is the account of Eine Alpensinfonie, a Kempe favourite and still a sonic knock-out after nearly three decades.

The less familiar orchestral works are here, as well, including the early tone poems Aus Italien and Macbeth and the admittedly rather frothy ballet scores Josephslegende and Schlagobers. Of special value are the accounts of all Strauss's concerted works, from the early Violin Concerto (played by Ulf Hoelscher) and Burleske for piano and orchestra (with Malcolm Frager as soloist), through Don Quixote (featuring Paul Tortelier in magisterial form) and the two horn concertos, to the Oboe Concerto of 1946 and the final Duett-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon. It's hard to imagine any label tackling such a project in today's bottom-line environment, or coming up with such definitive readings from today's performers. All the more reason to celebrate the appearance of this compendium. --Ted Libbey

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate 10 Dec 1999
By A Customer
These performances by a great Strauss orchestra led by one of the finest Strauss conductors are admirable: perceptive, imaginative and wonderfully played. The price of the re-issue is competitive and the collection as a whole deserves 5 stars. Buyers looking for the popular Strauss tone poems will be more than satisfied, and they also have the chance to explore his lesser-known concertos. If there is a reservation, it's on the technical side. Many of these discs were transferred from (great sounding) analogue to CD in the mid 80s. EMI's transfer standard has improved a lot since then and I am certain that better results could be obtained from the master tapes. However, using the old transfers has meant that EMI has kept the price down, so it is a matter of swings and roundabouts. This is a really excellent collection for the money.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without Doubt The Best Strauss Collection 26 April 2003
There is no finer collection of Strauss's orchestral works than this; although Karjan is a strong contender. This fine box set contains superlative interpretations of Tod und Verklarung and Eine Alpensinfonie. Listen particularly to the Waterfall and Apparition scenes in Eine Alpensinfonie; this is playing of authoritarian stature. The brass is bold and masterly, the percussion gloriously audible (in a lot of recordings it comes across quietly) and of course Kempe's pacing and command take the listener into a glorious world.
The recordings are clear and glorious in tone and depth. This collection is a must for all Richard Strauss fans. It is easy to see why Rudolf Kempe and the Staatskapelle Dresden are authoritarian Strauss interpreters; the scores are given a sonic depth on an almost cosmic scale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reissued at budget price 21 April 2010
I agree completely with the enthusiastic reviews here - this is an outstnding set. You may like to know that it has been issued by Brilliant Classics at budget price Richard Strauss: Orchestral Works making it an unmissable bargain, in my view.
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