I have the green box predecessor of these Strauss orchestral works performed by the Staatskapelle Dresden and conducted by Rudolf Kempe. I played it a lot, enjoying it immensely. Sadly, however, my computer attempted to eat the CD that contained Eine Alpensinfonie. So I used that as a justification to acquire this set. And I am so glad!
Not only do I have a pristine recording of Eine Alpensinfonie, I am greatly enjoying the improved sound on all of these recordings. The old box set sounded pretty good, but there is a noticeable improvement in these recordings. I am listening now to Don Quixote, and the clarity is astounding. The cello breathes beguilingly; the horns blat realistically (at the proper moments); strings and woodwinds blend smoothly together in soft and loud passages. And I thought I would get blown away by the high wind in track 10. I was truly astonished at the improvement in sound.
But what of the performances themselves? Kempe and his forces wander elegantly (yet passionately) through Strauss's soundscape. Each section of the orchestra rises to the challenges presented by the ever-changing landscape of the music, conveying the drama behind each tone poem. And first-rate soloists like Paul Tortelier (Don Quixote), Peter Damm (horn concertos), Manfred Clement (oboe), Manfred Weise (clarinet), and Wolfgang Liebscher (bassoon) both blend willingly and soar above the orchestral accompaniment.
This set offers a great introduction to someone who has little, if any, of these pieces. For those who enjoy Strauss but are new to these performances, it offers some compelling performances in excellent sound, and perhaps an opportunity to explore some of the less popular works of Strauss. For those who already own the green box of these performances, I can only say that I am very glad that my computer "encouraged" me to acquire this set.
Strauss doesn't get any better than this!