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R. Strauss: Orchestral Works [Box set]

Rudolf Kempe Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 24.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Rudolf Kempe
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (18 Nov 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: PLG UK Classics
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,850 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the only really great Strauss conductor? 20 Dec 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Rudolf Kempe was one of those great unsung conductors who seemed to have a special relationship to orchestras wherever he conducted. Never a superstar, his supreme musicianship said it all! His sad death at the age of 65 was a great loss. Many of us remember EMI's decision to record the complete orchestral works of Richard Strauss in the early 1970's and we all dutifully collected the four boxes of LPs and were suitably amazed by the extraordinary bonding of Kempe and the Dresden Staatskapelle with its famous association with the composer himself. Strauss was never a satisfactory composer to have on LP as all too often the music necessitated a side change in the middle which virtually ruined Ein Heldenleben and An Alpine Symphony amongst several pieces. Once these famous recordings were transferred to CD the problem resolved itself. In virtually every performance, Kempe proves himself a master who brings to life Strauss's wonderful flamboyant scores. they are such natural performances without an ounce of egotistic distortion. I have yet to listen to all 9 CDs but have managed the Waltz sequence from Rosenkavalier and music from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and loved every minute of them as clearly the orchestra and conductor were totally enjoying themselves - there is real communication here! I remember the previous remastering of these recordings for EMI and thought they were a little dehydrated. This new production by Warner Classics is dated 2013 and claims to be newly mastered from the original tapes. If so, I would deem the remastering a success - great stereo spread, the reverberation of the LukasKirche remains and the whole set is very well balanced. Read more ›
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It goes without saying that these are superb interpretations and the playing first rate. However, I wish that I could say the same about these new re-masterings. I have copies of some of the original LPs of these recordings as well as the limited edition nine CD set from 1993 and in comparing them with these new incarnations I would say the new re-masterings come out very much as second best. There has been a reduction of tape hiss and some extraneous noises have been removed. However, this has resulted in a significant loss of the sense of the acoustic space and a less transparent and more opaque sound. Tonally too the timbre of instruments, particularly violins, seem (for want of a better word) thicker resulting in a fatter, bloated sound. I found the experience of listening to these wonderful interpretations very disappointing indeed. If you have the previous editions of these recordings my recommendation would be not to bother upgrading.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Ultrarunner TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Kempe was born in Dresden 1910 and died in Zurich 1976.(Reviews of the CD's further on.)According to Lebrecht,"Beecham who was ungenerous to colleagues, rated Kempe very highly." When you listen to Kempe conducting these orchestra works with the Staats Kapelle Dresden,you can hear he understands how to treat Strauss's sublime melodies which is the mark of a true Straussian.Fritz Reiner who knew Strauss well,was also an excellent conductor of Richards work.But as an old man,Strauss conducted his work with minimal movement of his hands to produce fast tempo's.

The box set is small and the lid opens up and you can place CDs in them,while waiting to play them.A picture of a young Strauss is on the front of the box with light blue on the fringes of the box set.On the back are CD numbers and pieces to be played.The sleeve is exactly like the front of the box with the CD number in light blue,and the back is light grey.On the back is the music to be played and track numbers,plus CD numbers. The larger Strauss opera box is orange,and the orchestral box light blue, because blue and orange are complimentary colours.They have almost the same tonal values.The CDs are black as in the Opera box set.The booklet only has an essay on Kempe.The sound is excellent.I use a 20 year old digital 3 disc tray Sharp CD player to listen to CDs.The sound it produces is better then anything made now.I am not sure why.The Strauss CDs are newly remastered from the original source tapes.I cannot find any sound problems with them as mentioned in the other review.I have been collecting for over 50 years,and know a good remastered CD from a bad one.One would,as I collect singers of the past and they are always remastered.For example, Ponselle singing Violetta in the 1935 Met La Traviata.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it 9 Mar 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you love Richard Strauss and the various Tone Poems and Orchestral works - buy this; just order it and buy it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated sonics for the venerable Kempe recordings 17 Jan 2014
By aheft04 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The recordings here require little introduction, as they have remained in the catalog since their inception in the 1970s. This 2013 release contains the latest sonic facelift for these recordings, and they do sound noticeably better (read: less veiled) on quality headphones when compared to the 1999 green EMI box collection Strauss: Orchestral Works. I have not heard the 2008 Brilliant Classics release Richard Strauss: Orchestral Works, but presumably that was simply a re-release of the same remastering in the 1999 EMI box as is often the case with Brilliant Classics. This newest 2013 release is highly recommended for those coming to these recordings for the first time, somewhat less so if you already possess one of the previous releases and do not own at least Mid-Fi audio equipment.

Of note, this set does include a single new track not found in the previous 1999 EMI box: Moonlight Music from Capriccio, Op.85.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness the computer ate my Alpensinfonie 3 Jun 2014
By Daniel Fowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars almost complete survey of Strauss's orchestral works 23 Mar 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As previous reviewer stated, this edition is based on an earlier EMI boxset, whose material now under control by Warner Music. The reason why you should get this one is either you are new to Strauss or because of "remastering from original source tapes". I can't comment on the sonic since I do not own the EMI edition. Forget Karajan's famous recording - that's not music but hi-fi demonstration. Kempe's "Also sprach Zarathustra" is amazing.
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