Critically acclaimed maestro David Zinman is as outstanding as the late Rudolf Kempe: he handles Richard Strauss' masterful tone poems magnificently. Every note is taken under direct precision, and there is no overblowing whatsoever. The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich gives out spectacular emotion in almost every piece. The soloists, especially Melanie Diener as the soprano for "Four Last Songs", do a fine job and play their parts with clarity. As for the sound quality, it is most excellent when it comes to volume and beauty.
Each tone poem strikes me like lightning. Ein Alpensinfonie, Macbeth, Metamorphosen, & Tod Und Verklarung are very powerful to listen to. Aus Italien, Don Quixote, Don Juan, & Sinfonia Domestica have pure dynamism. Also Sprach Zarathustra, Oboenkonzert, Parergon, Vier Letzte Lieder, & Festliches Präludium are at their finest when it comes to Zinman's conducting. To know the rest is to listen to them straight through.
I highly recommend these seven CD's to anyone who is starting to have a keen fascination with Richard Strauss. It is low-priced for seven discs, and the brilliant performances from the Tonhalle Orchestra will just dazzle you completely. Also, try the Rudolf Kempe renditions with the Staatskapelle Dresden: they're either on EMI Classics or on Brilliant Classics.
Volume 1: Aus Italien, Macbeth Richard Strauss: Aus Italien; Macbeth
Volume 2: Ein Heldenleben, Tod und Verklarung Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Tod und Verklärung
Volume 3: Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels, Also Sprach Zarathustra Richard Strauss: Don Juan; Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche; Also sprach Zarathustra
Volume 4: Ein Alpensinfonie Eine Alpensinfonie / Festliches Praludium
Volume 5: Metamorphosen, Oboe Concerto, Four Last Songs Metamorphosen / Oboe Concerto / Four Last Songs
Volume 7: Don Quixote R.Strauss: Don Quixote; Celloromanze; Bläserserenade