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Strauss, R.: Alpensinfonie (Eine) (An Alpine Symphony) (Weimar Staatskapelle, Wit)
 
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Strauss, R.: Alpensinfonie (Eine) (An Alpine Symphony) (Weimar Staatskapelle, Wit)

20 Jun. 2006 | Format: MP3

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Song Title
Time
Popularity Prime  
30
1
3:56
30
2
1:28
30
3
2:16
30
4
6:07
30
5
0:48
30
6
0:14
30
7
0:45
30
8
0:56
30
9
2:37
30
10
1:31
30
11
1:04
30
12
1:29
30
13
5:19
30
14
3:58
30
15
0:20
30
16
0:56
30
17
2:11
30
18
3:07
30
19
3:54
30
20
2:14
30
21
6:34
30
22
2:18
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 20 Jun. 2006
  • Release Date: 20 Jun. 2006
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2006 Naxos
  • Total Length: 1:05:11
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LZ84OC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,322 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anyone who has experienced the sun rising over the Bavarian Alps will realise how perfectly and atmospherically Strauss has captured in his music this haunting and majestic display of nature. Despite its title, and the often symphonic treatment of its themes, this is a tone-poem, its programme depicting a youthful hiking expedition by Strauss and his friends to climb one of the alpine peaks. The timetable of the work traces the day's course from the hush before dawn to the fall of night 55 minutes later. Standing above the many musical images conjured up by the plentiful sectional subtitles (22 in all) is what Strauss himself called "the worship of nature, eternal and magnificent."

Strauss was proud of his achievement and considered Eine Alpensinfonie a fine work in which his command of the orchestra and skills in orchestration had reached a full flowering. While the music is Strauss to the core, there are nods here and there in the direction of Mahler and that composer's sound world. Mahler-like too is the ease with which Strauss contrasts the vast orchestral palette at his disposal in the huge forces on the platform with numerous chamber-like ensembles, many featuring delightful wind solos.

In this performance several high points stand out: `Sonnenaufgang' (Sunrise) in which one of the work's main themes is first heard, 'Auf blumigen Wiesen' (On Flowering Meadows) and `Auf der Alm' (On the Alpine Pasture) where oboe and shimmering strings seem to connect to an "other world" redolent of Mahler, `Auf dem Gipfel` (On the Summit) where the Sunrise theme thunders out majestically in the full orchestra to greet the walkers' arrival on the peak. Their descent is made to the accompaniment of one of the most magnificent storms in music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Revisiting this recording and comparing it with several others has made me realise that I had previously slightly over-praised it elsewhere, perhaps swayed by the fact that reviewers both on Amazon and in other forums have expressed understandable enthusiasm that such a good performance may be found on a budget label.

Nonetheless, they have slightly exaggerated its merits. The distinguished Staatskapelle Weimar orchestra cannot really compare with the Berlin Philharmonic (Karajan, 1980) or the Vienna Philharmonic (Thielemann, live 2000) for opulence, virtuosity and sheen. It is also true that, able though he is, Wit does not generate the same excitement or exercise the same masterful control over the shape of music which can easily sprawl and become intermittently lethargic unless either tension or a sense of mystery are maintained. This is highly episodic, programme music in which the sections need to be welded together to avoid seeming fractured and there are times in Wit's account when the momentum sags. He takes only three minutes or so overall longer than his main competitors but of course that crude measurement doesn't tell you much beyond suggesting greater leisureliness; in fact Karajan and co are often both faster and slower at key points and it is Wit's steadiness which is the problem.

There is in fact another really dark horse rival in the inexplicably superb recording by Frank Shipway with the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra on the BIS label; see my rave review. Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (Symphonische Fantasie) (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra; Frank Shipway) (BIS: BIS1950) Ultimately, Shipway, Karajan and Thielemann all offer superior recordings but I doubt whether many purchasers will experience disappointment with this Naxos issue - unless they make direct comparisons with those greater versions.
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By os TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those recordings that is just a blessing to own. Being a Strauss fan but not a fully paid -up music critic I can still feel confident enough in my own judgment to say that this disc scores very highly on just about every level, except maybe that of playing time.The performance of this stunning work is first rate. You feel that you are that Alpine traveler making your way from the foothills to the top before descending through the storm to home.This music demands and rewards involvement especially when played with such verve,warmth and discipline as Wit and his orchestra manage here.The recording itself is vivid, warm and detailed. Simply put, this disc sounds great.

Some might say that there are 'better' versions available elsewhere. Perhaps so, but there should always be room for alternative readings of great works in a collection,surely? Especially if they are as good as this and at bargain price!
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Format: Audio CD
I've listened to a few Alpines recently and enjoyed many of them, Kempe, Blomstedt, Haitink, Zinman etc (but not Karajan's) but as in all romantic music, interpretations and recordings are a subjective matter, as are the opinions of listeners. It really would be a bit churlish to criticise this wonderful recording, so well recorded and superbly paced (at a comfortable 54 minutes, no filler really needed), but I feel I should comment on one or two elements, good and not so good.
This recording is rightly prized for its wide open sound, one of Naxo's best ever recordings. (I always think that Naxos is the Ryanair of recording companies, often sniffed at just for being cheap. I've enjoyed my journeys with Naxos and even with the Irish airline; in short, whatever their faults, they both do their jobs extremely well for the most part and we should be grateful to both companies for enhancing our lives). Some have complained that the recording has poor sound - I wonder what on earth sound the system is that they're listening to.
The symphony starts quietly but soon builds with strength, sweeping you up confidently and surely. In every section of the orchestra the players show great commitment to the music and play with obvious affection, making the music their own. The journey to the summit is colourful and occasionally tender, as in the little string quartet episode, when the great orchestra becomes still for a moment of quiet reflection.
The cowbells on the Alpine Pasture movement are unfortunately reticent and more reminiscent of the sound of a blacksmith's workshop somewhere in the distance. I'd hoped for real alpine cowbells with their discordant brassy clanking and clacking, which is surely the sound Strauss intended, not some metallic spare parts in a corner.
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