9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One of My Favorite Recordings of Any Opera,
This review is from: Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier (Audio CD)
This recording of Der Rosenkavalier is, without a doubt, among the most treasured recordings in my collection. There is Strauss's divine music, a whirlwind of genius that the word sublime can't even begin to do justice to; there is Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's nonpareil Marschellin, which, alongside her wonderful portrayal of the Countess in Capriccio, is surely among the most singularly striking personages in the world of opera; there is von Karajan's sweeping and remarkably nuanced conducting of a flawless, simply exquisite orchestra which knows Strauss inside and out. Any of these elements taken by themselves would guarantee a good recording. Taken together, they afford one of the most poignantly brilliant recordings in the history of opera. A previous reviewer has disparaged von Karajan for providing too languorous a conducting style, but I couldn't disagree more; in my mind, von Karajan has a habit of conducting a work that is marvelous in its technical perfection, but which can sometimes lose some of the heart and transcendent feeling possible to the best music. This is not so with Rosenkavalier; it is precisely because of its delicate pacing that this version does so much justice to the subtleties of the opera and allows the full sublimity of its sweeping melodies to unfurl gently and surely in the listener's ear. Any less "languid" a production would be a very different opera, and while such a one might have its merit, it would inevitably lose some of the nuance and delicacy that make von Karajan's recording so capable of transporting the listener beyond the sensible world and into the realm of something that can only be described as celestial. There can be no greater acclamation offered to the greatest of music than that it has accomplished just this, and so I implore anyone with an interest in music to give this version of Strauss's masterpiece a try. To the Rosenkavalier lover, it is surely worth exploring the various recordings out there; for the first-time listener or one who is simply looking for the definitive recording, this is the one to get.