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Ein Heldenleben/Tod Und Verklarung (Haitink)

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 May 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips 50
  • ASIN: B00005IB5K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,232 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero
  2. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero's Adversaries
  3. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero's Companion - Herman Krebbers
  4. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero's Battlefield
  5. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero's Works Of Peace
  6. A Hero's Life, Op.40: The Hero's Retirement From The World And Fulfilment
  7. Death And Transfiguration, Op.24

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Haitink's towering account of Death & Transfiguration stands shoulder to shoulder with Karajan, Reiner, Jarvi's outstanding reading. The biuld-up to the climax is most atmospheric and the climax is overwhelmmingly powerful. Concertgebouw's playing is gloriously rich and vigourous. Ein Heldenleben is equally impressive and matches Karajan's famous EMI recording in its grandeur and eloquence.
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By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 July 2008
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Although I'm not yet completely convinced by Richard Strauss, I do like this piece and already own the famous Kempe recording in EMI's box set I reviewed some time ago.

Then I came across an old review that mentioned this recording by Haitink and the Concertgebouw Orchestra but that said something along the lines of "needs remastering to reach the top" Well, this 1970 recording is now available in 24-bit remastering and it does, indeed, sound splendid.

I suppose that's the main thing with Richard Strauss, he's all stunning sound, sometimes over substance. This can be demostrated by Karajan's pre-eminence in Strauss recordings. But, I think Haitink trumps Karajan here.

As you can now pick this CD up for rather less than a fiver, and note it comes with a 1983 recording of Tod und Verklarung too, I'd just get on with it, if I were you!
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In 1970 EMI recorded "Ein Heldenleben" with the LSO under Sir John Barbirolli (CH - later Baronet) and it was offered on the budget Classics for Pleasure label (at around 75p if memory serves). This was a stunning performance by any standards, and although I have heard concert and broadcast performances since those days, I have to say it is the standard by which I judge the rest - and they all fail in various ways to scale those visceral heights .

Haitink and the Concertgebouw are another pairing that are deservedly celebrated in the annals of classical music. This Philips analogue recording, digitally remastered, is also from 1970, recorded at the Concertgebouw itself. The production is a 24-bit 96kHz "Super Digital Transfer", and plays as sweetly as any CD does (ie not quite as sweetly as a good vinyl disc); I would think that my Bitstream player does it justice, though the bass end goes down really deep, and only the best floorstanders will push out the thudding bass drum in the "battle movement". My Tannoy Mercury F3's are struggling a bit down there, though I have other, better, speakers which pump it out.

Comparing the Haitink CD to the Barbirolli record, the CD has a bit clearer detail overall, but it somehow lacks that impact when the fortissimi come along, and still has that slightly edgy "CD sound" despite the high tech production.

The passion of the Barbirolli / LSO performance was not at the expense of brilliant playing, but with the Haitink performance the playing seems to lack that extra verve. If I didn't have that amazing disc to compare it with, I may not have realised that there was anything found wanting.

"Tod und Verklarung" is a later recording (1983).
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I've heard most of the famous (and not so famous) Heldenlebens and this is the finest, including Carlos Kleiber's bootleg in poor sound, which while great, is simply too fast.

Haitink's a real thinker, inconsistant yes, but like his Concertgebouw La Mer, his 1970 Heldenleben has been very carefully thought through. I'm so happy to hear how this score should sound as opposed to how we always hear it sound on so many inferior recorded performances. The Concertgebouw are fantastic of course and Krebber's solo is really very clever.

My only quibble is that the critics section should have been played a little quicker.

I'm happy to put this at the top of the Heldenleben pile as Haitink has achieved what other conductors can only dream about.
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