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R Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie [An Alpine Symphony] CD
|Price:||£10.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details|
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KARAJAN HERBERT VON / BERLIN P
Top Customer Reviews
The depiction of the sunrise that opens the work recalls the power of the famous introduction to Also Sprach Zarathustra. The 20 descriptive episodes that follow fill the listener with a tremendous sense of adventure. The awesome climaxes which Karajan and the BPO generate during the 'On the summit' and 'Vision' sections may just blow your socks off. After the lyrical 'Sunset' and 'Epilogue' sections the work closes where it began: in the hushed and shadowy sound-world of night.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this recording to anyone with an interest in Strauss, or the genre of the symphonic poem. The recording itself cannot be faulted.
Most music reference books do not list An Alpine Symphony as a recommended work. It has been criticised as a piece that is more a succession of highlights rather than an integrated work. I feel this is unfair as the same argument could be levelled at many of Strauss's symphonic poems given the descriptive depth of detail contained in the music which often portrays vastly differing episodes in the programme, frequently in succession (surely Don Quixote, Ein Heldenleben and Also Sprach Zarathustra suffer from the same problems?).
I urge you to listen to An Alpine Symphony and make up your own mind. In my opinion this work - like the remainder of Strauss's symphonic poems - is one of continued inspiration and invention. And with Karajan on top form with the BPO, this is truly an unforgettable sound odyssey.
Not everything is perfect. The brass leading up to the waterfall sound strangely winded and there are bum notes here and there. The view from the summit is stupendous, but again one senses some restraint in the sound. The trumpet solo is wonderfully well to the fore in the `Vision' section. The storm is scarily dramatic and the sunset rightfully rich. The epilogue is beautifully played.
This may be the best interpretation in my collection, but it is well over twenty years old now and there is room for improvement. I am seeking a broader vision that I have yet to hear on CD. Nonetheless, for now, this one is the one I will pull out of the collection if I want to go hiking in the Alps.
It's a shame that this Karajan Gold reissue has lost some of the magical atmosphere of the very first original issue, while enhancing clarity of the sound.
An atmosphere of profound mystery is established from the start by the bassoons and double bases growling above the strings' sustained F in the B minor cluster, resolving to B flat major chord then a glorious A major diapason depicting the sunrise. In fact there are so many such moments in this account that it would be superfluous to detail them all, but to mention one at random, "On the summit" is simply overwhelming with its aureate brass, stringendo strings and extraordinary sonorities. The whole recording is just one grand, astounding sweep of virtuosic playing from the BPO and Das Wunder Karajan is in full control without in any sense stifling the rapture of their sound or the virulence of their attack.
It belongs in the collection of every Strauss aficionado.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Recently I purchased, courtesy of Amazon a 2 CD set of tone poems composed by Richard Strauss and the Alpine Symphony was the last piece of the set. Read morePublished 1 month ago by E. A. Redfearn
Magnificent! The shimmering opulence of sound produced by the BPO is quite astonishingly breathtaking. Highly recommended.Published 5 months ago by john james curran
A wonderful, stirring piece. My main bug is if you have 2 short pieces - 1 & 2 - and you can only create an uncomfortable break, then why have a break at all? Read morePublished 13 months ago by Pejk1953
I was not very familiar with this work but Karajan has opened my eyes (or should I say ears?) to this amazing composition.Published 17 months ago by Terence A Cook
On the afternoon of June 8, 1924, George Leigh Mallory was faced with a decision. He and Andrew Irvine were above the Second Step of Everest. Light was fading. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon
I'd read about the production of this performance, as well as many reviews down the years, but only recent got around to purchasing the CD. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mark Kelly