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Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Tod und Verklärung, Dance of the Seven Veils CD

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Rudolf Kempe
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (2 Sept. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00006BCDI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 555,023 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am a huge admirer of Kempe but find his cool, controlled approach to these blockbusters just a little too retrained for my taste which positively revels in the self-indulgent vulgarity of Strauss's paean to himself and his works. It's a gamble on Strauss's part to assume that his listeners will understand that his intent is self-mockery when he spends so long talking so noisily about himself; other commentators and critics, embarrassed by the composer's self-aggrandisment will find Kempe's taming of them more to their taste, as he is such a refined and sensitive musician that the clarity and poise of his interpretations always render his Strauss highly listenable. However, for sheer visceral excitement, I do not think he can rival more released exponents of these works, such as Karajan in his late, live performance at the Royal Festival Hall, or either of his studio recordings, especially the one from the early 70's, all with the Berlin Philharmonic. Similarly, I turn to Reiner or Oue - yes, Oue in Minnesota - for my thrills; Kempe's way with Strauss reminds me just a little too much of eating water melon with a knife and fork.

A fellow Amazonian recently challenged my assertion that Karajan remains the pre-eminent conductor of Strauss and nothing I hear on this disc dissuades me from that conviction.

In this regard, I am closer to the views of fellow reviewer the Santa Fe Listener, who similarly finds Kempe just a tad too civilised here; that restraint, however, works better in more cerebral and subtle tone poems such as "Don Quixote", hence Kempe has produced two superb versions with the same orchestras he hear on this disc and also with the BPO.
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