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Strauss, R.: Metamorphosen; Sonatina No.1 for Winds

Strauss, R.: Metamorphosen; Sonatina No.1 for Winds

1 Jan 1987

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1987
  • Release Date: 18 Dec. 2006
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: (C) 1987 Universal International Music B.V.
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  • Total Length: 1:01:17
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  • ASIN: B001PJ7ETU
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,059 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A glib Metamorphosen and rather pointless Sonatine don't add up to much 25 Oct. 2010
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
th height of Previn's promise as a conductor came early, in the Seventies, but this Strauss CD from 1988 finds him leading music that he felt a strong affinity with. After leading the Vienna Phil. in the major orchestral works for Telarc -- recordings that vie with Karajan's in voluptuousness -- Previn did a clean up operation on Philips and DG, offering lesser known as well as lesser works. By now Metamorphosen is well known, but not the Sonatine no. 1 for winds "From an invalid's workshop." Astonishingly, we find the following sentence in the Gramophone's original review:
"If Richard Strauss had been compelled to go before a denazification tribunal, he would have needed only to play it a recording of Melamorphosen to prove once and for all what were his real feelings about the barbarians, as he called them, who had destroyed the Germany he loved."

I cannot fathom why the writer wants t let Strauss off the hook as yet another "good" German who was opposed to Hitler in his heart of hearts. If anything, Metamorphosen was aimed just as much against the Allies who bombed Strauss's beloved Munich and Dresden. In any event, Philips records the work so closely that we hear the maximum number f string lines -- the first desk violins are in our lap -- and the Viennese sound remains incomparably sweet and beguiling. Previn's glib interpretation is rather loose, however, preferring luxury of sound over intensity of feeling. Karajan remains the touchstone for an intense, mournful performance.

The wind Sontine uses the same techniques displayed in Metamorphosen -- continuous variations on a theme, seamless, multi-layered counterpoint, and shifting, ambiguous harmonies -- but the result feels too often like pointless noodling. The bubbling cheerful writing is starkly at odds with the year of composition, 1943, and reminds one of Strauss's denial of the political scene that preceded the war and his willingness to be a Nazi pawn. None of that matters musically. Previn delivers a deft reading, with the Viennese winds chuckling away. I'd be more interested if the work were not so empty and garrulous. An overall timing of 62 min. left plenty of room for other fillers.
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