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Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Ein Heldenleben

Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Ein Heldenleben

12 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 12 Oct. 2004
  • Release Date: 6 Nov. 2004
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:01:58
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001S0WGIU
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 453,625 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **** 1/2 The thrills are in the recording and the playing 8 Feb. 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I hear what the lead reviewer does but feel less censorious. In the late Nineties RCA was actively managed by their German owners, and one of their projects was a multi-disc Strauss series under Maazel. They lavished state-of-the-art sound, which is vivid and close up. Maazel is an eccentric interpreter, but he has a special relationship with the superb Bavarian Radio SO -- as witness their recent release of a major Bruckner cycle on the orchestra's house label, BR Klassik. Perhaps that's why Maazel curbed his perverse side when making the Strauss records, of which this is a good bargain-priced sampler. The only other Strauss cycle that sounds quite tis splendid is Previn's on Telarc with the Vienna Phil.

I agree with the lead reviewer that Till Eulenspiegel isn't charming, puckish, or devil may care as interpreted by Maazel, but it's hard to complain in the face of such glorious sonics and orchestral playing. Every once in a while it's refreshing to let the sheer sumptuousness of Strauss wash over you, as it does here. There is no shortage of outstanding recordings of Ein Heldenleben, and several are in gorgeous sound (Previn, Rattle, and Thielemann comes to mind). Artistically, the performance that knocks me out comes on a "private" recording with Carlos Kleiber and the vienna Phil. dating to a concert in 1993 -- it's a miracle of the kind that Kleiber uniquely could deliver, and everyone is encouraged to seek it out on pirate labels like Memories (the sound is reasonably good FM stereo). Mainstream critics will always swear by Karajan's two recordings, while historical buffs regularly extol Mengelberg and Beecham.

In that company Maazel and his orchestra can hold their heads high on two accounts: excellent execution and recorded sound. The engineers plunge us into the center of the orchestra, providing the same perspective as the conductor's, and the result is thrilling. Maazel's interpretation avoids self-indulgence; he's rather plain and direct, which is welcome in a work where most conductors try to out Herod Herod. I hope this doesn't sound too much like special pleading, yet in the end this is a very successful recording and a good foretaste of what Maazel's complete cycle sounds like.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear sound of a boring recording 21 Jan. 2005
By Prescott Cunningham Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These two orchestral showpieces should be nothing short of thrilling. Lorin Maazel's wonderful technique and penchant for orchestral refinement takes these musical gems and removes all the luster and glow. These are highly polished, crystal clear recordings that are played wonderfully. Yet, the puckish charm of Till Eulenspiegel is missing and the over-indulgent glory of Heldenleben is gone. Buy this CD only if you are interested in Maazel's interpretations, which, in my opinion, are slow, dynamically uninteresting, and odd in their lack of charm.
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