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Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30, Don Juan Op.20, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Op. 28

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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  • Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30, Don Juan Op.20, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Op. 28
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  • Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier
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  • Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie, Salome Op.54 (CBSO/Andris Nelsons)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Andris Nelsons
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (7 April 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Orfeo
  • ASIN: B00IRQS1DW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,919 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

In this year of Richard Strauss s 150th birthday, it seems natural that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons should add the ultimate candle to the birthday cake, as it were, given that their previous recordings of Strauss's works for Orfeo ['Ein Heldenleben' C803091A, 'Alpine Symphony' C833111A) have been amongst the label's most successful of recent years. Here, the CBSO and its music director offer us a selection of the early tone poems: 'Don Juan', 'Till Eulenspiegel' and 'Also sprach Zarathustra'. In 'Don Juan', Strauss combined big tunes and orchestral virtuosity with a dash of immorality and wacky humour. Nelsons and the CBSO delight in the Don s life of adventure and conquest that comes to a sticky end. The macabre climax to 'Till Eulenspiegel', with the hanging of the protagonist, is preceded by a witty exploration of just about every possible orchestral timbre, with Strauss pulling out all the stops to depict Till s merry pranks. The world-class CBSO, homogenous across all the sections of the orchestra, is just what s needed for the great 'Also sprach Zarathustra'. Freely based on Friedrich Nietzsche (as Strauss himself wrote), Nelsons and the CBSO do equal justice to Zarathustra s address to the sun and to the mysterious close in which the motives of Man and Nature alternate in their respective keys. This new recording undoubtedly counts as one of the most awaited highlights of #Strauss150.

Review

***** 'He [Nelsons] knows he can ask anything of his players … [he] attacks when necessary with full-throttle precipitation … [his] charisma always shines through.' --David Nice, BBC Music Magazine June 2014

'A brilliant addition to the Strauss anniversary-year releases and an important record of the orchestra s fruitful relationship with their Latvian director.' --Martin Cullingford, Gramophone July 2014

**** 'Strauss s music ... splatters the colours, some tender, some vile, all delineated with exemplary finesse by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestre de Paris ... Precise in pitch, unfailingly intense and charismatic, the German soprano Evelyn Herlitzius conquers every challenge thrown by Strauss and his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Watch for her mad victory dance at the end: unnerving and unforgettable ... Chéreau wasn t smiling for nothing.' --Geoff Brown, The Times 30 May 2014

'The treacherous start of Don Juan is securely handled ... the work benefits from Nelsons s long-term perspective and conviction ...The account of Also Sprach Zarathustra has comparible focus and cohesion.' --Richard Whitehouse, IRR June 2014

'... nuanced and insightful ... I'm handing the ultimate accolade to Andris Nelsons, whose version embodies many of Karajan's qualities while telling us lots we didn't already know about this inscrutable, endlessly fascinating score. Nelsons is Superman.' --Philip Clark - Gramophone Awards Issue, September 2014

'The treacherous start of Don Juan is securely handled ... the work benefits from Nelsons s long-term perspective and conviction ...The account of Also Sprach Zarathustra has comparible focus and cohesion.' --Richard Whitehouse, IRR June 2014

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
One feature of life in country Australia was "tent boxing" where a troupe would come to town, set up shop and issue a challenge to the local lads to try their luck in the ring with prize-fighters. "Last two minutes against Alligator Ray or the Kalgoorlie Kid and win fifty bucks!" Fred Brophy - you'll find him on YouTube - is the last such impresario. Needless to say, challengers unfailingly bite the canvas. There's an equivalent in Strauss' Opus 30: Karajan's performance of Also Sprach Zarathurstra from 1973 - with his 1960 VP performance (a beast in itself) in reserve. Nor should one forget Reiner. Karajan also features prominently in gun recordings of Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel (for instance, check out the 1984 Osaka performance of Don Juan on YouTube - it's phenomenal). It's a brave person who throws on the gloves.

Of the Scrawny Toms, Andris Nelsons has more fat on his pelt than others in the fraternity. His recording of the New World Symphony is not devoid of tension or expectancy; in the current climate, that's cause for celebration. I hope he can translate these attributes to music that matters.

On the whole, his Also Sprach Zarathustra is worth a listen even if it cannot trade blows with the heavy-weights above. He holds it together well. As an interpretation, I rate it above Dudamel / BP even if a lesser orchestra is in play. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - never a world-beater - plays adeptly within its parameters. At key junctures (say the climax of the Dance Song) the lack of torque and tension from the strings are evident (an aggressive timpanist can only do so much to mask it). Speaking of which, tuning is suspect in the opening bars - even I can hear that. It's not right. I was relieved to read that the reviewer in Fanfare was likeminded.
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Format: Audio CD
Andris Nelsons lives and breathes every moment of the three tone poems he's chosen for his latest Orfeo disc with the Brummies. There's a feral roar to the opening of Also sprach Zarathustra and dangerous swagger to its 'Waltz of the Superman'. Nelsons is a passionate musician and while he can, in his determination, miss as much as he hits, his conviction and attack are never in doubt and the CBSO responds in kind. Don Juan is absolutely thrilling, before the Midlands team round of the disc with a strutting and gloriously silly performance of Till Eulenspiegel, in which the woodwind particularly shines. It may not have the total finesse of other performances in the library, but in terms of drama and daring, it is the equal of any of them.
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There are umpteen good recordings of this work. Just listen to the sound of the famous opening and you know this is a disc to have.
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