Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 7 January 2015
The status of this recording as one of the earliest digital classics was initially compromised by the shrill, shallow sound which made the violins shriek and was literally a pain in the ears; since then, it has been happily remastered to surprisingly satisfactory effect, which allows this recording to reclaim its spot. I don't usually subscribe to the "best ever" mentality but just a few recordings merit that title and this remains the most spectacular of all accounts of this show-off tone poem.
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.