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Thread: Also Sprach Zarathustra recordings

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Default Also Sprach Zarathustra recordings

    I love this piece! What recordings of it do you like?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I love it too. I only have the Reiner/Chicago, which is really great. Highly recommended. But I do want to hear more. I like what I've heard of Karajan/Berlin from the '70s.

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    Here are my top five recordings of Also Sprake Zarathustra, listed in no particular order, although I do prefer the Staatskapelle Dresden in the music of Strauss to any other orchestra. This was Strauss's orchestra after all, and they have a long, rich tradition of playing his music:

    --Rudolf Kempe, Staatskapelle Dresden, EMI
    --Herbert Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden, Denon--in great digital sound.
    --Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, RCA--a conductor that spent his early years in Dresden.
    --Bernard Haitink, Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Philips--a conductor that sounds like he's actually read the book.
    --Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra--I like the way the old Philadelphia orchestra plays this music, too. Although I might prefer the orchestra's later recording under Wolfgang Sawallisch, who was something of a Strauss expert, but I've not sat down and ever compared the two.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Last edited by Rogerx; Apr-25-2020 at 05:58.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    I saw those. That first one is rather funny.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    There's so many recordings of this work. Without trying to sound like a Karajan fanboy it's hard to get past his 1973 account but Reiner, Kempe and, much more recently, Nelsons have the measure of the work and nailed it too. I know some like Sinopoli's vision but it's a bit drawn out for me. It's not an easy piece to get right and lots of decent conductors have failed (Jarvi, Dudamel, Solti, Maazel - but you may love their versions) so have a good listen before settling on a version. I just did a search on Spotify just to see what came up. The permutations are endless. Lol

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    Reiner/CSO and Ormandy/Philly EMI digital

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Karajan made two recordings one with the VPO produced by Culshaw and a later one with BPO

    The Decca one was made when there was hardly any interest in the piece and then of course Kubrick used it in 2001 and it became a best seller for the opening. Interesting Culshaw says the guy who negotiated the film rights for Decca did so on the condition their recording wouldn't be mentioned in the credits. He apparently thought it was a piece of British tact. When Karajan heard about it he was furious and threatened to sue Decca for lost sales!
    Last edited by DavidA; Apr-25-2020 at 10:47.

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    Reiner/CSO recorded it twice - '54 and '62...the earlier one is excellent, but the '62 is absolutely stellar, top level spectacular...I agree with one of my former teachers that ReinerASZ II (the green cover LP) is one of the greatest orchestra recordings of anything, ever produced. This recording has been remastered and presented in various versions over the years...for me, the best one is the RCA "Papillon Collection"...this one offers the best sound - the sheen and clarity of the strings, the sparkling color of the wws, the brilliance of the brass are preserved.
    Solti/CSO is a great version also...the orchestra certainly knows the piece...they recorded it with Frederick Stock back in early 40s, iirc.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    Reiner/CSO recorded it twice - '54 and '62...the earlier one is excellent, but the '62 is absolutely stellar, top level spectacular...I agree with one of my former teachers that ReinerASZ II (the green cover LP) is one of the greatest orchestra recordings of anything, ever produced. This recording has been remastered and presented in various versions over the years...for me, the best one is the RCA "Papillon Collection"...this one offers the best sound - the sheen and clarity of the strings, the sparkling color of the wws, the brilliance of the brass are preserved.
    Solti/CSO is a great version also...the orchestra certainly knows the piece...they recorded it with Frederick Stock back in early 40s, iirc.
    I didn't know that. Here I was thinking I had the 1954, but if it is that old, the sound is phenomenal despite its age. This is the one I have:


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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I didn't know that. Here I was thinking I had the 1954, but if it is that old, the sound is phenomenal despite its age. This is the one I have:

    High on my list also, like Karajan on Decca


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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I didn't know that. Here I was thinking I had the 1954, but if it is that old, the sound is phenomenal despite its age. This is the one I have:

    That's the '54 one...it is excellent, but '62 is better...much better recorded sound...a real knockout...harder to find at present, but still available, I think...

    this is the '62 version, listed at Arkiv:

    Strauss: Burleske, Also sprach Zarathustra / ReinerStrauss: Burleske, Also sprach Zarathustra / Reiner
    Label: Rca Catalog: 68638 Release Date: 08/02/2011 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer: Richard Strauss
    Performer: Byron Janis
    Conductor: Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    This might be it also - this is the program for the Papillon disc [Arkiv listing did not specify recording date]:

    Strauss: Four Last Songs; Die Frau ohne Schatten, Also Sprach ZarathustraStrauss: Four Last Songs; Die Frau ohne Schatten, Also Sprach Zarathustra
    Label: Sony Catalog: 88697712872 Release Date: 09/11/2015 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer: Richard Strauss
    Performer: Leontyne Price
    Conductor: Fritz Reiner, Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Last edited by Heck148; Apr-25-2020 at 13:48.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    I still say Kubrick should have used this version.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth_Sinfonia

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    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Karajan is supreme in Also sprach Zarathustra, particularly the Berliner recording from the 70s.

    The other recordings that I think are nearly in the same league are Kempe with Dresden and Steinberg with Boston. The latter is woefully underrated.

    Reiner makes some impressive noises, but I don't think understood the piece as deeply as Karajan, Kempe, and Steinberg.

    ETA: this is also one of my favorite pieces, by Strauss or anyone, and as with Ein Heldenleben I did a long, deep search among existing recordings to find the best, the one that got the philosophical measure of the piece in the deepest way and provided a superb orchestral performance as well as top-notch sound.
    Last edited by Knorf; Apr-25-2020 at 17:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    Karajan is supreme in Also sprach Zarathustra, particularly the Berliner recording from the 70s.

    The other recordings that I think are nearly in the same league are Kempe with Dresden and Steinberg with Boston. The latter is woefully underrated.

    Reiner makes some impressive noises, but I don't think understood the piece as deeply as Karajan, Kempe, and Steinberg.

    ETA: this is also one of my favorite pieces, by Strauss or anyone, and as with Ein Heldenleben I did a long, deep search among existing recordings to find the best, the one that got the philosophical measure of the piece in the deepest way and provided a superb orchestral performance as well as top-notch sound.
    Another vote for Steinberg alongside the more obvious candidates (Karajan, Kempe, Reiner)

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