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Thread: Strauss Tone Poems Recordings

  1. #16
    Senior Member MatthewWeflen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    Don't forget Don Quixote. No one has ever come close to Karajan and Kempe in that piece.

    For Karajan, I'm not sure whether I prefer the 1965 with Fournier on DG or the 1975 with Rostropovich on EMI. Both are SO good!
    I'm listening to the 96k/24b 1965 DG recording presently on my good headphones. It is indeed very good. In its remastered form, it does surpass the 80s recording - but that one is no slouch, either. It has terrific sound, and the performance is certainly top shelf.
    Last edited by MatthewWeflen; Apr-27-2020 at 08:01.

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    It's also worth remembering that there are recorded performances of Strauss himself conducting nearly all his tone poems between the late 1920s and the late 1940s. Of course the sound quality is limited (though he was generally given the best possible resources available at the time), but his conducting is highly expressive and not at all amateurish. He conducted his own music in a relatively light, flowing style (closer to Böhm or Kempe than Karajan--I mean this simply as a descriptive comment, not a judgmental one: I don't intend to imply that either sort of conducting is "better" than the other).

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    For me, for Strauss’s tone poems it’s Reiner/CSO all the way through. There are nostalgic, sentimental, and chauvinistic factors at play as well as musical, so my preference might not be interesting.

    Nobody has mentioned Wolfgang Sawallisch. The only recordings of Strauss’s operas I have in my CD collection are conducted by Sawallisch, and it seems to be that he is known as a major Strauss interpreter. There aren’t a ton of recordings of Die Frau ohne Schatten and the others out there anyway. Before I buy his few recordings of the tone poems (I’m thinking of his work with the Philadelphia Orchestra), I’m wondering if anyone has an opinion. Or perhaps I can just augment my CD collection with HvK. However, I already listen to HvK’s Strauss on my streaming service whereas Sawallisch is not on there.
    Last edited by Simplicissimus; Apr-27-2020 at 12:56.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    For my taste, Strauss demands extremely fine recording quality. The enormous changes in dynamics cannot ever be fully captured by any known recording method, but the wider the dynamic range, the better. And the recordings need clarity, which isn't easy either given the gigantic orchestras he scored for. For my ears, that rules out the early releases and the Brilliant re-release of Kempe, no matter how well conducted and played - and they've hardly been done better. But then Warner now has a low-priced 9-cd set that has all of Strauss' orchestral music. Made from rediscovered master tapes and this is the Strauss bargain of the century! Even if you don't like all of it (I don't), the price, sound, playing make it unbeatable.
    I am almost always disappointed by the sonics of reissues, which rarely show significant improvement, and in some cases (some of BMG's Master Series, most notably) actually sound worse. But the Kempe set is an exception - I had the old generic green box set...

    kempe old.jpg

    ...and then bought this one...

    kempe new.jpg

    ...and the difference was stunning. These superior transfers have been reissued yet again in this form:

    kempe new reissue.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by seitzpf View Post
    For me, for Strauss’s tone poems it’s Reiner/CSO all the way through. There are nostalgic, sentimental, and chauvinistic factors at play as well as musical, so my preference might not be interesting.
    Don't forget, Reiner made some great Strauss recordings with other orchestras as well -

    Till Eulenspiegel/Tod & Verklarung - with ViennaPO in 1956...excellent sound [I think these were recorded by Decca, but distributed by RCA, some licensing agreement in place] - tne"Till" recording was made on a single "take" - straight thru, no stops...
    He recorded the same pairing in 1950 with RCASO [MetOpera + NY freelancers] - this one is perhaps even better than his VPO effort...both works given superior readings...
    Reiner recorded "Till" at least 3 times - with RCASO, VPO, and then live with CSO from 1958....the last is my favorite - a live performance - the orchestra plays with free-wheeling confidence and bravura - I've never heard such a wonderful depiction of the impertinent, irreverant Till!!

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    Don't forget, Reiner made some great Strauss recordings with other orchestras as well -

    Till Eulenspiegel/Tod & Verklarung - with ViennaPO in 1956...excellent sound [I think these were recorded by Decca, but distributed by RCA, some licensing agreement in place] - tne"Till" recording was made on a single "take" - straight thru, no stops...
    He recorded the same pairing in 1950 with RCASO [MetOpera + NY freelancers] - this one is perhaps even better than his VPO effort...both works given superior readings...
    Reiner recorded "Till" at least 3 times - with RCASO, VPO, and then live with CSO from 1958....the last is my favorite - a live performance - the orchestra plays with free-wheeling confidence and bravura - I've never heard such a wonderful depiction of the impertinent, irreverant Till!!
    He also made recording of Strauss (Heldenleben, Don Juan, Don Quixote) with the Pittsburgh SO during the 40's:

    reiner_strauss.jpg

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    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Dammit, I have the green Kempe Strauss box on EMI. You're saying the Warner reissues are that much better?

    That figures. Maybe I can find one cheap somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    He also made recording of Strauss (Heldenleben, Don Juan, Don Quixote) with the Pittsburgh SO during the 40's:

    reiner_strauss.jpg
    Yes, indeed, I forgot to mention those...thanx

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I've listened to bits and pieces of the green EMI Kempe set from streaming and I thought the sound was ear-poppingly good, like standing right in the middle of the orchestra; some of the best sound I've ever heard. Either I don't have good audiophile ears or I like sound that would ordinarily be considered "unnatural." Either way it's amazing! The Dresden sound is unmistakable - even the timpani sound different!

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  15. #25
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    And yes, hearing Strauss conduct his own music is definitely worthwhile. Composers are not necessarily the best interpreters of their own music, which seems weird but it's true. But you always learn something.

    Reiner in Strauss for me is a bit like casting Brian Blessed as Hamlet. But I know a lot of people like it, so I'll probably revisit Reiner's Strauss sometime.
    Last edited by Knorf; Apr-27-2020 at 17:49.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    Dammit, I have the green Kempe Strauss box on EMI. You're saying the Warner reissues are that much better?

    That figures. Maybe I can find one cheap somewhere.
    If you do find one, let me know. I'd like to update mine but only if it's not that expensive (I have the Brilliant set).

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    I think Mengelberg recorded Ein Heldenleben twice and I am happy with the second one.

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  19. #28
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    If you do find one, let me know. I'd like to update mine but only if it's not that expensive (I have the Brilliant set).
    I never actually had a problem with the recorded sound of Kempe and Dresden in the green EMI box. But if it's so much better in the remastered version... ugh.

    Presto Classical has the remastered Warner box for $33 USD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    I never actually had a problem with the recorded sound of Kempe and Dresden in the green EMI box. But if it's so much better in the remastered version... ugh.

    Presto Classical has the remastered Warner box for $33 USD.
    Thanks. I'm like you; I have no problem with the one I have. I've heard others say that the difference isn't that noticeable, but then again, I don't have a high-end sound system. So I'm not desperate; I'm willing to wait for an offering that is really cheap. I have a notification set up on Camelcamel in case something comes up.
    Last edited by Manxfeeder; Apr-27-2020 at 18:49.

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    Senior Member Orfeo's Avatar
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    The Neemi Jarvi series under Chandos is very solid, with terrific responses by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). This particular album is especially enjoyable.



    Works:

    • Also sprach Zarathustra
    • Don Quixote
    • Macbeth
    • Symphonia Domestica
    • Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
    Last edited by Orfeo; Apr-27-2020 at 19:11.
    David A. Hollingsworth (dholling)

    ~All good art is about something deeper than it admits.
    Roger Ebert

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