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Classical - Released January 1, 1974 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released May 14, 2021 | Warner Classics

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Antonio Pappano has never before recorded the tone poems of Richard Strauss, and he is in no way a Strauss specialist. However, that may change with this fine live recording of Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, with the conductor's Orchestra dell'Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The Ein Heldenleben was recorded live in 2018, and the brisk concluding Burleske in D minor, with Bertrand Chamayou, is a studio recording, but there really isn't much of a lurch, and this is a testament to how much Pappano has made this orchestra and his sound his own. As for Ein Heldenleben, the performance is perhaps an opera conductor's view of the work, and this is all to the good. The program of the tone poem is as detailed as in any other Strauss ever wrote and, whatever the composer's occasional protestations to the contrary, more personal. Pappano gets the humor at many points, such as the unflattering portrayal of the Austrian critics in the second movement (they noticed, and responded in kind), and his reading of the third movement "Des Helden Gefährtin" ("The Hero's Companion"), which even Strauss admitted was a portrait of his wife, Pauline de Ahna, is lush, gentle, and yet full of surprises and fun; Pappano takes a bit of extra time here in a reading that otherwise sticks close to the norms. So it goes throughout; listeners will feel that they have been on the epic journey suggested by the title, even if that journey doesn't extend beyond the composer's studio. The Warner Classics/Parlophone sound from the Parco della Musica auditorium is quite warm and contains nothing to distract the listener. © TiVo
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Opera - Released October 20, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
« This magnificent 1956 recording, conducted with genius by Karajan and with a cast such as dreams are made of, has an unparalleled status and is unlikely to be challenged for many a year. » Gramophone« This remastering comes from the original analogue tapes and has been transferred at high resolution digital quality to capture the very best sound from the tapes. In consultation with the original engineer Chris Parker, we have slightly adjusted the balance of the Trio (in Act 3) to reflect the quality of sound that was desired but not achieved at the time of recording. This recording was originally made as a mono recording by Douglas Larter, with a stereo test version engineered by Chris Parker. It is this stereo test version which has been used for this remastering. Despite the early experimental nature of this new ‘stereo’ technology, this recording is captured in astonishingly vivid sound and is a testament to the experience, understanding and skill of both the musicians and engineers of the time.» Simon Gibson, Remastering Engineer at Abbey Road Studios 
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Opera - Released April 3, 2020 | Orfeo

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Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op. 65 (1911), has been called the last Romantic opera, and it pushes singers to their limits. It requires powerhouse Wagner-Strauss specialists, especially in the lead female roles of the Empress and the Nurse, and it receives them here in Camilla Nylund and Evelyn Herlitzius, respectively. They make an impressive pair, with Herlitizius' slashing soprano a vivid counterpoint to Nylund's soaring one, but ultimately, Die Frau ohne Schatten is a conductor's opera. It failed at first, with its complex snarl of orchestral parts, and it requires a leader who can control all of the layers of sound. Those at this live 2019 production from the Vienna State Opera spoke in awe of conductor Christian Thielemann's cool, minimal gestures, seemingly at odds with the oversized fairy-tale story, but essential to communicating it musically. Strands of orchestral texture spring into focus and then link up with what is coming next, nor does he let the vocally virtuosic cast take star turns; they work as an ensemble. Orfeo's live sound has a minimum of interference with the listener's enjoyment. Whatever one thinks of Thielemann, this is a major notch in his baton. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released March 16, 2018 | Aparté

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Classical - Released March 3, 2014 | UNIVERSAL MUSIC LLC

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
Because the Saito Kinen Orchestra annually performs at a summer festival held in the Japanese Alps near Matsumoto, the choice of Richard Strauss' immense Alpine Symphony for this 2012 recording seems quite appropriate for the occasion. Led by Daniel Harding, the ensemble of exceptional orchestral musicians from around the world takes on one of Strauss' most imposing scores, and the power, dynamic range, and physical stamina required to make this work succeed are well within the orchestra's abilities. Strauss' musical depiction of the Alps is a sprawling affair, more properly regarded as a tone poem rather than a symphony in the conventional sense, and the effect of the large orchestra of approximately 125 players must be overwhelming to convey the enormous mountains, the volatile weather, the different times of day, and other imagery. Harding controls the orchestra with a steady hand, and his interpretation is expansive without being exaggerated. The sound of the live performance is a little unbalanced, favoring the brass over the strings and woodwinds, and the live recording is just a little unfocused, leaving some details hard to distinguish in the mix. Even so, this recording has excitement and passion going for it, and the spirit of high adventure conveyed in the music is impressive. © TiVo
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Symphonic Poems - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

The three symphonic poems on this 2014 Orfeo release are among the most popular of Richard Strauss' orchestral works, and the live renditions by Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra give them considerable energy and color. The recordings of Also sprach Zarathustra, Don Juan, and Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche are drawn from several performances given in Birmingham Symphony Hall between 2011 and 2013, and as such they represent best parts of those concerts, though careful editing and mixing have made them seamless. The close microphone placement provides clear details, and many passages have the heightened presence of chamber music, so virtually every note can be heard clearly. Note the vibrant sound of the lowest instruments, particularly the contrabassoon, bass clarinet, tuba, and double basses, which add depth and occasionally a truly menacing quality to the music, notably in the darker sections of Also sprach Zarathustra. Nelsons' interpretations are spontaneous, fluid, and a little free in tempo, so it takes some getting accustomed to his use of rubato and rather rhapsodic treatment of the material. But this by no means diminishes the excitement and flamboyance of the playing, which shows the orchestra at its liveliest and most spectacular. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 4, 2012 | Ondine

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Classical - Released September 6, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
Leading the Lucerne Festival for two summers running, conductor Richardo Chailly has honoured composers that the musicians had never yet recorded: Igor Stravinsky in 2018, and Richard Strauss in 2019. The sumptuousness of the orchestration of the latter here affords a glittering clarity, just as much in the concertante parts as in the tutti. The writing conjures a Straussian atmosphere: a marvellously apt terrain for the Lucerne orchestra. In Zarathustra, the strings, in particular the double-basses, rumble away as under one bow, with gobsmacking precision in Von der großen Sehnsucht ("Of the Great Yearning") and Genesende ("the Convalescent"). Richard Strauss deploys a romantic counterpoint in his writing – in particular in Von den Hinterweltlern ("Of the Backworldsmen") – and the strings of Lucerne brilliantly bring his limitless lyricism to life. The following works, (Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegel and finally The Dance of the Seven Veils) bring to mind other epithets that we might apply to this perfect recording: epic majesty, burlesque humour, serpentine voluptuousness: all ingredients of Strauss's symphonic poems. The sound quality does justice to the beauty of the orchestra, and the mix doesn't leave anyone out: every counterpoint is defined, every pizzicato twangs appropriately and we hear even the softest touch of the timbal. Demanding in their extremity (in both nuance and difficulty), these scores make a perfect fit for the Lucerne orchestra, a meeting of the greatest soloists of the international stage, brought together by the festival. The only drawback comes from precisely this concentration of quality. While we are gripped by Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils, we are perhaps more impressed than moved by a piece that has been stripped of some of its finest orchestral ornamentation. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

While nearly universally acclaimed as one of the supreme conductors of the later years of the 20th century, Carlos Kleiber had what could generously be called an extremely select repertoire of pieces. Among his specialties were Strauss operas, and there are five live recordings of Kleiber directing Der Rosenkavalier from the '70s alone, with others potentially waiting to be remastered and released. This Rosenkavalier was recorded in Munich in July 1973 at the Bavarian State Opera, and it is the first and arguably freshest of Kleiber's recordings of the opera. Though rambunctious at first, the audience quickly settles down, and the overall sound is more than acceptable, albeit with some occasional stage noise. The soloists are as good as one could hope for at that period: a youthful Lucia Popp as Sophia, a delightful Brigitte Fassbaender as Octavian, a characterful Karl Ridderbusch as Baron Ochs, and an incandescent Claire Watson as the Feldmarschallin. Kleiber is his usual miraculous self. It's hard to believe one could hear so many details that are so well integrated into the flow of the music and harder to believe that the music could seem so spontaneous yet so sculpted, so effortless, and so relentless. The music is so unified with the drama, and the orchestra so integrated with the voices, that the whole of the performance becomes infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, making this Rosenkavalier truly glorious. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 15, 2019 | Lawo Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Conductor Vasily Petrenko has lots of competition in the marketplace for recordings of these two Richard Strauss tone poems. Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, made famous not only by Elvis Presley, but by director Stanley Kubrick, who used it in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The version Kubrick used, by Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, is still in the catalog, and an even earlier one, with Fritz Reiner leading Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is an oldie-but-goodie. With giants like these in the air, you can hardly blame Petrenko for swinging for the fences, and for many this reading of Also sprach Zarathustra and Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, will be a fine addition to the library; with strong, state-of-the-art sound work from the Oslo Concert Hall. The album is divided only into two tracks, one for each work, probably desirable in that many hearings will originate from online files. Plunge in and sample from the very beginning: the sunrise scene of Also sprach Zarathustra is taken deliberately, with a sense of trying to wring out every possible shade of color. Petrenko's Also sprach Zarathustra clocks in at more than 34 minutes, against an average length of less than 29; you may find it majestic or a bit overwrought, but an X factor in the performance's favor is that the Oslo Philharmonic seems to be in Petrenko's corner, and the performance is somehow quite stirring. Ein Heldenleben moves along at a steadier clip, and Petrenko seems more at ease with its ongoing narrative than with the sequence of ideas, loosely established in Nietzsche's essay, of Also sprach Zarathustra; Ein Heldenleben is also considerably slower than normal. Audition closely to see if Petrenko's readings are your cup of tea, but they are well worth hearing. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 6, 2017 | BR-Klassik

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra have recorded the tone poems of Richard Strauss for BR Klassik since 2010, and they have already presented the popular Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks), Don Juan, and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), in impressive performances for the German label. This 2016 album offers two more Strauss favorites, the musical representation of a mountain hike, Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), and the moving depiction of a man's last moments, Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration). These works reflect dramatically different sides of Strauss, where the virtuosic music and opulent orchestration of Eine Alpensinfonie suggest a robust extroversion, while the deathbed ruminations of Tod und Verklärung and its final vision of transcendence are more introspective. Jansons elicits powerful playing from the orchestra, and draws out resplendent sonorities that are thrilling for their brilliance and force. Yet Strauss' softer music may hold more expressive depth, particularly the tone painting of "Night" at the beginning of Ein Alpensinfonie, and the fragile, hesitant opening of Tod und Verklärung, which are among the subtlest and most affecting passages in all of Strauss' works. The sound of this standard CD is rich and vibrant, and practically every detail can be heard clearly. © TiVo
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Symphonies - Released September 3, 2021 | harmonia mundi

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After two recordings devoted to Mahler’s Third and Fifth symphonies, François-Xavier Roth continues his exploration of the major works premiered by the Gürzenich Orchestra. In the spotlight this time are two of the young Richard Strauss’s most brilliant achievements: Till Eulenspiegel and Don Quixote. In the latter, a symphonic poem in the guise of a double concerto, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Tabea Zimmermann form a picaresque duo playing the Knight of the Doleful Countenance and his squire Sancho Panza. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released March 15, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Opera - Released February 5, 2021 | Orfeo

Booklet
This live recording of Ariadne auf Naxos in October 2014 took place not only at the site of the opera premiere of the version of the opera that we are best familiar with these days, but it also testifies Christian Thielemann’s first conducting engagement of a scenic performance of a Strauss opera at the opera house on the Ring. The cast includes Soile Isokoski as Ariadne, Johan Botha – in one of his latest performances before his untimely death – as Bachus, Daniela Fally as Zerbinetta, Sophie Koch as the composer, Jochen Schmeckenbecher as the music teacher and Peter Matic as the dancing master. Many attendees of the premiere of Strauss‘ first version of Ariadne - which was intended to succeed Moliere’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and for this reason was six hours long – felt that they had just been part of a first-rate funeral. It had become obvious that this third cooperational work with Hugo von Hofmannsthal needed some restructuring. As a consequence, the Moliere piece was replaced with the Prologue, and premiered four years later on 4 October 1916 at Vienna’s Court Opera (today’s State Opera). In March 2021, Ariadne returns to the Vienna State Opera’s playing schedule. © Orfeo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1953 | Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released January 12, 1999 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | Alpha Classics

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The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Mikko Franck continue their collaboration with Alpha and here invite one of the label’s flagship pianists, Nelson Goerner. The programme is devoted to Richard Strauss, coupling several of the German composer’s early works. The Burleske for piano and orchestra, written at the age of twenty, is brimming with lyricism and Romantic ardour; its tone colours herald Strauss’s operas, while the orchestration anticipates his symphonic poems. The piano part is exceptionally virtuosic: Hans von Bülow, for whom Strauss wrote it, called it unplayable! The Serenade for thirteen wind instruments harks back to Mozart’s Gran Partita, K. 361 for similar forces. This brief work in a single movement begins in a nocturnal colouring, as befits a serenade, before growing more animated and finally returning to the contemplative atmosphere of the opening. The symphonic poem for large orchestra Tod und Verklärung depicts the last hour of an artist’s life: the listener is gripped from the very first bars, which evoke the breathing and heartbeats of a dying man. Strauss allows us to experience his final moments and the transfiguration of his soul in one of the most glorious moments in the symphonic repertoire. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released January 22, 2021 | Champs Hill Records

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Richard Strauss worked on large canvases, and nobody ever thought of him as a chamber music composer. The works on this release from the small but discriminating Champs Hill label span more than 60 years and hardly represent a connected creative impulse. Yet there are several finds here that make the album of interest to more than just the Strauss completist. The performances by the Oculi Ensemble are gorgeous, nowhere more than in the unusual version of the late work Metamorphosen that is on offer here. An early draft of the work was for seven strings; arranger Rudolf Léopold drew on that version as well as on the finished work in realizing it once again for septet. It's a compelling, rather interior reading that accords well with the suggestion in the booklet that Strauss may have intended this genuinely tragic work as not only a lament for the destruction wrought by the Second World War but as a kind of apology for his own early support of the Nazis. The Two Pieces for Piano Quartet, TrV 169 (1892), form another surprise. The short "Arabischer Tanz," written by Strauss after a trip to Egypt and apparently drawing on actual Arab material, is an unusual thing, and the "Liebesliedchen" (the Little Love Song), hardly known, contains one of Strauss' most simply beautiful melodies. Elsewhere, the album is nowhere less than enjoyable. There is the opening Prelude from the rather meta late opera Capriccio, a youthful string quartet movement and full-fledged string quartet that sound like Mendelssohn but suggest things to come, and an attractive Ständchen, TrV 114, and Festmarsch for piano quartet, TrV 136, the latter more than the purely ceremonial march the title might suggest. Even if the music here is uncharacteristic, there are many moments that will linger in mind. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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