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Classical - Released November 18, 2016 | PentaTone
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
For this 2016 release from PentaTone, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony present two of Richard Strauss' epic tone poems, the semi-autobiographical Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), and the Shakespearean study Macbeth. While Ein Heldenleben has been a fixture of the concert repertoire alongside Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Also sprach Zarathustra, and Don Quixote, Macbeth has always lagged behind in popularity, partly for being the first and least conceptually developed of the tone poems, and partly for its vague depiction of the characters' emotions, instead of a detailed retelling of the play. One could also mention the darkness of the scoring and the paucity of soaring themes and lush harmonies found in Strauss' other works, so Macbeth might seem to be a lost cause. Yet Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra deliver a compelling reading that emphasizes its grim power and volatility, and the music comes across with utter transparency and considerable expressive depth, if not with Strauss' full-blown personality. Even so, Ein Heldenleben will likely impress listeners more because of its dynamic counterpoint and sweeping grandeur, and the audiophile recording captures the orchestra's vibrant sonorities with great fidelity. © TiVo
Classical - Released July 20, 2018 | PentaTone
One of Richard Strauss' longest symphonic poems, Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony) is organized into 22 continuous sections and scored for a massive late-Romantic orchestra of approximately 125 players. It is also a true showcase of the orchestra, displaying Strauss' full palette of tone colors, elaborately interwoven textures, lush harmonies, and novel effects, such as the wind and thunder machines in the "Gewitter und Sturm" section. As a result, Eine Alpensinfonie is a terrific vehicle for Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and this audiophile presentation on Pentatone provides extraordinary spatial dimensions, a wide dynamic range, multichannel Surround Sound, and a sonic richness unrivaled by conventional digital recordings. Orozco-Estrada's pacing is broad and unhurried, giving the work a proper monumental feeling, if not exactly a sense of timelessness, and the duration of the performance at over 55 minutes puts it among the longest recordings available. Listeners should prepare to hear this performance in one sitting to get the proper impression of Strauss' Alpine adventure, and to follow its arc from the opening "Nacht" to its return at the end. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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