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Classical - Released November 18, 2016 | PentaTone

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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
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Classical - Released February 5, 2016 | PentaTone

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As multichannel recordings increase in popularity, Igor Stravinsky's 1913 masterpiece Le Sacre du printemps has become a kind of sonic showcase for what skilled orchestras and audiophile labels can do together. Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony offer one of the finest versions of Le Sacre on this hybrid SACD, and PentaTone's deep and resonant sound is a perfect complement to the visceral performance. The wide dynamic range, crisp execution, and vibrant instrumental colors make it a fascinating display, and the focused reproduction sorts through Stravinsky's layered textures and dense dissonances, so everything is fully audible. But most listeners will appreciate the extreme power of the bass instruments and low percussion in the dances of Part I and the shattering impact of the full orchestra in the closing pages of the Danse sacrale, which is nearly overwhelming at high volume. To complete the program, the 1919 suite from Stravinsky's L'Oiseau de Feu is included, and though the sumptuous orchestration of the Ronde des princesses and the shocking Danse infernale are not to be missed, the winning performance of this album is undoubtedly Le Sacre, which fans of the piece will want to hear again and again. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 20, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
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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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | CPO

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Classical - Released August 31, 1999 | CPO

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Classical - Released May 16, 2000 | CPO

In its American Classics series Naxos has a cycle of Antheil Symphonies and other works ongoing, with the young conductor Theodor Kuchar leading the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. The Fourth and Sixth Symphonies appear on the first issue in that cycle, along with a short work called McKonkey's Ferry, and in all those works the voice of Shostakovich can be heard. Here, in the First, from 1923 when the composer was twenty-three, no such influence can be discerned, and neither does the work in any substantial way sound immature. Already Antheil had developed a sure sense of orchestration, if not of style. This work, in fact, sounds as though it contains a variety of influences, from the music of Les Six (he was living in France at the time he wrote this symphony) to that of Stravinsky. The work is interesting, to be sure, but for all its seeming maturity does not rise to the level of his later symphonies. At least its colors and changing moods point the way to his career as a successful film composer in Hollywood a couple of decades later. The Sixth (1947-48) is the more substantial work here and not only shows the influence of Shostakovich but of Prokofiev as well, especially in the second movement. The excellent notes, by Eckhardt van den Hoogen, point out these musical ties. This is a powerful work that seethes with tension throughout, even in the haunting Larghetto central panel. The finale is pure energy and color. The symphony sounds little like the American music from the time, but instead divulges Antheil's rather cosmopolitan nature. He was not afraid to associate his style with that of other composers, and was apparently content to go against the grain in a variety of ways. Archipelago is a rumba that was later reworked into the composer's Second Symphony as its third movement. It's clever and colorful, and makes a decent filler, not least because it showcases the Gershwinian side of Antheil. The performances here are excellent and young Hugh Wolff demonstrates a firm grasp on Antheil's music. Does he offer a better Sixth than Kuchar on Naxos? That's the burning question, especially amid the irony that Naxos now distributes cpo discs. Both conductors share overall timings that are close (26:04 for Kuchar and 25:48 for Wolff), but their individual movements vary considerably. I would say Wolff is more fluent and smoother, but that Kuchar, rawer and more intense, is in the end the better choice. Besides, his couplings are far better. Still, for those interested in Antheil, this CD is well worth knowing. The performances by the Frankfurt players are excellent and Wolff's readings are convincing. The sound is vivid and, as suggested above, the copious notes are most informative. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 20, 2000 | CPO

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Classical - Released May 28, 1998 | CPO

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Classical - Released May 1, 1998 | CPO

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Classical - Released April 29, 2016 | Pan Classics

Booklet
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Classical - Released September 30, 2016 | Pan Classics

Booklet