This set purports to contain Strauss’ complete orchestral music, but it doesn’t even come close. Many early works are missing, including the two symphonies, lots of opera suites, the Japanese Festival Music, and other occasional works–the list goes on. So let’s forget about the “complete” business. What you do get is the entire nine-disc set previously released, with the discs reorganized and renumbered, but otherwise presented with their couplings intact. There is one new item: the brief “Moonlight Music” from Capriccio, four minutes of loveliness added to the end of what is now Disc One.
This reissue also claims to have been “newly remastered from the original source tapes.” ThatRead more claim is believable. The sonics, always very good, are indeed more vividly present than previously, if only marginally so. For comparison I include excerpts from the opening of Don Juan in the EMI Masters series and the present (Warner Classics) edition. The differences, even in an mp3, are detectable, though not huge (sound clips). Those who want these performances in their best CD incarnations yet might want to consider springing for this set. However, if you already own it in one of its many prior incarnations, and you are perfectly happy, then there is no special urgency to upgrade.
The performances themselves need no further recommendation from me. They remain the absolute benchmarks for great Strauss playing and conducting. Of course, there are other equally fine individual performances from the likes of Reiner, Karajan, and Szell, but no one matches Kempe and the Staatskapelle Dresden for sheer clarity of texture and consistent liveliness and musicality. The ideal way of building your Strauss collection is to start here, and then supplement with other individual items, such as the Reiner Ein Heldenleben, the last Karajan Death and Transfiguration, the Kord or Solti Alpine Symphonies, and other such works as strike your fancy. This remains the biggest and best Strauss collection yet assembled, and it looks likely to remain so.
Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64by Richard Strauss Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1911-1915; Germany
Don Quixote, Op. 35by Richard Strauss Performer:
Paul Tortelier (Cello),
Max Rostal (Viola)
Period: Romantic Written: 1896-1897; Germany
The Complete Big Bang of Strauss in One Little PaFebruary 13, 2015By Kathryn R. (Williamsburg, VA)See All My Reviews"Here's all of R. Strauss's orchestral "Big Bang" works in one neat package, with a great orchestra, conductor and sound engineering to show it off. I'm going to clear out my previous Strauss collection and save space and time finding the right recording with this package."Report Abuse
Kempe's Strauss is sublimeMay 3, 2014By Joel K. (Temecula, CA)See All My Reviews"I've treasured my recordings by Fritz Reiner of the Strauss tone poems for decades, and I still do, but Kempe has a slight edge in the sound quality, whilst still retaining the poetry, precision and sheer excitement of Reiner's interpretations. Every instrument in the orchestra possesses its own clear voice within the huge Straussian fabric, and the clarity is amazing."Report Abuse
The Classic StraussApril 16, 2014By Joseph Lieber, MD (Great Neck, NY)See All My Reviews"This is the classic Strauss orchestral set. The recordings by Kempe are always beautifully played, with superb phrasing and intensity. It is probably the best way to get all of the Strauss orchestral works together in one box set and still be assured of riveting performances."Report Abuse