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R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Etc / Blomstedt


Release Date: 06/09/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 448815   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This recording was released by Decca in 1998, a time in which the classical industry was at the height of its suicidal business practice of incessantly issuing new recordings of redundant repertoire and then quickly cutting them out. It's no wonder then that Herbert Blomstedt's San Francisco Symphony Strauss recordings were all but forgotten. But that is no indication of the quality of the music-making, for these are very fine performances.

Blomstedt's singular view of Also sprach Zarathustra reflects his deep knowledge of and experience with the piece (he previously recorded it with the Staatskapelle Dresden). He's much more concerned with musical line than with splashy effects, rounding off phrases and seamlessly
Read more dovetailing the various sections. The big climaxes arise organically rather than as "showstoppers", but they are no less striking for that.

The San Francisco Symphony plays masterfully, its characteristic warm sound (especially in the strings) allied with a virtuoso polish that nonetheless conveys a sense of discovery. Decca's high fidelity recording captures the full range of the orchestra from the bright piccolo to the deep organ pedal tones. In Death and Transfiguration Blomstedt deftly manages the opening's journey from tranquility to foreboding to terror. The dramatic passages are full of fire, yet again Blomstedt is chiefly concerned with line. Blomstedt's rollicking Till Eulenspiegel demonstrates the conductor's lightheartedness and sense of comedic timing, as well as the orchestra's brilliance--the woodwinds sound especially vibrant and colorful here.

Of course, these performances are up against some pretty stiff competition from classic recordings by Reiner, Szell, and Kempe, but Blomstedt's disc (with its excellent sound) stands out among modern versions--a choice recording, available via Arkivmusic.com's on-demand service.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
2.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
3.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 

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