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Strauss: Elektra / Bychkov, Palmer, Clark, Et Al

Release Date: 01/17/2006 
Label:  Profil   Catalog #: 5022   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Karen FosterChristiane HossfeldFranz GrundheberTwyla Robinson,   ... 
Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio ChorusCologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Of all repertory operas, Elektra is one of the hardest to record, presenting the almost insurmountable challenge of combining towering vocal performances in each major role with Strauss’s juggernaut of an orchestra, and capturing them in vivid sound. Under Semyon Bychkov, one of today’s most outstanding Straussians, this new recording from Cologne raises the stakes very high, though in the vocal department it fails to dispel memories of some great past performances. For all her energy and intelligence, Deborah Polaski fails to translate all the subtlety she has shown on stage in the title role into a studio context. There are already several
Read more great Elektras on record, none surpassing the late lamented Birgit Nilsson. But when it comes to the orchestra, Bychkov trumps the competition spectacularly. He conducts the score uncut and summons up all its exultant power; but in addition to the growling savagery of Solti and others he finds rare warmth and glow. Most conductors straightjacket this work into either Wagnerian or Schoenbergian moulds, but Bychkov does it the favour of treating it like Strauss. Felicity Palmer is an imperious Klytämnestra who really sings the notes. Anne Schwanewilms sounds appropriately feminine even in Chrysothemis’s most demanding moments. Even if Franz Grundheber (Orest) and Graham Clark (Aegisth) have better rivals on disc, and though the packaging is a little skimpy, this is a recording no one who cares about Strauss should be without.
Performance: 5 (out of 5); Sound: 5 (out of 5) -- John Allison, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Elektra, Op. 58 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Karen Foster (Soprano), Christiane Hossfeld (Mezzo Soprano), Franz Grundheber (Baritone),
Twyla Robinson (Alto), Alfred Walker (Bass), Arnold Walker (Tenor),
Lars Woldt (Baritone), Birgitta Svendén (Mezzo Soprano), Irmgard Vilmaier (Soprano),
Graham Clark (Tenor), Anne Schwanewilms (Soprano), Deborah Polaski (Soprano),
Felicity Palmer (Soprano), Viola Zimmermann (Soprano), Susanne Resmark (Alto),
Margarita de Arellano (Soprano)
Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Chorus,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 

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