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Fritz Reiner Conducts Richard Strauss - The Complete RCA & Columbia Recordings

Reiner,Fritz
Release Date: 05/19/2014 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 379055  
Composer:  Richard StraussGustav Mahler
Performer:  John WeicherPhilip FarkasInge BorkhFrancis Yeend,   ... 
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraChicago Lyric Theatre ChorusPittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 11 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Does anyone not own most of these recordings? If you missed the recent budget box of all the stereo performances, and the individual Living Stereo SACDs, and the Living Stereo boxed set, and the initial Living Stereo reissues, and the Decca reissues of the Vienna Philharmonic recordings (which originally came out here on RCA for contractual reasons), then this box is just the ticket. It contains all of Reiner’s Strauss, including the early Pittsburgh recordings for Columbia of Don Juan, Don Quixote, Ein Heldenleben, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Rosenkavalier excerpts with Risë Stevens, and Salome’s closing scene (with Ljuba Welitsch and the Met Orchestra). These reveal, for those who don’t know them, that Reiner was a born Strauss Read more conductor from the beginning, and given their 1940s provenance they sound pretty good in these remasterings.

The real surprise, sonically, is the astoundingly fine mono RCA recording of Till Eulenspiegel and Death and Transfiguration from 1951. Not only are the sonics better than John Culshaw’s stereo Vienna Philharmonic remakes, but the performances are more virtuosically played by the RCA Victor Symphony, and more excitingly conducted too. The truth is that the mid-50s Vienna Philharmonic was nothing special, and often sounded pretty scrappy, even with a sadist like Reiner on the podium. Also, the earlier recording of D&T is tracked while the later one is not. Isn’t that just lazy? The rest of the recordings need no further comment: they are essential, classic, reference Strauss, one and all.

I have to say, though, that the packaging is maddening. The eleven CDs are presented in “original jackets,” but not with original content. In other words, neither the jackets nor the CDs themselves indicate fully what the discs actually contain. For that information, you have to look at the booklet, where the track listings only appear at the end. One jacket even appears twice: the Strauss opera excerpts from Salome and Elektra with Inge Borkh. It’s great to have all of this material in a single box, of course, but as usual with the major labels they have taken something that should have been clear and simple and made it more pointlessly confusing than it needed to be.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/06/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 16 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/08/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 31 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  John Weicher (Violin), Philip Farkas (French Horn)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/06/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 43 Minutes 36 Secs. 
4.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
5.
Salome, Op. 54: Final Scene by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
6.
Elektra, Op. 58: Allein! Weh', ganz allein! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
7.
Elektra, Op. 58: Was willst du, fremder Mensch? by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Francis Yeend (Soprano), Inge Borkh (Soprano), Paul Schöffler (Baritone)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
8.
Elektra, Op. 58: Elektra! Schwester! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano), Paul Schöffler (Baritone), Francis Yeend (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
9.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 33 Minutes 58 Secs. 
10.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Antonio Janigro (Cello), Milton Preves (Viola), John Weicher (Violin)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/11/1959 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 43 Minutes 2 Secs. 
11.
Symphonia domestica, Op. 53 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902-1903; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1956 
12.
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Op. 60: Suite by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Germany 
13.
Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, AV 85 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1886; Germany 
14.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Hugo Kolberg (Violin)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/10/1947 
15.
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Op. 60 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/04/1946 
16.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/09/1941 
17.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Vladimir Bakaleinikoff (Viola), Henri Temianka (Violin), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/15/1941 
18.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Carol Brice (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1946 
Language: German 
19.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Mir ist..."Rose Presentation" by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Risë Stevens (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
20.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Ist ein Traum by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Risë Stevens (Mezzo Soprano), Erna Berger (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
21.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1950 
22.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
23.
Salome, Op. 54: Closing Scene by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Ljuba Welitsch (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Written: 1905 

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