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Strauss: Don Juan Op 20, Tod Und Verklärung Op 24, Etc / Albrecht, Strasbourg Po


Release Date: 08/26/2008 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186310   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



R. STRAUSS Don Juan. Death and Transfiguration. Till Eulenspiegel. Intermezzo: Träumerei am Kamin Marc Albrecht, cond; Strasbourg PO PENTATONE 5186 310 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 63:53)


It has been awhile since a major label released this kind of collection of Richard Strauss tone poems. This is not unreasonable when you consider that there have been numerous recordings of these works conducted by Fritz Reiner, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and others with sound Read more that is in many cases better than most modern digital recordings. PentaTone would seem to be the natural label for this kind of project, given their usual repertoire and leadership in the field of multichannel sound that is ideal for Strauss’s orchestral showpieces, but is it reasonable to expect Marc Albrecht and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg to stand up against the formidable competition? Albrecht’s interpretations are far from straightforward run throughs. Don Juan is about a minute longer than Reiner and Böhm, but most of this occurs in the soft central section and at the climax where he broadens his tempo to considerable dramatic effect. The opening (and all the faster parts) are direct and propulsive in the manner of Reiner and Böhm, and that long, lyrical, central section has some lovely woodwind-playing. Albrecht’s opening of Death and Transfiguration is impressive. The violin, woodwind, and harp solos, along with the soft throbbing timpani, create a wonderfully atmospheric effect. The turbulent sections are more erratic. At one point, forward momentum nearly comes to a halt. On the other hand, the tempo for the Transfiguration section is well chosen. Taken together, this is a somewhat uneven performance that is fairly effective but clearly below the very best (Arturo Toscanini and André Previn on Telarc, among others).


The interpretive highlight of this SACD is Till Eulenspiegel . Albrecht has the ebb and flow of the wistful and raucous moments down perfectly. The brutally difficult horn solos could be cleaner and more assertive (the same is true of the horn call in Don Juan ). This is as good as any Till Eulenspiegel I have heard since that early 1950s Toscanini recording. Last but not least, the orchestral interlude from Intermezzo is stunning. For those of you who may not know this music, “Träumerei am Kamin” (Dreaming by the Fireside) is simply gorgeous, and quite clearly demonstrates the extent of Strauss’s lyrical gift.


As is usually the case, PentaTone’s SACD sound is excellent. Orchestral balances are nearly flawless (especially in multichannel). The impact of the timpani and bass drum in Till Eulenspiegel is outstanding, but the timpani are a little reticent and lost in the mix at times in Death and Transfiguration (I doubt Strauss’s medical expertise, but his critical irregular drum beats provide an excellent musical portrait of a dying man with a failing heartbeat in atrial fibrillation). The Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg is a solid ensemble, but should not be confused with world-class orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Don’t replace your favorites, but if you want a new SACD collection of Strauss’s orchestral works, this is highly recommended, especially when you add “Träumerei am Kamin.”


FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 16 Secs. 
2.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 4 Secs. 
4.
Intermezzo, Op. 72: Träumerei am Kamin by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918-1923; Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 22 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Don Juan, Op. 20, TrV 156
Tod und Verklarung (Death and Transfiguration), Op. 24, TrV 158
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), Op. 28, TrV 171
Intermezzo, Op. 72, TrV 246a: Traumerei am Kamin (Dreaming by the Fireside)

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