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Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Don Quixote / Ormandy

Release Date: 04/23/2009 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 38287  
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***

R. STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra. Don Quixote 1 Eugene Ormandy, cond; Philadelphia O; Samuel Mayes (vc) 1 RCA-ArkivMusic 38287 (78:04)

This is the second of Ormandy’s three versions of Also sprach Zarathustra ; it is his fourth and last Don Quixote . Read more The former may be the most difficult of Strauss’s major symphonic poems, requiring a truly virtuoso string section. Need I say more? I don’t know the 1979 EMI recording, but this 1975 version is very similar to the 1963 Columbia; the Columbia has perhaps a bit more presence. The “Sunrise” music here won’t blow you against the back wall of your listening room, but the sound is natural and full.

With the exception of his first version, recorded in 1940 with Emanuel Feuermann as solo cellist, Ormandy used his first-chair string players in Don Quixote , as Strauss indicated in the score (and did in practice, in his own two studio recordings). This is the only version to feature Mayes; Lorne Munroe was the principal cellist for the two Columbia recordings. Ironically, Mayes is over-miked, so that in this recording he is made to sound like a soloist; he even seems to be placed at the conductor’s left, rather than to the right along with the rest of the cello section. Otherwise the 1972 sound is quite good. Again, I think the stereo Columbia version is marginally better recorded, but both feature excellent solo string playing (here by not only Mayes but by violist Joseph de Pasquale and concertmaster Norman Carol). My own personal tastes lean toward Munroe, Carlton Cooley, and (uncredited) Brusilow on Columbia. The two 1960s recordings are available on a Sony ArkivCD with the identical program, so that may be irresistible, but this is very close behind; since I haven’t heard the Sony remastering (I still have my Columbia LPs), I won’t recommend one over the other. It’s a win-win situation.

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/26/1975 
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/19/1972 

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