Notes and Editorial Reviews
Conductor Kent Nagano and the Göteborgs Symfoniker have been working together since 1993, when they collaborated on Mahler’s Third Symphony. In 2013, Nagano was appointed Principal Guest Conductor. His Strauss credentials are impressive, dating back to his Music Directorship of the Bayerische Staatsoper. He also recorded this work in Berlin in 2006. The Gotenberg players can also claim a distinguished Strauss tradition, under such conductors as Wilhelm Stenhammar, Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling, Neeme Järvi, and Gustavo Dudamel. However, it was Otmar Suitner who introduced the orchestra to the Op. 64 in 1975, and since then it has become an audience favourite. Nagano’s idea of a Strauss project is compelling, and this is the
first release in a projected series from Farao Classics.
What I find appealing in Nagano’s reading is that he achieves a performance of seamless cohesion with no sense of sequence. Neither does he take a bombastic approach but instinctively paints a canvas of delicate colours and subtle nuances. Under his inspirational conducting, the orchestral playing is enthralling, with plush strings, diaphanous woodwinds and burnished brass. As a whole, this stands shoulder to shoulder with my favourite version from Karajan and the Berliners.
I love the way Nagano evokes the Sunrise, expressing the awe, wonder and rapture of this radiant event. Then the climbers begin their purposeful ascent, with grit and determination. On entry into the forest again there’s wonderment, and in the Flowering Meadows the orchestra savour the lyrical moment. As in the Karajan performance, the calm before the storm is particularly effective. Nagano conjures an atmosphere of threat, portent and foreboding. Then the storm is unleashed with thrilling intensity. Ausklang (Quiet settles) is sensuous and lovingly phrased, and Night dies away, with breathtaking control, holding your attention to the very end.
This is a finely engineered recording in vivid and immediate sound. The sumptuous sonics invest it with almost tangible presence. Orchestral detail is clearly defined, essential, in my view, in a richly textured score such as this. I’m pleased that all twenty-two sections have been tracked separately, as this is not always the case.
On this evidence the omens look good for Farao’s projected Strauss cycle.
– MusicWeb International (Stephen Greenbank) Read less
Works on This Recording
Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64 by Richard Strauss
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1911-1915; Germany
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