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Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs / Jarvi, Lott


Release Date: 01/12/2010 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 8518  
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Felicity Lott
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Felicity Lott's radiant singing has a glistening purity and brightness of tone. Her diction is immaculate and the sheer rapture of her phrasing is glorious to hear.

A distinguished Strauss disc, and how good to find it sponsored by a Scottish commercial firm. The SNO made many fine recordings under Sir Alexander Gibson and this achievement is obviously being prolonged by his successor Neeme Järvi, who has imparted his own precision to the playing. The orchestra now play with a smouldering intensity that can and does, when required, erupt with volcanic force. Em Heldenleben is just the work for this kind of corporate artistic personality and the best tribute I can pay to this performance is that it can stand
Read more comparison with Karajan's latest Berlin/DG recording; and Chandos offer better value for money by including the Four Last Songs.

The sound on the LP version is admirable. Recording balance is excellent and even the most complex and forceful sections of the score, such as the Battle scene, never sound congested. .15rvi is kinder to the Adversaries (music critics) than some of his colleagues: the SNO woodwind lack some of the spitefulness that this passage ideally requires. Edwin Paling's playing of the long violin solo depicting Strauss's wife, Pauline, is vividly characterized and technically beyond cavil. I was deeply moved by Jdrvi's interpretation of the final section, where the solo violin and solo horn contribute to his creation of a-truly noble tranquillity. One feature—unique among Ein Heldenleben recordings to the best of my knowledge—is that each of the work's six sections is banded, a very welcome idea.

Those fortunate enough to attend Glyndebourne know how well Felicity Lott sings operatic Strauss, so it is particularly pleasing that wider and larger audiences enjoy her outstanding performance of the Four Last Songs and can now have it on record. I have no hesitation in preferring it to Jessye Norman's over-praised Philips recording; for one thing, Järvi's tempos avoid Masur's ponderous treatment of this score. For another, the songs are sung in the order of the 1950 first performance, with "Beim schlafengehen" first (as on the Delia Casa/13611m classic 1953 Decca disc—nla). Emotionally this seems to me an improvement on the published sequence. Lott's radiant singing reminds me of Sena Jurinac in this music. It has a comparable glistening purity and brightness of tone. Her diction is immaculate and the sheer rapture of her phrasing–in a line like "Sommer lachelt erstaunt" and especially her profoundly moving delivery of "So tief im Abendrot" in the final song—is glorious to hear. The orchestral playing is luminous and rich in detail.

-- Gramophone [10/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
2.
Four Last Songs, AV 150 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano)
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 

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