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Fritz Reiner Conducts Richard Strauss


Release Date: 08/07/2012 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 7686992   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge BorkhByron JanisJohn WeicherMilton Preves,   ... 
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 5 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Writing about this set reminds me of the book report on sharks that got me through grades 2-5 in various recycled versions. RCA has never tired of reissuing these performances, and of course they are right. Alongside Kempe’s EMI recordings, they comprise the core of any serious Strauss collection. And of course yet another re-release gives the label the opportunity to screw up, which RCA obligingly has. As we all know, Reiner recorded Don Juan and Also sprach Zarathustra twice, and in both cases his later versions are better played and better recorded. Needless to say, neither of these versions has made it into this collection. Instead, we do get his mono Death and Transfiguration with the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, which ought to be Read more there anyway, but not in preference to the complete Chicago Strauss recordings. Is that stupid, or what?

OK, so we all know why this set is just about unbeatable both technically and for the idiomatic stylishness of Reiner’s conducting. If you haven’t heard it yet, let me sum it up for you in one note. The attached sound sample consists of the opening of Ein Heldenleben. Just listen to that initial E-flat. Got it? No other performance builds into a single note such resonance, energy, and vitality, and the rest of these performances live up to that promise. Like Kempe, Reiner understands that the music needs to move swiftly, lightly, and transparently. Although as humorless an artist as ever lived (except when he was sadistically torturing his players), Reiner knew not to take Strauss’ programs too seriously, focusing instead on securing playing of transcendent virtuosity, amazingly well engineered for its day–or ours. And that is the whole story.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Salome, Op. 54: Ah! Du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund küssen lassen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 17 Minutes 2 Secs. 
2. 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 
Date of Recording: 03/04/1957 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 20 Minutes 8 Secs. 
3. 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, IL 
Length: 62 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902-1903; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/05/1956 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 43 Minutes 0 Secs. 
5. Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Op. 60: Suite by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Germany 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 10 Minutes 8 Secs. 
6. Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  John Weicher (Violin)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/06/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 42 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7. Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  John Weicher (Violin), Milton Preves (Viola), Antonio Janigro (Cello)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/11/1959 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 41 Minutes 5 Secs. 
8. 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, IL 
Length: 16 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9. Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Waltz sequence no 1, Acts 1-2 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1944; Germany 
10. Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
11. 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 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 9 Minutes 35 Secs. 
12. Elektra, Op. 58: Orest! (Recognition Scene) by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Paul Schoeffler (Bass Baritone), Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1909 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 21 Minutes 35 Secs. 
13. Elektra, Op. 58: Elektra! Schwester! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano), Frances Yeend (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 9 Minutes 44 Secs. 
14. Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Inge Borkh (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL 
Length: 9 Minutes 4 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 50 years of enjoyment October 6, 2012 By james nuckels (dallas, TX) See All My Reviews "There must be some truth to the notion that a first hearing of a recorded performance imprints our minds. Subsequent hearings of the same composition by other conductors do not satisfy. This is true for me of RCA/Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Reiner Heldenleben, Zarathustra, and Seven Veils. I bought the monaural recordings on 12” LPs in the ‘50s in a record shop just off my college campus. (yes, children, there used to be record shops where one could thumb through bins full of newly-minted 12” vinyl recordings and preview them in little sound rooms.) I paid an outrageous price of $3.98 for Heldenleben. Now we can enjoy these same wonderful readings of Reiner in stereo thanks to RCA’s forward-looking engineers who were preparing for the day when playback equipment would be available for stereo. For me the CSO has never sounded better than when Reiner was conductor. The sound is spectacular (was there ever better brass than the CSO brass?) and not as homogenized as current cd recordings. Whatever Reiner’s relationship with his musicians was, the players responded as one in these recordings. All of these R. Strauss compositions maintain a high level of music making. These discs should be in your collection." Report Abuse
 REINER AND STRAUSS September 6, 2012 By ROBERT E.  FOX (OCALA, FL) See All My Reviews "I PURCHASED THIS ALBUM BECAUSE OF REINERS REPUTATION FOR STRAUSS. I EXPECTED TO MAKE A COMPROMISE AS TO SOUND QUALITY AS THIS, OF COURSE, IS NOT A NEW RECORDING. TO MY SUPRISE, THE SOUND WAS LUSH, CLEAR AND COULD RIVAL TODAYS SUPPOSEDLY BETTER S A C D SOUND. CONGRATULATIONS TO R C A AN ACCORDING TO THE BACK OF THE BOX, SONY. I AM NOT AN ENGINEER, BUT IT SEEMS THAT SONY IS IN THE FOREFRONT FOR WE CLASSICAL MUSIC LOWERS. MY ONLY COMPLAINT IS THE ABSENCE OF THE ALPINE SYNPHONY." Report Abuse
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