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Strauss: Metamorphosen, Tod und Verklärung / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic


Release Date: 01/02/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 410892   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Herbert von Karajan was a very great Strauss conductor, but even among his numerous and duplicative recordings of the major tone poems, this one stands out. Not all of his last performance were better than the earlier ones, but in general the later interpretations are a bit less smooth and legato than his 1970s versions, and in these two works that’s all to the good. Marginally quicker tempos and more emphatic accents offer a more vital listening experience without compromising the phenomenally beautiful sound of the Berlin Philharmonic.

In Metamorphosen, where the relatively monochrome sonority of the 23 solo strings can come across as sounding like glue, the result has a welcome degree of contrast, and consequently an extra
Read more degree of tragic intensity. Death and Transfiguration is powerfully eruptive, and the final climax is unforgettable as the “transfiguration” theme emerges in the brass from an almost unbelievably rich halo of strings. The texture truly glows.

Sonically these late recordings were always a bit screechy due to Karajan’s own strange digital predilections, but they were tamed as remastered after his death and I assume this issue features that later processing, whether it says so or not. Certainly the sound, if not demonstration quality, is very good. All of Karajan’s later Strauss has been boxed up by DG, but if you’re happy with what Strauss you have and only want the best of those recordings, indeed the best Karajan Strauss in general, then you will need this disc.

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

1.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Length: 25 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2.
Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1945; Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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