This edition of Richard Strauss' chamber, brass, and wind oeuvre is completer than complete. Not only does it encompass all his original works in these genres (save for the gorgeous string sextet that opens the opera Capriccio), but also includes Strauss' own solo or duo piano arrangements of chamber and orchestral fare, as well as his complete original solo-piano output. For example, there are no less than three versions of the teenage composer's Serenade in E-flat for Winds Op. 7--the original scoring, a piano duo arrangement, and one for piano solo. True, much of Strauss' chamber music dates from his formative years and is of marginal interest in relation to his mature operatic and orchestral output. Yet there's no denying that from theRead more start the composer wrote with supreme confidence and effortless craftsmanship and possessed a Midas touch for effective instrumentation no matter how small or large his forces.
The performances are culled from live and studio sessions jointly produced by the Richard Strauss Institute and Munich and Bavarian Radio; all are of a high standard, even if you prefer alternative recordings of familiar fare like the Violin and Cello Sonatas and the late Sonatinas for Wind Ensemble. If one musician warrants singling out, it is Wolfgang Sawallisch, who gets a rare chance to flex his remarkable piano chops supporting the excellent cellist Peter Wöpke in the Op. 6 sonata. This is not to undervalue the excellent Mrongovius piano duo "de-orchestrating" the Second Symphony and Aus Italien, Gitti Priner's sensitive renderings of the lovely Op. 3 piano pieces, or the Bläser Ensemble Armadé's tonal opulence.
You probably won't want to hear occasional pieces like the military marches, fanfares, and other commemorative epherma on Disc 2 more than once or twice, but it's nice to know that you can. One quibble: Elisabeth Woska's engaging (if too forwardly balanced) narration in the melodram Enoch Arden is in German, and no texts or translations are provided. I suspect general collectors are more apt to pick and choose among these 11 discs on an individual basis rather than commit to a boxed set. Yet a comprehensive collection of this scope deserves a place in the library of any serious conservatory or music school, and will attract Straussophiles with ample shelf space.
Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, AV 132by Richard Strauss Performer:
Barton Weber (Piano),
Johannes Ritzkowsky (French Horn),
Wolfgang Sawallisch (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1942; Germany Notes: Transcribed: Richard Strauss