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Strauss: Tone Poems / Rudolf Kempe, Staatskapelle Dresden


Release Date: 03/26/2012 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 6783122   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 37 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Yes, these performances have been reissued countless times since the 1970s, and rightly so. They are simply the best, and the reasons why are easy to describe. Kempe and the incomparable Staatskapelle Dresden maximize Strauss’ strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. Consider the opening of Don Juan, one of the quickest on disc, but also one of the most colorful and transparent. The music surges with infectious spontaneity and the kind of reckless abandon that not only lives up to the work’s programmatic content, but banishes any suspicion about the quality of Strauss’ melodic inspiration.

Indeed, if I had to single out one word to describe these performances, it would be “lightness”, not in the sense of any refusal to take
Read more the music seriously, but rather to signify an understanding that even the most thickly scored passages need to move forward purposefully without ever bogging down. This isn’t easy, particularly in the larger, more sectional tone poems. In Ein Heldenleben, for example, Kempe and his players treat the battle with tongues (and bows and reeds) firmly in their cheeks. Listen to how crisp the rhythms are, but also how the woodwinds penetrate the texture and project the music’s cartoon version of chaos. This is, after all, a satire—the hero against a bunch of music critics—and not a Franco-Prussian War documentary (as in Karajan’s performance—and Karajan was a great Strauss conductor).

Most experienced collectors probably already own Kempe’s big, 9-CD set of Strauss orchestral music in one of its perennial reissues, but if you don’t, or if you don’t want that much Strauss, then you can’t do better than with this 2-disc reissue. There isn’t a minute that fails to qualify for reference status, and the sonics, always vividly natural, have held up amazingly well.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 33 Minutes 6 Secs. 
2.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 14 Minutes 45 Secs. 
3.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 22 Minutes 28 Secs. 
4.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
5.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 16 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche, Dresden 
Length: 42 Minutes 58 Secs. 
7.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Waltz sequence no 2, Act 3 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; Germany 

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