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Strauss: Symphonic Poems Vol 2 / Neeme Järvi


Release Date: 06/29/2004 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10206   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Raphael WallfischJohn HarringtonEdwin Paling
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 34 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available in this series are Volume 1 and Volume 3.

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Here's more mid-priced Järvi/Strauss from Chandos for your consideration. Disc 1 contains three of this cycle's high-points, starting with a spectacular Sinfonia Domestica. The score's abundant pools of chamber-like woodwind interaction convey characterful zest at all times, while the brass positively let rip in the Fugue, egged on by Järvi's upbeat tempos. The love music makes its lascivious points without wallowing in them. Imagine the X-ray clarity of Szell's recording,
Read more Kempe/Dresden's local color, and Sawallisch/Philadelphia's opulent tuttis all rolled into one and you've basically got Järvi. The conductor's fleet, light-footed, and smiling overview of Till Eulenspiegel holds its own with the catalog's finest (including Szell/Cleveland and Kempe/Berlin), and Järvi's strong and fervently projected rendition of the early, underrated Macbeth is equal to those by Dorati and Maazel.

Although Järvi admirably unravels Don Quixote's textural intricacies (an extra fuel tank propels the Ride through the Air, and the dissonant sheep noises seem to have grown fangs!), the Introduction, the Night Watch, and the Death Scene could have moved a little more. Concertmaster Edwin Paling and viola soloist John Harrington brilliantly rise to their parts' challenges, but cello soloist Raphael Wallfisch's wooly tone and occasional high-register wobbling don't match the eloquence and instrumental command Tortelier (Kempe/Berlin, Kempe/Dresden), Fournier (Szell/Cleveland), and Rostropovich (Karajan/EMI) bring to the title role.

In Also Sprach Zarathustra, the Scottish National Orchestra's proud and pliable brass largely prove to be the focal point, while the strings fall short of the fullness and vibrancy marking the more exciting Steinberg/Boston, Haitink/Concertgebouw, and Solti/Chicago versions. However, these quibbles shouldn't prevent you from acquiring this release, given the sumptuous, demonstration-quality engineering, Chandos' bargain price, and Disc 1's glories.

--Jed Distler
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonia domestica, Op. 53 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902-1903; Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/21/1987 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 42 Minutes 5 Secs. 
2.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/21/1987 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 15 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Macbeth, Op. 23 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1891; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1989 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 19 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Raphael Wallfisch (Cello), John Harrington (Viola), Edwin Paling (Violin)
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/25/1988 
Venue:  SNO Centre, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 43 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/12/1987 
Venue:  Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland 
Length: 32 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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