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Strauss: Metamorphosen For 23 Strings, Etc / Previn, Vpo


Release Date: 08/18/2008 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 420160   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If Richard Strauss had been compelled to go before a denazification tribunal, he would have needed only to play it a recording of Melamorphosen to prove once and for all what were his real feelings about the barbarians, as he called them, who had destroyed the Germany he loved. Here, in one of his greatest works, is an anguished elegy not only for the artistic treasures and buildings which were destroyed in the war but a lament for the death of a civilization. It is also, of course, a wonderful example of string-writing and a demonstration that his powers were still at their peak in his 82nd year. The continuous-variation technique applied to the themes, the intertwining counterpoint, and the amazing contrasts of tonecolour are alike Read more enthralling, and all from 23 players. Everyone knows about the Eroica quotation, but I suspect there are dozens of other allusions and semi-quotations in the score still uncharted.

From the point of view of the music's structure and a revelation of thematic inter-relationships, Tate's recent ECO recording for EMI is masterly. As an emotional experience, this new Previn/ Vienna performance will take some beating. The note of savage strain, of a grief almost too intense to be expressed, is omnipresent in the playing, which achieves almost unbearable tension. Karajan's celebrated DG performance, a superb example of his art, sounds by comparison too soft-edged, too luscious probably because the sound is so full that I very much doubt if only 23 strings were used. The Previn performance is most truthfully recorded, perhaps a little weak in the bass, though this can be adjusted, but well balanced and always clear.

It is coupled with the first of the two sonatinas (symphonies really) for wind instruments that Strauss wrote in 1943 and 1944. These are long works and to the uninitiated can seem garrulous; but not when played, conducted and recorded like this. Tempos are well chosen to keep the humour and charm of the music fresh and bubbly throughout, and the grace and flexibility of the woodwind in particular are up to the highest Viennese standard. To be converted listen to the Romanza and Menuetto, it is sheer joy.

-- Gramophone [4/1988]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1945; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1986 
Venue:  Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 27 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
Sonatina no 1 in F major, AV 135 "Werkstatt eines Invaliden" by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1943; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1986 
Venue:  Konzerthaus, Vienna 
Length: 34 Minutes 17 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings
Sonatina No.1 in F for Wind Instruments - "From an Invalid's Workshop": 1. Allegro moderato
Sonatina No.1 in F for Wind Instruments - "From an Invalid's Workshop": 2. Romance and Minuet (Andante - Tempo di Menuetto)
Sonatina No.1 in F for Wind Instruments - "From an Invalid's Workshop": 3. Finale (Molto allegro - Meno mosso - Tempo primo - Presto)

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