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
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]
Works on This Recording
Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1945; Germany
Date of Recording: 02/1986
Venue: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna
Length: 27 Minutes 0 Secs.
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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