Artists to Watch
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
From the review in GramophoneNov. 14 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
"In April 1926 a silent-film version of Der Rosenkavalier was given its first showing in London at the Tivoli Theatre, and Strauss was persuaded to conduct the specially arranged orchestral accompaniment at the premiere. Conditions were not to his liking. ''Not a good orchestra, not like Covent Garden'', he remarked to his players, but almost immediately after the performance he and the Augmented Tivoli Orchestra visited the Queen's Hall and recorded excerpts from the revised score for HMV. The 'suite' contains orchestral excerpts from the opera, and some vocal passages transcribed for orchestra, plus a 'Presentation March' which does not appear in the opera at all.
"In fact, the playing is very good by contemporary London standards, and even though this was an early electrical recording the sound is more than adequate, and captures well a great performing artist at work. The way Strauss inflects the waltz rhythms is captivating; the manner in which he unfolds the long melodic lines is masterly, and his conducting has perfect clarity, balance and refinement of expression.
"Fifteen years later Strauss was persuaded to make records for German Electrola (his usual recording company was Polydor), and the work chosen was his Eine Alpensinfonie ('An Alpine Symphony'). At this point the Electrola engineers were not apparently able to reproduce the sound of a large orchestra with any degree of impact, and there is a certain dullness in the original recording. The quality is good enough, however, to convey another great performance. In his late seventies Strauss the conductor was still able to generate a good deal of tension and concentration, and the orchestra play for him with extraordinary energy and eloquence. Also very striking is the manner in which he holds this potentially unwieldy work together and projects it as one mighty organic whole. All the episodes relate perfectly to one another, and the use of the term 'Symphony' is seen to be well justified. If I had to demonstrate Strauss's qualities as a conductor quickly and effectively this disc would fill the bill admirably."