alpine thunderstorm, lasting 3:44, and featuring the wind and thunder machines Strauss stipulated from the first performance onwards. In track 17, we get the approaching cataclysm with distant thunder, and periodic rain drops, one at a time. As the pacing begins to gather momentum, so does the weather, as these high country storms are almost an everyday occurrence in any Alpine location. The roar and violence of the T-storm falls upon us with merciless abruptness, crushing tiny mountain flowers, scattering birds and small animals and drenching every foot of soil, but it is over almost as soon as it began. The capriciousness odf these Summer events are notorious for their predictability and drama, and our climbers soon resume their way back to camp. Track #19 is the end of the day "sunset" portion, and my copy has a few serious skips, so I'm not hearing some of this music, a rapturously beautiful and gentle piece that displays the composer at his most intimate, since Tod und Verklarlung" of 1888. HB's careful deceleration and diminuendo is spot on, as good as I've ever heard, even from Kempe's Royal Philharmonic RCA recording on LP, upon which I first learned the work. Still plays well but nothing beats the fidelity of the standard CD. The long, 6:42, "Epilogue" is enchanting for it's blending of mountain songs, melodies and ideas, with fine woodwind work from the SF musicians. this is intimate and personal music, luminous and radiant in it's simplicity, masterfully presented by Maestro Blomstedt. Night, the final track, closes this day in the mountains and as we leave the hall, or change disks, so many of this composition remains in our heads, playing itself over and over. THAT is what a great work does, and this surely IS a great composition. Don't miss out, but get yourself a copy today, and happy listening. God bless, Tony.