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|20. Rosenkavalier Suite: Tempo di Valse, assai comodo da primo|
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Strauss's Alpine Symphony, completed in 1915, is both a programmatic description of a mountain climb and a symphony in structure and thematic development. It represents a major challenge for conductors and the massive orchestral forces who must meld program and structure while giving full due to the pantheistic nature-worshiping subtext, and the wide emotional range, from a mysterious "Night" opening to the descent in a thunderstorm. That may be why it often fails to come off in performance, although old Strauss hands like Kempe, von Karajan, Solti, and Mehta have given the work its due, with the latter two aided by spectacular engineering. Thielemann doesn't match them in this live concert performance with a great Strauss orchestra, partly because of skewed balances and muffed details, but mainly because his sprawling interpretation neglects the work's structural elements. The Rosenkavalier Suite also suffers from a heavy hand at the helm, making it disjointed and episodic. Two-dimensional sonics don't help, either. --Dan Davis
Top Customer Reviews
Thielemann's enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of him, to the detriment of the work's structural integrity. Compared to Karajan or Rudolf Kempe, you're more aware listening to this CD that the piece moves from scene to scene. It isn't helped by his tendency to draw out the endings of phrases and sometimes slack off on the pace--effects which probably played better in concert than they do captured for posterity. However, the conductor's occasional missteps aren't enough to send the performance skidding back down the mountain.
What does threaten to jeopardize the expedition, though, is the recording job--a major consideration in a "blockbuster" work like this. The sense of scale and dynamic range are impressive, but there's a frustrating lack of "depth" and "presence" to the instruments. It's like listening to vividly detailed cardboard cutouts in a reverberant hall, instead of three-dimensional strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion. The Amazon "editorial review" for this release gets it just right when referring to the sonics as "two-dimensional." The third dimension, the sense of "you are there" realism, that you get from well-recorded CDs (such as Andre Previn's Telarc disc of this piece with the same orchestra in the same hall) is utterly lacking here.Read more ›
As it stands, this is a prime recommendation.
The make-weight is a Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier", not the usual waltz suites, but something quite different and enjoyable.
Go out and get it.