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Cat. No. CHAN 10206(2) X Price: £14 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10206 - Strauss, R: Symphonic Poems, Vol. 2
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Available From: 10 May 2004
When the Symphonia domestica was first performed in 1904, solemn critics took Strauss to task for his ‘tastelessness’ in writing music about his family life with his wife, Pauline, and son, Franz. He was as astonished by this attitude then as we are today. ‘What can be more serious than married life?’ Strauss asked. ‘Marriage is the most serious happening in life, and the holy joy over such a union is intensified by the arrival of a child.’ A short theme for cellos (‘merry’) depicts the father (Strauss himself). The mother (Pauline) has three themes marked ‘tender’,‘hot-tempered’ and ‘quarrelsome’. The child (Franz) is depicted by a gentle melody for oboe d’amore with tremolando violins.

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Strauss’s musical portrait of the rascally German fourteenth-century folk hero, is one of his most popular and brilliant tone poems. Strauss’s inspired use of rondo form as a frame for Till Eulenspiegel’s ‘merry pranks’ allows him to make each episode a sharply defined character study.

An unusual feature of Macbeth is the use of the bass trumpet, which Strauss had heard in Wagner’s Ring while working at Bayreuth in 1890.

Don Quixote is perhaps the greatest of Strauss’s tone poems. It is in the form of an introduction, theme and variations, but it is also a type of sinfonia concertante for cello, viola and orchestra.

Today, when Nietzsche’s idea of the Superman is outmoded and discredited, Strauss’s tone poem based on Nietzsche’s prose poem Also sprach Zarathustra remains enjoyable for its purely musical attributes, not least of which is the richness and variety of the scoring, ranging from the opulence of the famous ‘Sunrise’ opening for trumpets, timpani and organ, to passages where the symphony orchestra is reduced to the intimacy of a chamber group.
Reviews

Järvis interpretation of Domestica is both genial and sharply characterised, with remarkable playing by the SNO.
Gramophone on Symphonia domestica

Järvis is a strongly characterised, good-natured account… gutsy and committed…
The Penguin Complete Guide on Symphonia domestica

The orchestra plays magnificently, whether in powerful outbursts or lyrical moments of aching beauty like the strings, violin and viola solo in the Grablied… Järvis Strauss series is an important set of recordings that will hold an honoured place alongside Chandos Prokofiev and Bax cycles.
Fanfare on Also sprach Zarathustra

…a sense of joy right to the end…
BBC Music Magazine ‘Building a Library’ on Symphonia domestica

 

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