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Cat. No. CHAN 10218 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10218 - Strauss, R: Symphonic Poems, Vol. 3
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Available From: 14 June 2004
Classifiable as something between a suite and a symphonic poem, Aus Italien records the impressions of a visit to Italy which Strauss made in the summer of 1886 when he was twenty-two. He followed the tourist’s conventional route through Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Capri. He climbed Vesuvius, saw it erupt, went to Pompeii, and was caught in a storm at sea which he found wonderfully exciting. He wrote:

I’ve never fully believed in the idea that natural beauty acts as a stimulus, but in the ruins of Rome I learned better.

In the last eighteen months of the Second World War, when he was nearing his eightieth birthday, Strauss witnessed with increasing distress the destruction of the German culture in which he had been nurtured. Places of special artistic and personal significance – the Munich National Theatre, the Dresden Opera House and the Vienna State Opera House – were destroyed. In October 1943 he started sketching a ‘Mourning for Munich’ and, in March and April 1945, expanded the work into Metamorphosen for twenty-three solo strings, an elegy for what the Nazis had done to his beloved homeland. In no other work of his is the writing for strings more eloquent, more moving, and more technically accomplished.The work is a long Adagio in which the themes proliferate and interweave in seamless counterpoint. These themes sound familiar to the listener, not because they are especially reminiscent of earlier Strauss themes but because they seem to carry echoes of Wagner, Brahms and others. Only at the very end do we realise what the principal theme really is, when Strauss quotes the ‘Marcia funebre’ from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and writes underneath it in the score ‘In Memoriam!’. He said later that not until he had reached this point in the composition did he realise that this was the theme that had been haunting him from the start.
Reviews

…well served here by Järvi and his fine Scottish Orchestra…
Classic FM Magazine

This is as good a recording of Aus Italien as any. The sound is sumptuous… Metamorphosen sounds beautiful here.
American Record Guide

 

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