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Cat. No. CHAN 10199(2) X Price: £14 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10199 - Strauss, R: Symphonic Poems, Vol. 1
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Audio Sample

Available From: 08 March 2004
Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie is scored for enormous forces, requiring an orchestra of over 150 players, including twenty horns and quadruple woodwind. Each of the work’s twenty-one linked sections has a title describing an event in the twenty-four hours in the mountains covered by the symphony. The work was completed in 1915 and first performed, under the composer’s direction, in Berlin on 25 October of that year. ‘It really is quite a good piece!’ he remarked afterwards.

Strauss wrote that Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) represented the death of an artist who had striven for the highest ideals. As the artist sleeps in his bed, he smiles at agreeable dreams. He wakes and is racked with pain. As his limbs shake with fever he recalls his childhood, his endeavours, his passions and the elusive ideal he has tried to represent through art. The hour of death approaches. As the artist’s soul leaves his body, he finds that the perfection for which he has always struggled exists in the most glorious form in the eternal cosmos. Tod und Verklärung is one of the composer’s seminal works and we can deduce its importance to him by the number of times he quoted from it in later works.

Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) is in one continuous movement – a vast sonata-form structure, which is divided into six sections. The work portrays the life of a composer who adores his capricious and captivating wife and whose ‘adversaries’ are music critics.

Strauss’s magnificent series of tone-poems was launched in public by Don Juan in 1889. With this concise masterpiece, he put himself at the head of the post-Wagner generation of German composers.

'The production is superb - and the performances range from the acceptable ( a rather portly Don Juan) to the first-rate (the tough hard-hitting Death and Transfiguration, the massive if slightly brutal Alpensinfonie) to the exceptional - the succulent, and surprisingly tender Ein Heldenleben.'
International Record Review

'The performances are good, the sonics excellent, voluminous notes are included, and the Scottish orchestra's playing is on a high level. There's no question that the release offers good value for money.'
American Record Guide


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