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Richard Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs / Auger, Previn

Hermann Hesse , Joseph von Eichendorff , Richard Strauss , Andre Previn , Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , Arleen Auger Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Price: $11.58 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 1989 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2002 $11.58  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 A Hero's Life46:15Album Only
listen  2. Strauss: Four Last Songs: Fruhling 3:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Strauss: Four Last Songs: September 4:42$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Strauss: Four Last Songs: Beim Schlafengehen 5:32$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Strauss: Four Last Songs: Im Abendrot 8:18$0.89  Buy MP3 

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Richard Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs / Auger, Previn + Alpine Symphony + Richard Strauss : Also Sprach Zarathustra / Previn, Vienna PO
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Product Details

  • Performer: Arleen Auger
  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (September 24, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CV6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

The late Arleen Auger sings the Four Last Songs very touchingly, but this disc is really a showcase for André Previn and the Vienna Philharmonic. Previn has always been a fine Strauss conductor, and he is on record as saying that the four-disc set of Strauss tone poems that he recorded for Telarc is his personal favorite among his many recordings. It's easy to see why. The playing is alive with character. Previn keeps matters moving smartly, and Telarc lets nothing come between the listener and this magnificent orchestra. Strauss, for all his skill as a dramatic composer, has a weak sense of musical timing. He frequently never knew when to stop. With playing of this quality, you almost wish he never would. --David Hurwitz

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Heldenleben, profoundly beautiful Four Last Songs September 8, 2000
By Jason
Format:Audio CD
Although perhaps not as known as Herbert von Karajan or Georg Solti for interpretations of Richard Strauss, Andre Previn also specializes in music by the late German Romantic composer. Although his interpretation of "Ein Heldenleben" (A Hero's Life) does not quite play with nuances in quite the same way as Karajan and Solti, Previn conducts a very fine interpretation with dedicated playing from the Vienna Philharmonic and an atmosphere of grandeur befitting this piece. Unfortunately, there are no track cues for the separate sections of Strauss' quasi-autobiographical, but ultimately tongue-in-cheek, tone poem.
As a side note, many people mistaken "Heldenleben" for an ego trip. Actually, it is Strauss' ironic play on the whole idea of artist as hero. (Strauss was into irony and self-parody long before it became popular among my contemporaries.) Although he considered himself as worthy a musical subject as "Napoleon or Alexander the Great," Strauss told his friend Romain Rolland, "I am not a hero. I haven't got the necessary strength; I am not cut out for battle; I prefer to withdraw, to be quiet, to have peace..." (For more, see Michael Kennedy's excellent 1999 biography "Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma.") Perhaps he intended most of "Heldenleben" to be ironic, but the pastoral conclusion may have resonated more deeply with him.
As an appropriate segue, Strauss' "Four Last Songs" (written nearly 50 years after "Heldenleben") follows the pastoral section of Strauss' irony-laced musical autobiography. I have yet to hear an interpretation that matches the spiritual beauty and intensity of theone on this recording.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Last Songs for your collection. May 11, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Previn is understandably proud of his Strauss recordings. This recording includes Ein Heldenlaben and it compares favorably with the famous Reiner/CSO album from the '50's. The real show stopper here is the Songs, and I'm sure it'll be compared with the Karajan/Janowitz performance. For one thing,Auger's voice isn't as powerful(Some people call it "creamy",whatever that is.)as Janowitz's. Auger's voice has a more tender, human quality that's a pleasure to hear. For another,Previn's tempos are different than Karajan's. Im Adendrot,for instance,is a full minute slower than Karajan's But, you're gonna love that extra minute! It's truly majestic. The recorded sound is up to Telarc's high standard. There's something about it that makes you want to TURN IT UP. I'm not trading in my Karajan CD,but this one stays as well.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Four Last Songs on CD June 29, 2002
Format:Audio CD
The Ein Heldenlieben is a fine recording, but I am primarly recommending this disc because of the wonderful performance of the Four Last Songs. Previn and the Vienna Philharmonic achieve an incredible orchestral beauty and intensity, and Auger doesn't fudge a single note. I frequently play this recording multiple times in a single sitting just to make sure I am not dreaming. Very highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of many reviews, and in total agreement! September 22, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have to start with Auger's "Beim Schlafengehen" and the incredible violin solo. There is something to be said about Auger's incredible reading of this music but much more can be praised about her exquisite intonation. She takes us into her longing for the starry night and lumbering sleep with incredible skill and passion. And isn't there something so ethereal about hearing a viennese violinist traverse that gorgeous solo like no other? Just the right vibrato and plenty of phrasing. And this is only 5 minutes of this impeccable album. Every song on this album is a testament to rest for weary souls by Hermann Hesse and Joseph Eichendorff and this team of Previn, Arleen Auger, and the Vienna Philharmonic gift us with an unforgettable performance.

Previn has recorded Richard Strauss' music for years, some of it good, some bad. His TELARC sets are quite interesting. This set of "Vier letzte Lieder" and "Ein Heldenleben" appearing amongst over a dozen other interpretations easily stands out for many reasons such as Auger's incredible pitch and Previn's passion for this music. I never feel as satisfied with other renditions of these lieder because I don't feel the soloists are on pitch. Yes, the passion is there, but so must be the musicianship! Previn is not his usual boring, suffocating self like he was with his EMI/Angel Strauss. This is impassioned and profound music making recorded nearly 20 years ago!!

Auger embraces the libretto with care, tenderness, and love like no other on record. I'd say she surpasses my all-time favorite reading with Janowitz in both technique and profundity.

I hope this disc is readily available for many generations to come because it deserves such a place in recorded history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unspeakably beautiful August 29, 2012
By odddays
Format:MP3 Music
[this is a review of the Four Last Songs which i bought as MP3s... i'm sure Ein Heldenleben is well done too...]

i am new to these songs (had heard them in passing but never really LISTENED). i was listening to the Karajan/Berlin Metamorphosen CD and it ended up with the Last Four Songs (sung by Gundula Janowitz). as they played, i realized that there were several moments where i was struck with their beauty... so i started listening to them repeatedly...

once obsessed, i decided i needed to hear another version... so i downloaded this one (Arlene Auger), as well as versions by Lucia Popp and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (i couldn't purchase the Jessye Norman versions separately, so i admittedly haven't heard them).

after listening to the first two songs side by side in all four versions, this was definitely my favorite one. i would qualify Auger's voice as "darker and smoother" (both fairly useless descriptors, i know) than the others. the other noticeable difference (to me) was that her voice seemed perfectly balanced with the orchestra -- in the other versions (particularly the Janowitz) i found the voice to be too loud and occasionally piercing (at least when turned up to an appropriate volume).

in any version, this is the most beautiful music i've heard in long time... words really can't accurately express the joy of listening to these pieces (over and over again).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Far Cry From Hendricks and Popp
04-04-2014 elarc Records's magnificent 4 volume collection of Richard Strauss contains several 4-5 star performances of his great orchestral music, including a superb Alpine... Read more
Published 4 months ago by NUC MED TECH
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly tarnished jewel
It must be regrettable to see a critic picking holes in such a wonderful performance of the four Lieder. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jurgen Lawrenz
5.0 out of 5 stars A Warm and Sensitive Reminder
Andre Previn conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in one of the finest recordings of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben available. Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by Grady Harp
3.0 out of 5 stars Good performance, dull recording.
A good, if not remarkable performance. My problem is with the recording. Yes, I know Telarc has always been highly regarded, and the recording is very clean sounding. Read more
Published on October 19, 2011 by Jay Adeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performance of a stunning work
Educated opinions will vary, and I own three other performances of Four Last Songs, but I have listened to Auger's performance so many times that there is cause to question my... Read more
Published on March 30, 2008 by Mark A. Underwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Auger's and Previn's soaring Strauss
I bought this CD primarily for Arleen Auger's version of the Vier Letzte Lieder and I was not disappointed. Read more
Published on February 12, 2007 by Robert Petersen
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