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Strauss: Don Quixote / Horn Concerto 1 / Don Juan

Richard Strauss , George Szell , Cleveland Orchestra , Pierre Fournier , Myron Bloom Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Pierre Fournier, Myron Bloom
  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Szell
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (October 14, 1997)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029XS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,233 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Don Quixote, Op.35: Intro. Massiges Zeitmass
2. Don Quixote, Op.35: Theme. Massig
3. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var I. Gemachlich
4. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var II. Kriegerisch
5. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var III. Massiges Zeitmass
6. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var IV. Kriegerisch
7. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var V. Etwas Breiter
8. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var VI. Schnell
9. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var VII. Ein Wenig Ruhiger Als Vorher
10. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var VIII. Gemachlich
11. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var IX. Schnell Und Sturmisch
12. Don Quixote, Op.35: Var X. Viel Breiter
13. Don Quixote, Op.35: Finale. Sehr Ruhig
14. Con No.1 in E-flat, Op.11: I. Allegro - Myron Bloom
15. Con No.1 in E-flat, Op.11: II. Andante - Myron Bloom
16. Con No.1 in E-flat, Op.11: III. Allegro - Myron Bloom
17. Don Juan, Op.20 - Cleveland Orch/George Szell

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

George Szell, although a friend and colleague of Strauss, was not an uncritical admirer of his music. Then again, Szell was probably not an uncritical admirer of anything. That's why he is arguably one of this century's two or three greatest conductors. Don Quixote is widely regarded as Strauss's finest tone poem. For this series of "fantastic variations of a theme of knightly character," the orchestra is typically large, with even a part for wind machine. Much of the writing, however, is very intimate. The Don himself is represented by a solo cello, Sancho by the viola and tenor tuba. This sort of "expanded chamber orchestra" writing is exactly the sort of thing that Szell and Cleveland did better than anyone. The results are, quite simply, unbeatable. --David Hurwitz

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Strauss June 23, 2002
Szell is not one of your Strauss conductors who seeks to wallow in the overt sensuousness of his orchestral textures, as Karajan tends to do, or mellow the music out (as if they were composed after Der Rosenkavalier, not before). After all, the major Strauss tone poems were products of his young manhood, and Szell's approach is rather to emphasize the dramatic vitality of these scores and also, to make the often complex lines stand out clearly. More specifically, I find his Don Juan to be the most exciting performance I have yet heard, even more so than Reiner's 1954 recording, for it has more cumulative power, and moreover, is in much better sound (sonically, the '54 Reiner is a lot muddier sounding than his contemporaneous recordings of Ein Heldenleben and Also sprach Zarathustra, both of which have excellent sound). As for Quixote, this performance is swifter, tauter and more sharply etched than either Reiner-Chicago or Karajan's performance on EMI with Rostropovich. It is a pity that Kempe's classic Berlin account with Tortelier is no longer available because that performance combines drama and vividness of textures with a warmth and humanity that somewhat eludes Szell. Finally, the very youthful horn concerto is played immaculately. Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Szell's Great Richard Strauss recordings December 3, 2001
This CD unites Szell's finest recordings of Richard Strauss' music with the Cleveland Orchestra; the oldest dates from the early 1960's. These are exceptional performances; Szell's interpretations of Don Quixote and Don Juan are quite simply the finest I have heard. All three recordings are replete with the clear, brisk playing of the Clevelanders, especially with regards to the string and wind sections. Pierre Fournier, one of the 20th Century's greatest cellists, plays with much passion and warmth in his solo passages during "Don Quixote". The Horn Concerto with Myron Bloom as soloist is another splendid performance. Once more, the sound quality is exceptional due to the latest state of the art digital image bit remastering. Fans of George Szell, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Richard Strauss' music will definitely want this CD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Richard Strauss thought very highly of George Szell, having created together with him the very first recording of Don Juan (Szell conducting the first part of the piece and Strauss conducting the second part, for that historic recording). So it is no wonder that George Szell so profoundly understood the idiom and the intricacies of this work. This is easily one of the finest ever recordings of this piece. Outstanding on this CD is also Don Quixote with the legendary Pierre Fournier as soloist. Szell's artistic collaboration with Fournier was extremely close. Don Quixote was performed seven times during Szell's tenure with the Cleveland Orchestra, and Fournier was chosen as the soloist for six of these seven performances! The rapport between Szell and Fournier is almost palpable in this recording. Fournier's natural grace, balanced tone and great musicality are, as always with this great artist, exemplary.
Not to be missed is also Myron Bloom's performance of the Strauss Horn Concerto #1, with his customary mastery and panache. The liner notes in the booklet contain Myron Bloom's interesting memories of George Szell and some nice archival photos. Highly recommended!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable evergreen May 4, 2010
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In the last 60-70 years, there have been many recordings of Don Quixote; but in the final reckoning there are are only three "contenders" -- performances that are each in their own way "just right" and not subject to improvement: Strauss: Don Quixote; Schumann: Cello Concerto / Rostropovich, Karajan, et al; Kempe Conducts Richard Strauss: Volume 3 and this present issue. To separate these as to their virtues is futile and unproductive. Frankly, you are best advised to have all three. Clearly Szell's 1962 recording is not as clear and luminous as the others; but I have to say (as a personal reaction) that this is probably the best-recorded of his discs ever to leave the CBS stable. In fact, you can compare Quixote with Juan on the same album: the latter is top-heavy, with screeching trumpets and fiddles, and I wish they had found another fill-up than this. In contrast, Myron Bloom's mellifluous horn is a joy to listen to.
Orchestra and direction apart -- very lush with Karajan; more dramatic and pointed with both Kempe and Szell -- there is the hero to consider. Fournier may be maginally the best. Hard to put into words: but there is an ineffable touch of noble sentiment to his playing, while Tortelier is more gutsy and earthy, and Rostropovich a little on the larger-than-life side. On all counts, this is a worthwhile investment, guaranteed to give pleasure for the rest of your life.
A note on my prejudices to end (so that you can see where I come from): In any head-on confrontation between Karajan and Szell, I would in 9 out of 10 cases go for Karajan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive December 21, 2011
By cturner
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This is definitely worth seeking out. In my opinion, the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell had no rival for Strauss, except possibly Chicago under Reiner. The Myron Bloom Strauss concerto recording is definitive; I wore the LP out for years. (A shame Szell never recorded Zarathustra.) Program notes and interviews are great.
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