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Symphonia Domestica / Metamorphosen

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Audio CD, October 27, 2009
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53, TrV 209: Bewegt -Weimar Staatskapelle 5:27$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53, TrV 209: Scherzo -Weimar Staatskapelle 6:43$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53, TrV 209: Wiegenlied -Weimar Staatskapelle 6:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53, TrV 209: Adagio -Weimar Staatskapelle13:20Album Only
listen  5. Symphonia domestica, Op. 53, TrV 209: FinaleWeimar Staatskapelle15:12Album Only
listen  6. Metamorphosen, TrV 290Weimar Staatskapelle28:18Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002N5KEDI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,348 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Richard Strauss' orchestral music includes several works with autobiographical significance, including Ein Heldenleben . Scored for large symphony orchestra, the Symphonia domestica depicts the delights and vicissitudes of married life with Strauss,

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Antoni Wit is a much under-rated conductor and the Weimar Staatskapelle an overlooked orchestra, for all its historical connection with Richard Strauss who was its assistant conductor early in his professional life. The performance here of what many consider to be Strauss's schmaltziest (but wonderful!) composition, Symphonia Domestica, is really quite good. They treat the sentimentality of the score with warmth and tenderness, avoiding any maudlin feelings that might arise. They bring out the tartness of Strauss's delineation of his wife, soprano Pauline de Ahana, a true-to-life portrait of this formidable woman. And there is humor aplenty. Still, my preferred versions of this gargantuan tone-poem are those of Rudolf Kempe and the Staatskapelle Dresden, available now, I believe, only in a large box set, and the surprisingly good version by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Richard Strauss: Josephslegende Suite/Symphonia Domestica, the latter available here currently at a pittance and coupled with the underestimated Josephslegende.

For me, there is one reading of Metamorphosen that stands above the rest. That is by Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker Strauss: Four Last Songs / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra which also includes Tod und Verklärung in a searing performance and Gundula Janowitz singing the Four Last Songs, all at mid-price. The Weimar Staatskapelle Metamorphosen is adequate but not incandescent, which is precisely what this late work of Strauss needs.

Scott Morrison
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Format: Audio CD
When Naxos released Strauss's Alpine Symphony a few years ago with Wit and his Weimar orchestra, no one could have foreseen how good it would be, and for a label once notorious for bad sound, Naxos provided vivid sonics that supported a reading full of life. With that pleasant surprise in mind, I was rooting for round two, this time featuring the much-maligned Sinfonia domestica. Frankly, I find the score so gorgeously gaudy that I don't even pay attention to the banalities of household life chez Strauss. The trick with this score is to make it seem coherent from beginning to end, since it tends to lapse into disconnected episodes. After all, the composer called it a symphony for a reason, to indicate that despite its program, the score should be played for musical unity so far as themes and development go.

If you go back far enough, there's a great historical recording by Furtwangler to prove that a non-schmaltzy reading is possible, and with that as a touchstone, I've heard most of the major modern recordings. For a clear, dry-eyed, crisp account that brooks no nonsense, Szell's from Cleveland holds it own. For sweep and grandeur, Karajan's reading with the Berliners on EMI is suitably awe-inspiring, but the score feels overblown at times. Rudolf Kempe, as yo'd expect, does a more modest job but is thoroughly musical and for many the most satisfying modern account, even though EMI's sonics sound a bit thin and less than seductive tonally. Reiner's account with the Chicago Sym. in Living Stereo on RCA should have been an outright winner, but the conductor seriously underplays both the fun and th thrills. A reflection of personal distaste for the score?
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By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on November 28, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is a disc that I can recommend safely to all but the most knowledgeable connoisseurs. For me, the job of a conductor and orchestra (plus their recording engineers of course) in the Domestic Symphony is to enfold me in a musical comfort blanket. No other composition in any classical music that I know, not even Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, fulfils that role as completely as Strauss does with this offering. From that angle, I can give very high marks to Wit, the Weimar orchestra and the technical experts. The sound is rich and voluptuous, or at least as voluptuous as I need it, the playing is faultless so far as I could tell, and above all the conductor’s command of tempi and continuity is all it should be. Until we get to the finale, there should never be any sense of hurry, ‘bewegt’ or no bewegt in the first movement and ‘scherzo’ or no scherzo indicated for the second. Wit is beautifully relaxed, and he manages that without letting his concentration lapse or allowing the lengthy symphony in its five sections to fall apart into five separate pieces.

If you want competent assessment of how well Wit compares with the ‘market’ in Domestic Symphonies (plus Metamorphosen) as that matter stood in 2009 and 2010 we are fortunate to have detailed notices (both available on the US site) from the respected reviewers Dr Morrison and Santa Fe Listener. I suppose it’s really a matter of how many Domestic Symphonies anyone wants. No two music lovers are likely to find that their preferences coincide totally, and they will be lucky to identify one account that outshines all its rivals in every respect. My own guess is that Wit’s performance is going to be able to stand up in any company, wherever one may finally ‘rank’ it.
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