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Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung
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Editorial Reviews

This cd is almost the ultimate dream box! Andre Previn, Richard Strauss, THE Vienna Philharmonic and Telarc Records. What could be better? More of the same. You have your wish. Four cd's in all, including an utterly stunning Alpesinfonie, a very good Don Juan an interesting Don Quiote and a decent, though a bit under sung Four Last Songs. (For a real slice of heaven, consider Lucia Popp and the eloquent Klauss Tennstedt on EMI). All with the gorgeously rich acoustics one expects from the fine folks at Telarc First the Sprach. Not my favorite Strauss poem, it is, none the less, a wonderful example of the dynamic contrasts one hears in Romantic music, in the hands of a master orchestrator.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 - Andre Previn
  2. Tod Und Verklarung, Op. 24 (Death And Transfiguration) - Andre Previn


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003CUV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,319 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. R. Schryer on October 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Also Sprach Zarathustra and Death and Transfiguration are, in my opinion, the most beautiful of Strauss' tone poems. Zarathustra is probably the best known of the Strauss tone poems because its opening bars were used in the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey. But there is much more to Zarathustra than its glorious opening bars; it is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Death and Transfiguration, the second work on this CD, is on a par with Zarathustra. This is an ideal coupling of the two most beautiful and magnificent Strauss tone poems. And Andre Previn and the great Vienna Philharmonic give them outstanding performances. I bought this CD at its original full price and feel that I got my money's worth. At its current bargain price this CD is an outstanding value.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd is almost the ultimate dream box! Andre Previn, Richard Strauss, THE Vienna Philharmonic and Telarc Records. What could be better? More of the same. You have your wish. Four cd's in all, including an utterly stunning Alpesinfonie, a very good Don Juan an interesting Don Quiote and a decent, though a bit under sung Four Last Songs. (For a real slice of heaven, consider Lucia Popp and the eloquent Klauss Tennstedt on EMI). All with the gorgeously rich acoustics one expects from the fine folks at Telarc First the Sprach. Not my favorite Strauss poem, it is, none the less, a wonderful example of the dynamic contrasts one hears in Romantic music, in the hands of a master orchestrator. The lightning quick technical control of the Vienna musicians are more than up to the challenge in this deceptively difficult work, and provide real insight into the sound world of Neitschean Strauss, if there really is such a thing. The opening, made so famous by Stanley Kubrick, is as spectacular as any I've heard in over 35 years of listening. But, it is Previn's introspection that carries the day. Beautifully phrased and nuanced, it has a haunting beauty and stature about it. Now, the Tod. One of my oldest companions, this work lead off the first Chicago Symphony Orchestra program I attended back in 1972. Needless to say, the sound of live muted strings at the begining is a memory I shall carry with me forever. Once again, the dynamic contrasts are so skillfully managed by the wonderful players, I was near speechless when I listened to this performance for the first time a few years ago. Is there, I thought, any better approach then Previn's? I think not, but time will tell.Read more ›
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I was surprised with Previn's late Brahms performances with the Royal Philharmonic and just as surprised with his recordings of Richard Strauss pieces. Not only was he great on the Brahms and the RPO sound like a German orchestra (Brahms pc 1&2 and Brahm's 4th symphony, et al), but he recorded quite a few Strauss things with the Vienna Philharmonic. This is good stuff. First rate. Well played. Well led. Really, to me they are astonishingly good.

I like the late Previn very much. He really matured as a conductor of the German-Austrian repertory. Quite honestly, I do not know of performances I prefer to these of Previn. The RPO on the Brahms is very good indeed. And who does not know of the excellent Vienna Philharmonic for the Strauss performances? Go and get these performances without fearing they might be shallow. They are anything but. They are first rate. Get'em! I learned to appreciate Previn far more widely after hearing them. And they are budget priced!
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Format: Audio CD
This is one of Richard Strauss's, and Previn's, finest albums. The performances on two of the composer's most beloved works are overall good, and Telarc has done a marvelous job with its always superior sound quality.

The fanfare from Thus Spaka Zarathustr is probably the single most famous music by Strauss, ever since it became the intro for 2001 The Space Oddysey, and that segment alone is what I consider to be the highlight of the album. Brilliant brass, thunderous timpani (some other recordings of the timpani solo sounded more round and fat; this one is more sharp and full of intensity), and at the climax, the trumpets, as triumphant as they should be, really pierces the air.

It's worth a listen for any Richard Strauss fan.

P.S. - Strauss' Alpine Symphony under the same conductor, orchestra, and label, was a bit pale; you gotta get Karajan's performance on that piece.
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I've been a big fan of Also Sprach..., since long before THAT movie came out. This is by far and away the best recording of the piece I have ever heard, and I've heard a lot. The other two I own are the Zinmann under the Arte Nova label, and the Mehta under the Columbia label. Previn's interpretation is as I would have it--neither too thin nor too ponderous. And the sound quality is surperb. So clear you can hear every instrument and, as loud as this piece is, even the high-volume passages stay clear, sharp, and never muddy. It is also the best recording of Tod und... that I've heard, but I've only heard one other and don't own any others.

My only gripe is that there are only two tracks, one each for Also... and Tod...

BTW, this is the best disc for testing speakers. If you have a woofer speaker that you suspect of having a bad foam edge, play the first 10 seconds of Also through it and it will give you a steady buzz if it's bad.
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