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Strauss: The Concertos Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, May 11, 1999
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$18.22 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 1 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews

This unique 2-CD collection (a Double Decca "two-fer" - 2 CDs for the price of 1) features works for solo instruments and orchestra by Richard Strauss. Includes performances by Barry Tuckwell (horn), Friedrich Gulda (piano), London Symphony Orchestra, Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet), Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor), Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and Boris Belkin (violin) among others.
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kim Walker, Dimitri Ashkenazy, Barry Tuckwell, Gordon Hunt
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Istvan Kertesz, Anthony Collins, Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Composer: Richard Strauss, Franz Strauss
  • Audio CD (May 11, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000IX7U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,009 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on March 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Richard Strauss's two periods of concerto composing came early and late in his career. These two discs contain any of it that I have heard of, from the violin concerto written in his teens together with the first horn concerto and the piano Burleske representing the first phase, and then the second horn concerto and the oboe concerto dating from WWII followed by the Duett-concertino from a couple of years after. That work was his last instrumental composition, and it might be more appropriate to change the biographical time-scale from year to day as Strauss himself does in the Four Last Songs and place it in his hours of Abendroth and Schlafengehen. And there is a bonus as well in the form of the horn concerto by Richard Strauss's father, himself a horn player of distinction. This piece deserves better than the slightly supercilious assessment that it is given by the liner-note writer, it tells me where Richard Strauss got his talent from, and it is a very welcome addition to my own collection.

The recordings date originally from a period covering nearly 40 years. I find no problem with any of them, but I had better try to give you some idea of what I have no problem with, because I have seen the recorded sound in the Burleske criticised sharply. I would have been surprised if it had been bad simply because the conductor is Anthony Collins who had a way of obtaining good recorded quality even in the far-off era of 1967. I don't suppose I listened in any hyper-critical way, because I had a reason for being far more interested in the performance, but I remain unfazed by the supposed faults, and it may be that some copies of the set are better than others, in which case any prospective buyer would be well advised to check the matter out first.
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Both CDs in this set contain pieces by R. Strauss or his father that aren't heard very often, at least in my experience. I found the music and all the performances on these 2 CDs to be very good and enjoyable to listen to, not only because they are well-played, but because before listening to them I'd heard these pieces very rarely if at all, and they are refreshingly new to my ears. I also like the variety of solo instruments featured.
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Richard Strauss (1864-1949) had the musical brain of a super-genius and the soul of a comic book super hero, making him the perfect composer for solo concertos. [Go on, hate me for that judgment, but who else could have composed Ein Heldenleben and dedicated it to himself?] The concerto genre is innately all about super hero instruments, adulated or derided by the orchestras that support them. It's odd that Strauss wrote so few concertos, considering the brilliance of those recorded here. The second horn concerto of 1942, the oboe concerto of 1945, and the duet-concerto for clarinet/bassoon are outstanding works from Strauss's maturity, while the first horn concerto and the violin concerto, both of 1882, are youthful works of astounding precocity. From 1882 to 1942, there were no full concertos, simply a single "Burleske for piano and orchestra" and two fantasies for piano left hand and orchestra, dedicated to Paul Wittgenstein. Oh well, we have to be grateful that Strauss survived his years of acquiescence to the Nazi regime and learned to compose the Oboe Concerto in D major and the Duett-Concertino, the former being to my ears his finest work.

The slang term "killer" - meaning thrillingly good - is already passé, I suppose, but it fits the Oboe Concerto in D major in several senses. It's "killer" good and it's a notorious chop-killer, possibly the most difficult work in the oboe repertoire, because of its fiendishly extended legato phrases. Tragically, just a few weeks ago, the principal oboist of the San Francisco Symphony collapsed on stage while performing this concerto for the third or fourth night straight. The news of his death, a few days later, has haunted me ever since.
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By A Customer on January 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
While the interpretation of these pieces are just fine--very good even--the impact is totally ruined by the poor recording quality, particularily on the Burleske. Hissing is loud and grainy, echos blur the sound together, and little pops and clicks are alarmingly common. If you care to rip the tracks and remaster them manually then this CD is worth your time, especially for the horn concertos, since the Herman Baumann versions of the horn concertos are very hard to find now, especially the second. If you just want the CD for a CD player, then I recommend finding another CD.
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