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Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Macbeth

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, October 29, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

The 150th birthday of Richard Strauss will be celebrated next year. On this occasion OehmsClassics is initiating a series with the tone poems of Richard Strauss with the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra and General Music Director, Sebastian Weigle. The first of these is Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) which was premiered in 1899 by this very same orchestra under the direction of the composer. The CD is supplemented by the less frequently performed Macbeth.

Product Details

  • Conductor: Weigle
  • Composer: Strauss
  • Audio CD (October 29, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Oehms Classics
  • ASIN: B00DQF1Y1A
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,860 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By D. S. CROWE on October 29, 2013
Format: Audio CD
OEHMS has done the record collector immeasurable service with its releases from Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt, and following a collection of works from the opera house, has now embarked on a new series of orchestral performances of the works of Richard Strauss with the cumbersomely titled Frankfurt Opern-und Museumsorchester (this is one orchestra which has 2 guises-the "Museum" is not a building full of relics, but the title of an Arts Society which promotes performances inspired by the "Muses"-hence Museum-much in the way of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. It would be like saying the "Vienna State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra").
The conductor is again the ever improving Sebastian Weigle, and in what the attractive "Jugendstil" packaging describes as Volume One, the series commences with the attractive coupling of Ein Heldenleben and Macbeth-arguably the finest distillation of Strauss's orchestral genius coupled with one of his earliest efforts.

Weigle sets off at a spanking pace in the opening Heldenleben, though not quite as hard driven as Solti's 1979 VPO recording, and maintains forward momentum throughout the work. It has to be said that this approach loses some the sheer romantic glory in the "Pauline" section and in the Works of Peace" section, but the critics are a spiky, sharp-tongued chattering bunch, and the battle is definitely a cavalry charge, not serried ranks of infantry taking pot-shots at each other.
It is very well played and the live performances from 2011 are well recorded with just a touch of dryness about the sound-but there is a noticeable lack of weight of orchestral sound compared to the big guns of the BPO and the VPO for example.
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