One day Romain Rolland shared a curious observation with Richard Strauss: ‘I am surprised and amused that you have some musical phrases that are somewhat closely connected to your personality. They are as inseparable from you as the expression on your face, your forehead and your eyes. It seems that some phrases convey your entire essence. I have never noticed it to this extent in other composers.’ It is interesting that Rolland connected the ‘musical phrases’ of Strauss not with the thoughts or feelings of the author, but only with the appearance, facial expressions or features – of course, these are the individual and inalienable, but for musical associations they would seem the least suitable. It is, without doubt, a half-joking remark but nevertheless catches something truthful and essential. If we look at the twists and turns of Strauss’ journey we can be convinced that the analogy could hardly be otherwise. His creative life was extremely prolonged. Eighty of the eighty five years he was alive, he was composing music. He wrote eight tone poems, fifteen operas, more than one hundred and fifty songs and many other works. In addition to this, one of the most astonishing features of his music is its stylistic diversity.
Total time: 00:49:24
Neumann km130 DPA (B & K) 4006 ; DPA (B & K) 4011 SCHOEPS mk2S ; SCHOEPS mk41
|Original Recording Format|
Erdo Groot, roger de Schot
5th Studio of The Russian Television and Radio
|Recording Type & Bit Rate|
|Release Date||November 20, 2015|
We’ve been treated to several fine DSD recordings of the big, bold, brassy Strauss of the tone poems. This disc, aptly titled “Delicate Strauss” couldn’t be more different. The most significant work is the oboe concerto of 1945.
Written, the story goes, for John de Lancie, an American GI and erstwhile oboist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (later of the The Philadelphia Orchestra) who visited with Strauss soon after the cessation of hostilities, the work bears no imprint of the war or the great difficulty of postwar life in Germany. For that matter it shows nothing of Strauss’ own 80 years of age, but rather is a continually melodic and joyful piece that is a pure delight to hear.
Though of a more serious philosophical cast the 1941 prelude to “Capriccio” also seems to inhabit a totally different world from the war torn one in which Strauss was living. The remaining three works are all transcriptions for oboe and orchestra: a very early Romance for clarinet and orchestra and two of Strauss’ most beautiful songs Morgen and Meinem Kinde. Taken individually or as a whole the emphasis is on beauty and tenderness, and makes for a wonderful 50 minutes away from the cares of the day.
The performances by oboist Alexei Utkin and the Hermitage Chamber Orchestra are very fine. The recording, by Polyhymnia International BV, is simply gorgeous.
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