Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Save around 22%
with these retailers


Richard STRAUSS Lieder  
Gundula Janowitz (soprano); Ray Still (oboe); Dmitry Sitkovetsky (violin); Pavel Gililov (piano); Academy of London/Richard Stamp.
Virgin Classics VBD5 61766-2 (super-budget price, two discs, 1 hour 52 minutes). From VC7 90794-2, VC7 90813-2, VC7 90760-2. Producers John West, Andrew Keener. Engineers Simon Rhodes, Mike Hatch, John Kurlander, Mark Vigars. Date April 1988-November 1989, October 1988.

Ruhe, meine Seele Op. 27 No. 1; Morgen Op. 27 No. 4; Meinem Kinde Op. 37 No. 3; Befreit Op. 39 No. 4; Wiegenlied Op. 41 No. 1; Freundliche Vision Op. 48 No. 1; Winterweihe Op. 48 No. 4; Waldseligkeit Op. 49 No. 1; Die heiligen drei Könige aus Morgenland Op. 56 No. 6. Metamorphosen AV142b. Oboe Concerto in D AV144c. Violin Sonata in E flat Op. 18d.

Those Straussians who do not already possess these recordings should acquire them at once - they will not be disappointed! They contain extremely fine performances of two of Strauss's greatest late works, unparalleled singing of some of his most heartfelt songs, and a persuasive account of the early Violin Sonata.

Although Richard Stamp and the Academy of London may not be globally known in the same way that other more famous Strauss performers are, their interpretation of Metamorphosen is one of the finest on disc. Stamp guides his virtuoso forces with great skill, striking an excellent balance between emotion and restraint. The overwhelming intensity of Strauss's searing string writing is fully realized, as is the intricately wrought architecture of this elegiac masterpiece. The recorded acoustic may seem to some listeners to be too reverberant, but the admirable production does strike an effective balance between clarity and atmosphere.

Equally as good are the accompaniments that Stamp and his forces provide for Ray Still and Gundula Janowitz. Still performs the Concerto with great style, catching perfectly its unique blend of neo-Classicism, spry humour and repressed nostalgia. Janowitz's singing cannot be faulted: again the combination of restraint and emotion, when required, portray Strauss's numerous visions perfectly. The slightly 'pressed' quality of Janowitz's voice in certain high-lying passages enhances the intensity of her singing. Taken altogether Stamp shows himself to be a very understanding conductor of some of Strauss's most subtle compositions. More recordings from him would be welcome. The clear sound achieved in both of these sets of performances is admirable.

The Violin Sonata, an early work lacking Strauss's full maturity, is a very difficult piece to bring off. Sitkovetsky plays if for all it's worth and more, making a most convincing case. He is very well partnered by Pavel Gililov, who if anything offers even more bravado in his realization of the piano part, giving the work a stature not fully deserved and rarely achieved.

Only the most basic documentation detracts from this excellent compilation.


David Patmore

 This review will appear in the May issue of INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW


David Patmore

Reviews from previous months

Reviews carry sales links but you can also purchase from:

Return to Index