I have reviewed all four
previous volumes in this series and, while I commended the general
approach of Pollack in the first two, I was delighted to hear
the work of the veteran Märzendorfer
in volumes 3 and 4, producing two CDs which will surely become
classics among Strauss recordings.
slight disappointment that Pollack is back again for volume
5 has to be tempered by the consideration that he is dedicated
heart and soul to this repertoire ; indeed, the editions
used come from the Christian Pollack archive. Furthermore, the
results of Märzendorfer’s sessions seem to have rubbed off on
the orchestra, which, especially during the first half of this
CD, produces playing which is far cleaner and clearer in its
outlines compared with volume 2, much as it did under the older
conductor’s baton. At the same time Pollack, by exerting a less
rigid control over the proceedings, allows the orchestra to
exude a sense of great enjoyment. For a while it seemed as if
we were really getting the best of both worlds, but as the CD
went on I began to notice declining standards of intonation
and a certain happy-go-lucky air. And, though always sympathetic
to the dance and the style, Pollack seems too mild-mannered
to whip up, say, an exciting coda. Still, these are likeable,
understanding performances, sometimes more than that, and should
not disappoint those who are getting to know the elder Strauss.
the early albums left me wondering if Strauss the father had
not been justifiably eclipsed by at least two of his sons, his
own particular qualities are now coming into focus. His lively
sense of humour, for example, always ready to provide an intriguing
aside on popular operas of the day – the Montecchi-Galopp had
me almost laughing out loud. He does not yet have the symphonic breadth of Johann II or the appealing
melancholy of Josef (though the last waltz here has the violins
soaring in an echt-Viennese way), but his bonhomie has its own attractions
and it no longer seems so fair that he is remembered almost
exclusively for the Radetzky March.
The “Wiener-Damen-Toilette-Walzer” could surely take a place among
the “standard” repertoire of Strauss waltzes, though it does
show that all three sons were better at inventing alluring titles.
good recording and documentation this proves a worthy follow-up
to previous volumes in the series.