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Richard Strauss Conducts Der Rosenkavalier
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
1. Der Rosenkavalier (1911) – suite from the 1926 film score including orchestral transcriptions [26:27]
2. Der Rosenkavalier (1911) – Waltz – Act III [7:38]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
3. Die Zauberflöte, K 620 - overture (1791) [5:47]
Christoph Williabald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
4. Iphigénie en Aulis - overture (1773) [9:16]
Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874)
5. Der Barbier von Bagdad – overture (1858) [7:01]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
6. Der Fliegende Holländer – overture (1843) [9:21]
7. Tristan and Isolde- prelude (1859) [9:05]
Berlin State Opera Orchestra (3)
Bavarian State Orchestra (2) Augmented Tivoli Orchestra (1) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (4-7)/Richard Strauss
rec. 1926-41
DUTTON CDBP9785 [75:07]
Experience Classicsonline

Strauss embodied the idea of the no-sweat conductor par excellence and one imagines him in the studio, seemingly unflappable, eyes hooded, left hand in waistcoat pocket. If that’s how he was when he was engaged to recorded the augmented Tivoli Orchestra in the suite from the 1926 film score of Der Rosenkavalier then it wouldn’t in the least surprise me, despite the provisional nature of the London band at his disposal and the rather strange nature of the undertaking. The suite includes orchestral transcriptions. It was recorded in the Queen’s Hall in April 1926 and its status as a pretty early electric is palpable. There must have been a stiffening of tough pros from other London orchestras because despite the fear that we will be listening to sight-reading café players they actually sound pretty well drilled. A decade later Henri Temianka was struggling to control the café fiddling princes that comprised his London chamber orchestra – but Strauss conversely seems to have had a buoyant but disciplined band at his disposal.
The circumstances of the recording were straightforward; there had been a (silent) film of Der Rosenkavalier and composer and orchestra went to Queen’s Hall the following day to record this suite. The Presentation March – an addition – sounds like something Beecham cooked up from Handel. As intimated earlier the band has come in for a fair amount of badinage over the years in some quarters but it sounds perfectly acceptable to me and the suite emerges with its tactile, buoyant vitality unscathed; indeed, in its own way, enhanced.
The other items range from 1928 – the majority of the rest - to the third act waltz from Der Rosenkavalier recorded in 1941. The Gluck is serious and powerful. Cornelius’s Der Barbier von Bagdad is lithe and wittily shaded. The Wagnerian brace starts with the Prelude to Tristan; for Strauss the opera was ”the highest fulfilment of a development of the theatre stretching over two thousand years.” It’s a superbly noble reading. The overture to Der Fliegende Holländer is lithe, characterful and quite without excess. And a dramatic control and eloquent use of rubati informs the Die Zauberflöte overture.
The notes are brief but presentable. The transfers meanwhile are very smooth and nicely textured if a little treble starved. You’ll know by now whether you appreciate the loss of higher frequencies. Otherwise, a splendid release.
Jonathan Woolf 


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