Gloriously affirming the Salzburg Festival’s long-standing reputation as a supreme musical event, this concert honours one of its founding fathers, Richard Strauss. Renée Fleming, Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra unite for a programme of song, opera and tone poem, genres central to the composer’s extraordinarily fruitful career. Fleming interprets four of his songs with orchestra, including the deeply moving Befreit, and provides a substantial taste of perhaps her finest operatic role, Arabella. New vistas then open as Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic take the spectacular mountain journey mapped by the composer in his titanic Alpine Symphony.
Running time: 84 minutes
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS
19th May 2012
“This is a rare case of visuals enhancing the listening experience, and the Vienna Philharmonic’s Strauss tradition is there for all to see. Thielemann doesn’t push or pull the music, but he is not a pretty sight: his left hand remains inexpressive...there is still no soprano I would rather hear in the soaring lines of “Traum durch die Dämmerung” and “Gesang der Apollopriesterin”.”
“You can immediately hear the classiness of the orchestral support...Thielemann's journey up the mountain is more a question of inner feeling than outward tone-painting...But the summit sequence and the epilogue rival Herbert von Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic for tonal opulence...the cameras always know what to pinpoint in order to highlight visually Strauss's most ingenious orchestral passages.”
“Thielemann, whose reading is satisfyingly spacious, reveals the work's structural mastery in intermingling and transforming its many themes. The excellent video director Michael Beyer expertly lays out the orchestra in front of us, following the music sensibly so that we can relish Strauss's detailed scoring...[Fleming] sings gloriously and the result is ravishing.”
“it is more fun to actually see the players (kudos to video director Michael Beyer) than merely to listen...And no one will accuse the reading [of Ein Alpensinfonie] of not being exciting and the playing superb...In all, this is clearly a treat for Straussians and Fleming fans; she has been both better and worse, but overall, she's lovely here.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.