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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
This is the very first recording from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its new music director, Manfred Honeck.
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Mariss Jansons conducts Beethoven & Strauss
Live from The Philharmonie Im Gasteig, Munich, 2011
Beethoven wrote his Piano Concerto No. 3 around 1800, at a time in which the ambitious composer had created his first important works in Vienna, such as the “Pathétique” Sonata and the “Moonlight” Sonata – personal works full of power and passion, with which he distanced himself from his mentor and model, Haydn. This performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of its principal conductor Mariss Jansons stars the distinguished pianist Mitsuko Uchida, who is known the world over for her outstanding interpretations of the piano works of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as of 20th-century masters such as Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Boulez.
Richard Strauss wrote his tone poem for large orchestra Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) in 1898, shortly before he left Munich for the Berlin Court Opera, where he was appointed house conductor. In the imaginary hero whose eventful life is described in the work, the young Strauss apparently envisioned the freelance artist of his time, who was exposed to considerable hostility during the Wilhelminian era, just as Strauss himself in his early Munich period.
Picture Format: 16:9, 1080i FULL HD
Running Time: 90 mins
Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)
Region Code: Worldwide
“[Uchida's] firmness and clarity of articulation [are] ideal, every phrase beautifully shaped as well as placed carefully within the larger context of each movement as a whole...Jansons is inclined, perhaps, to underplay slightly the more outrageous aspects of Strauss's hyper-lavish scoring...but the stability and expansiveness of the sonic fabric he draws from his players more than makes up for it.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 *****
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Richard Strauss, Vol. 1 (1947)
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Strauss: Ein Heldenleben & Vier letzte Lieder
In a very short time, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has become one of the most sought-after young conductors in the world, popular with orchestras and audiences alike. Recently named as Music Director Designate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he succeeded Valery Gergiev as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. He is also Chief Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
On this the second of four projected discs for BIS, the Rotterdam Philharmonic here perform two of Richard Strauss’ most popular works: The tone poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) has often been described as an autobiographical work. The six interwoven sections describe themes of hope, love and courage, with a scherzo that mocks the hero’s enemies and a final climax that sees the hero withdraw from the world fulfilled.
The Four Last Songs were the last works that Strauss composed before his death in 1949, and throughout the works, the pervading mood is one of death and transience. The Rotterdam Orchestra are here joined by Dorothea Röschmann, who has built a reputation on the opera stage as one of the most admired present interpreters of Mozart and of lieder.
“This suave and efficient Strauss disc shows why Yannick Nézet-Séguin has rocketed to the first division of the conducting league.” The Times, 2nd July 2011 ***
“the gossamer textures of the Hero's 'War and Peace'...work best here, the bassoon stylishly leading the superb Rotterdam woodwind. The final retirement is gilded by a glorious horn solo...[Roschmann's] fast vibrato is offset by luminosity and soaring beauty...there's always understanding of the text, and the sunset epilogue, well accompanied by the orchestra, is moving.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ***/****
“The multiple ironies of Heldenleben are superbly caught, though the emotional kernel of his interpretation lies in a sexy account of the central love scene and his touchingly beautiful treatment of the finale. The orchestral sound is lean and sinewy...[Röschmann's] voice lacks a little of its former lustre, though you can hear every word – and hear it given meaning.” The Guardian, 11th August 2011 ****
“Dorothea Röschmann has a deliciously supple and textured soprano that finds glorious colours here” Classic FM Magazine, October 2011 ***
“Nézet-Séguin's portrait of the "Hero's adversaries" is piquant rather than ironically adversarial...[Four Last Songs are] gloriously sung by Dorothea Roschmann, who has a truly lovely voice, and is most sensitively accompanied...Even among many illustrious names, there is no finer recorded performance.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011
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