Strauss, R: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 (A Hero's Life)

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Strauss: Don Juan and Ein Heldenleben

Strauss: Don Juan and Ein Heldenleben


Strauss, R:

Don Juan, Op. 20

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


In these live recordings, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and its longtime chief conductor Mariss Jansons present two "heroic" tone poems by Richard Strauss. With his "Don Juan", the young and aspiring Strauss secured himself a lasting place in the musical life of the German Empire and proved to be a prematurely consummate master of the symphonic poem genre. "Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life"), written at the turn of the 20th century, is a work of unshakeable self-confidence in every regard. Strauss left everyone in little doubt that he had portrayed himself as the hero in his music, and the work met with an ambivalent reception. Today, with its massive score for over one hundred musicians, "Ein Heldenleben" ranks as one of the great touchstones for a symphony orchestra – and with its extensive solo violin part, for a concertmaster too.

Recent live recording from February 2014 (Ein Heldenleben)

Release coincides with the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss's birth (1864-1949)

Mariss Jansons' second release of works by Richard Strauss (2010: CD 900707 - Rosenkavalier Suite, Till Eulenspiegel and Four Last Songs)

“This Don Juan is not about impulse and surprise, the 24-year-old composer's original goals. Rather it languidly reveals the tonal beauty of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra - unquestionably one of the world's most sophisticated orchestras - in tandem with a recording which keeps a slight detail to tell...In short, Jansons prefers abstraction to telling a tale.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 ***

“There's a tangible sense of self-doubt and vulnerability lurking somewhere amidst the shadows…I found the closing section of Janson's [Don Juan] deeply moving…this latest Heldenleben is largely self-recommending, easily holding its ground in an increasingly competitive field.” International Record Review, March 2015

BR Klassik - 900127

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Pierre Monteux: The Early Recordings 1947

Pierre Monteux: The Early Recordings 1947


Chabrier:

Fête Polonaise

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


RCA Pierre Monteux: The Early Recordings - G010003232624W

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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen

R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Metamorphosen


Ein Heldenleben op. 40 was written in 1898, so to speak at the end of a decade, in which Strauss with orchestral works such as Don Juan, Macbeth, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegel’s lustige Streiche, Also sprach Zarathustra and Don Quixote had highly intensively and successfully set to music extra-musical stories with purely instrumental means. In the popular genre of programme music, he could justifiably count on a positive response on the part of his public.

The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of his chief conductor Cornelius Meister did a lot of performances of Richard Strauss works during the Jubilee year 2014. The Highlight of this concert series at the Vienna Konzerthaus was the “Heldenleben” performance, enthusiastic acclaimed by press and audience.

Capriccio - C5208

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Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss: Don Juan & Ein Heldenleben

Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss: Don Juan & Ein Heldenleben


Strauss, R:

Don Juan, Op. 20

recorded live by the LPO at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 3 December 1992

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

recorded live by the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 29 August 1986


As the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor from 1967–79, Bernard Haitink presided over some of the Orchestra’s most memorable and acclaimed performances.

Strauss was only 25 years old when his tone-poem Don Juan was premiered in 1889, and it was this vivid depiction of a young man’s relentless pursuit that launched the composer’s reputation as master of the genre. Composed ten years later, Ein Heldenleben recounts another life of conquest and passion, this time based on that of the composer himself. Both works exhibit the glorious orchestral colours and exhilarating energy that were to become the composer’s most admired hallmarks.

Haitink has had a long association on record and in concert with the music of Richard Strauss. His 1970 recording of Ein Heldenleben for Philips was long considered one of the best in the catalogue, but is no longer available.

These two concert recordings are both archetypal examples of Haitink’s renowned unobtrusive podium manner. The concert environment of Don Juan gives the performance a delightful spontaneity, and his approach in Ein Heldenleben is lighter in texture than most, allowing the listener to hear clearly, for example when the cellos double the horns as the main theme evolves.

This disc is dedicated to the memory of Nicholas Busch, LPO Principal Horn from 1973–2006, who features prominently in these works, vividly evoking the hero of Ein Heldenleben.

“The Don Juan...gives any account in the catalogue a run for its money in terms of sheer elan, and bristles with energy, The LPO's playing is vibrant and full of the sense of a live performance...the conductor's command of the work's cast structure never seems in doubt.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

LPO - LPO0079

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Ingo Metzmacher conducts R. Strauss & Varèse

Ingo Metzmacher conducts R. Strauss & Varèse


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Varèse:

Amériques


Wei Lu (violin)

Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Ingo Metzmacher

Contrasting symphonic poems by two apparently distant composers writing at the turn of the 20th century are featured on this Challenge Classics disc. Both works, Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Edgard Varèse’s Amériques, are big orchestral showpieces which are recorded here in their rarely-performed original versions. Ingo Metzmacher, an authority on hidden links in music history and renowned for his innovative music programming, conducts the Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Richard Strauss completed his Symphonic Poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) in 1898. It was his sixth work of this type, and exceeded all of its predecessors in its orchestral demands. Despite contradictory statements on the matter by the composer himself, it is generally agreed to be autobiographical in tone: the hero of the piece is clearly the composer himself. The work contains more than thirty quotations from Strauss’s earlier works.

In 1910 Edgard Varèse met Strauss in Berlin, eleven years after the premiere of Ein Heldenleben - a work that is known to have made a profound impression on the young French-born composer. Like Heldenleben, Varèse’s Amériques is also a symphonic poem, and appears to show the influence of the thematic layering of Strauss’ piece and his incorporation of imposing percussive elements. It was composed between 1918 and 1922 and is the earliest work we know by Varèse. What seemed quite revolutionary at the time of its first performance was the bridge set up by Varèse from traditional musical language to the world of noises, particularly those of the big city.

For more than 67 years the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin has distinguished itself as one of Germany's leading orchestras. The number of its renowned music directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music makes the ensemble unique. Founded as the RIAS Symphony Orchestra in 1946, it was renamed the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin in 1956 and has borne its current name since 1993.

“Ein Heldenleben [is] remarkably primarily for the forward momentum of Ingo Metzmacher's performance, the overall excellence of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester's playing and the sympathetic violin characterisation of Wei Lu - a warm, complex and sometimes vulnerable 'companion' as opposed to the needy nag we so often hear.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“This excellent new release offers stunning, twenty four carat gold versions of Ein Heldenleben and Amériques...The massive orchestra with the extended wind and brass sections that Strauss requires for his imaginary hero is bonded together with unwavering assurance. This vibrantly colourful score, crammed with incident, has the Hanover-born Metzmacher revealing an astonishing amount of otherwise rarely perceptible orchestral detail.” MusicWeb International, 20th October 2014

Challenge Classics - CC72644

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R Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 & Don Juan, Op. 20

R Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 & Don Juan, Op. 20


Strauss, R:

Don Juan, Op. 20

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Kai Vogler (violin)


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DG - 4357902

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Carl Schuricht Conducts Richard Strauss

Carl Schuricht Conducts Richard Strauss


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24


Archiphon - ARC-WU169

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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben


Fletcher, Alan:

Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra

world premiere

Michael Rusinek (clarinet)

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Verdi:

La forza del destino Overture


Andres Cardenes (solo violin)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck

This is the very first recording from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its new music director, Manfred Honeck.

Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

Exton - OVCL00338

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Richard Strauss: Karl Böhm conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Richard Strauss: Karl Böhm conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


Strauss, R:

Burleske for Piano and orchestra in D minor, AV85

Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24

Nikita Magaloff (piano)

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


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VAI - DVDVAI4567

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R. Strauss: Tone Poems Volume 1

R. Strauss: Tone Poems Volume 1


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Macbeth, Op. 23


2014 marks the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss. To celebrate, Oehms Classics launches a series focussing on his tone poems.

Ein Heldenleben was premiered in 1899 by the very same orchestra which appears on this disc.

“First impressions of this new Heldenleben are highly favourable. The opening bars of ‘The Hero’ show commendable grip and breadth...Ingo de Haas is a generous, full-toned soloist in 'The Hero's Companion', but he's never cloying...Strauss performances don’t come more seamless and authoritative than this” MusicWeb International, 10th February 2014

Oehms Sebastian Weigle Richard Strauss Symphonic Poems - OC888

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