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

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Rudolf Kempe conducts Dvorak & Strauss

Rudolf Kempe conducts Dvorak & Strauss


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'

Royal Albert Hall, London, 29 August 1975

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Royal Albert Hall, London, 27 August 1974

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


The audio recording of the Dvorˇák 9 from this Kempe DVD has been released on BBC Legends, and was a Penguin Guide Rosette Winner. In this performance of Strauss, we witness Kempe’s mastery in securing issues of ‘structure, atmosphere and emotional intensity’ (David Patmore), along with his ‘unfailing musicality’. According to the Times critic, Joan Chissell, Kempe’s performance of Heldenleben won him a ‘hero’s ovation, and rightly… Conducting without a score, Mr. Kempe gave detailed guidance to every player, yet at the same time retained the ability to stand back and view the work in perspective.’

The performance of Dvorˇák 9 a year later was described by Chissell as ‘glowing enough to make you fall in love with its familiar strains all over again’.

‘Kempe successfully avoided what seems increasingly to be a danger today: exaggeration for the sake of effect on the one hand, and stiffness as a result of seeking clinical perfection on the other. Only a chosen few, such as Kempe, can realise their intensions by re-creating and at the same time remaining true to the original’ (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau)

Kempe’s style appealed greatly to British musicians in whom he inspired great confidence and joy.

1DVD

Sound format: LCPM mono

Picture format: 4:3

Running time: 89’

Subtitles: n/a

Menu languages: English

Booklet languages: E/F/G

Region code: 0

Territory Restrictions: None

“Fascinating mid-'70s footage of Kempe at the Proms, caught in vintage colour. Famous for his Heldenleben, he is even more illuminating in Dvorak's New World Symphony.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 *****

“a bittersweet reminder of times when a spot could be held for 16 or even 32 bars without breaking off to see is something more diverting is happening elsewhere...the more intense love for this music comes flowing out of [Kempe's] arms, and the BBC SO wind principals respond in kind...The battle is as exciting as his studio recordings, but there's much more light than heat about direction and playing” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

ica classics Legacy - ICAD5009

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Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss & Webern

Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss & Webern

Recorded live at Symphony Center, December 4, 5, 6, 2008 (Strauss), and April 23-28 2009 (Webern)


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Webern:

Im sommerwind (Idyl for large orchestra) (1904)


Hot on the heels of an Editor’s Choice for his Alpine Symphony, Bernard Haitink conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest Strauss ensembles, in Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) whose US première it gave in 1900. The CSO pours out a lush interpretation of Richard Strauss’s large and complex tone poem in their newest live recording. Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink leads with restraint and allows the strings and woodwinds to sing. In the famous Battle Scene, the brass and percussion roar, while concertmaster Robert Chen paints his violin solos depicting Strauss’ wife, Pauline, with tender beauty. Webern’s early tone poem Im Sommerwind is indebted to Strauss’s rhapsodic romanticism and overflows with spacious melodies. A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras.

“Haitink worked his customary miracles on behalf of Richard Strauss and the CSO gave him what it always gives him: superb and deeply felt playing… In Webern’s Im Sommerwind, Haitink asked for a refined beauty of sound and got it in abundance.” Chicago Tribune Concert Review

“Haitink moulds [Im Sommerwind] exquisitely, while the Chicago string players spin diaphanous curtains of sound.” The Guardian, 17th June 2010 ****

“Haitink’s narrative of the hero’s life is expounded with eloquence, power and depth of feeling, and is excellently relayed by the CSO. It is an interpretation to live with, revealing its soul more and more on repeated listening rather than telling you everything about itself at first go.” The Telegraph, 28th July 2010

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Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss & Webern

Bernard Haitink conducts Strauss & Webern

Recorded live at Symphony Center, December 4, 5, 6, 2008 (Strauss), and April 23-28 2009 (Webern)


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Webern:

Im sommerwind (Idyl for large orchestra) (1904)


20-page booklet with notes in English, French & German.

Hot on the heels of an Editor’s Choice for his Alpine Symphony, Bernard Haitink conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest Strauss ensembles, in Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) whose US première it gave in 1900. The CSO pours out a lush interpretation of Richard Strauss’s large and complex tone poem in their newest live recording. Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink leads with restraint and allows the strings and woodwinds to sing. In the famous Battle Scene, the brass and percussion roar, while concertmaster Robert Chen paints his violin solos depicting Strauss’ wife, Pauline, with tender beauty. Webern’s early tone poem Im Sommerwind is indebted to Strauss’s rhapsodic romanticism and overflows with spacious melodies. A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras.

“Haitink worked his customary miracles on behalf of Richard Strauss and the CSO gave him what it always gives him: superb and deeply felt playing… In Webern’s Im Sommerwind, Haitink asked for a refined beauty of sound and got it in abundance.” Chicago Tribune Concert Review

“The playing could not be subtler or more refined, with Haitink putting his distinctive stamp on the performances. The wonderful gradations of dynamic are meticulously controlled, with the strings in particular sounding glorious...A first-rate disc demonstrating the glory of orchestral music-making in the United States, a model for the rest of the world.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2010

“The way [Haitink] delineates Strauss's polyphony is very impressive, bringing out the counterpoints and subsidiary voices with nothing short of exemplary clarity. The orchestral sound is magnificent in SACD, quite stunning in the battle sequence...Haitink renders a performance of great dignity and tenderness [in the Webern]” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ****/*

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2010

Super Audio CD

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CSO Resound - CSOR9011004

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Strauss - Tone Poems

Strauss - Tone Poems


Strauss, R:

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Don Juan, Op. 20

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28

Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24


EMI Gemini - 4563342

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$12.50

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Kurt Sanderling

Kurt Sanderling


Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

Recorded: BBC Studios, Manchester, 17 April 1978

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Recorded: Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 30 September 1975


BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra, Kurt Sanderling

Sanderling was born in Arys, East Prussia on 19 September 1912. From 1942 to 1960 he was joint principal conductor with Evgeny Mravinsky at the Leningrad Philharmonic, and then led the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and Dresden Staatskapelle. During the 1960s Sanderling made successful appearances in Prague, Salzburg, Vienna and Warsaw, and made his British debut in 1970, becoming particularly associated with the Philharmonia in January 1980, and was later appointed their Conductor Emeritus. He conducted the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in 1976 in a sequence of outstanding performances which led to subsequent appearances with the orchestra in 1978, 1980 and 1990. During the 1990s Sanderling enjoyed a distinguished international career, giving notable performances with the Royal Amsterdam Concertgebouw, LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio and Cleveland orchestras.

Sanderling appears to have recorded 'Ein Heldenleben' on the obscure Japanese Weitblick label from 1972 though it is not known if this is still available. Notwithstanding, this Manchester live recording with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra preserves Sanderling's wonderful performance in Manchester's Free Trade Hall on 30th September 1975 in excellent stereo. In April 1978, Sanderling returned to Manchester and conducted the BBCNSO once again, this time under studio conditions in Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, Sanderling's ONLY published account of this work, again in excellent stereo.

Leader Barry Griffiths recalls Sanderling in rehearsal as being 'very easy going and extremely pleasant to work with. He was very relaxed and humorous. As far as performance was concerned: 'He gave us the impression that he thought we were a great orchestra and as a result he got the absolute most out of us. In performance he was always in command but never tense. This was the first time that I had played the solo part in Heldenleben in public, and he helped me all the way through.'

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Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 28

Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 28


Debussy:

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Malcolm Frager (piano)

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


“The lower strings at the opening of Ein Heldenleben make one catch one's breath… The playing is deeply felt, flows with life and provides a vividly detailed scenario. …the opening of the lovely closing section, after a perfectly timed pause, creates a magical frisson of tension, raptly held until the wonderfully expanding brass of the coda, which is altogether thrilling. ...Prélude à L'après-midi d'un faune is also totally memorable, the exquisite opening flute solo echoed by the rest of the woodwind and an immediately sensuously rapturous response from the strings. Kempe has also found a natural partner in Malcom Frager in Schumann's Piano Concerto. ...performance full of freshness and vitality.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

Profil Medien Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - PH08053

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Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs

Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs


Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Four Last Songs


Telarc - CD80180

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Herbert von Karajan conducts Beethoven & Strauss

Herbert von Karajan conducts Beethoven & Strauss

BBC broadcast: 16 May 1972, Royal Festival Hall, London


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


This unusual pairing was not without point. Towards the end of Ein Heldenleben, as Strauss’s hero is lacerated with doubt as to the value and purpose of his existence, he contemplates becoming a shepherd. The idea does not persist. So complete a withdrawal from the world was too drastic a move for a young man possessed of so strong a sense of mission. (Strauss was only 34 when he wrote Ein Heldenleben.) The psychic upheaval has, however, caused him to understand the power of renunciation, a power that will bring true contentment when the time for retirement finally comes. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony has a not dissimilar trajectory. Beginning with the sensation of ‘pleasant, cheerful feelings awakened on arrival in the countryside’, it ends with a sweet-sung finale during which Beethoven becomes the shepherds, sharing with them their mood of thanksgiving before a distant horn, emblem of autumn and the dying year, sounds its lament. To call either piece ‘programmatic’ is to misrepresent it. Beethoven’s Pastoral does not so much describe nature as explore the feelings it arouses in the human heart and imagination; Ein Heldenleben is as much a study of evolving states of mind as a paean to the heroic ideal. It is also worth remarking that both works offer ingenious adaptations of classical form. Where Beethoven adapts the four-movement symphonic structure by linking scherzo and finale by means of a Storm that takes the idea of a brief preface to the finale into hitherto unimagined territory, so Strauss confounds his critics by creating a tone-poem that has its roots in an extended classical sonata-form structure. There are six sections: first subject (the hero), transitional subject (his adversaries the critics), second subject (his wife and companion in love), development (deeds of war), recapitulation (works of peace and troubled self-analysis), and coda (fulfilment in retirement). From the booklet note ,  Richard Osborne, 2009

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Mozart & Strauss - Orchestral Works

Mozart & Strauss - Orchestral Works


Mozart:

Divertimento No. 17 in D major K334

Strauss, R:

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


Live recording of a concert given on 30th May 1969 in The Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

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Strauss - Burleske & Ein Heldenleben

Strauss - Burleske & Ein Heldenleben


Strauss, R:

Burleske for Piano and orchestra in D minor, AV85

Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40


Plamena Mangova (piano)

National Orchestra of Belgium, Walter Weller

Walter Weller's father played with the Vienna Philharmonic and was a friend of Richard Strauss: he taught violin to the composer's grandson and to his own son,Walter. Later Walter aged 20, was appointed Konzertmeister and during the next 12 years, he regularly performed the Ein Heldenleben solos in concert, under Karl Böhm.After a chance substitution for Böhm, at the helm of the Vienna Phil, he launched a new career as a conductor, making many recordings for Decca. Weller was appointed director of the Belgian National Orchestra in 2006, embarking on this series of recordings with Fuga Libera.The label introduced him to the Bulgarian pianist Plamena Mangova whose ambition was to play Richard Strauss' Burleske.Weller, who often conducted the piece with Arrau and Gulda at the piano, warned the young virtuoso: "It's very difficult, we'll have to see…." but after two concert performances the project was duly launched.

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