Strauss: Don Juan / Death and Transfiguration / Till Eulenspiegel Hybrid SACD
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Audio-CD, Hybrid SACD, 12. November 2013
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This new release and the upcoming series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera, and chamber recordings have received over 70 GRAMMY nominations and awards.
There s an incredible elasticity and flexibility at work here. Manfred Honeck's interventionist, hyper-romantic approach to three of Strauss's most accessible tone poems pays enormous dividends. This Don Juan is expansive but impulsive, and Honeck isn't afraid to tinker with Strauss's orchestration accentuating a stopped horn snarl, or making the violins play a metallic, shudderingponticello as the hero dies. Everything sounds stupendous this has to be the best-played, best-recorded Strauss anthology for years. You hear this at the start of Till Eulenspiegel, the strings introduction preparing us for the most characterful of horn solos. The first few notes are deliberately hesitant, cautious, as if Till's glancing around, making sure that the coast is clear. Strauss's scoring here is more mercurial, and Honeck's lightness of touch always accentuates the humour. As Till is sentenced to death, Honeck has the D clarinet play a crucial squeal for mercy an octave higher, at last rendering it audible. Death and Transfiguration's halting opening is beautifully done the wind chords impeccably tuned and the stuttering timpani rhythms just loud enough to be heard. Even Honeck's skills can't hide the work's longeurs Till and Don Juan succeed brilliantly because they re so concise. Strauss's debt to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet is clear in the faster music, but the rather protracted final section couldn t have been composed by anyone else. Honeck's players project with such chutzpah that any resistance is futile. A magnificent achievement. --ArtsDesk, Dec'13
This is one of the outstanding Strauss CDs of the year, the quality of playing and recording makes it very recommendable indeed. --Gramophone, Mar'14
This is the real thing, and I was gripped by the music and by the stories it tells,as much as I ever have been. I strongly encourage you to add Honeck's disc to your collection. IRR OUTSTANDING --IRR, Mar'14
The poetry is intense, yielding in Don Juan the most beautiful oboe cantilena ever. Perhaps this really is Donna Anna as Pushkin perceived her, the true love of the Libertine's life. Performance ***** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, May'14