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I was debating whether to take the plunge and buy this latest edition of these recordings, already owning the Brilliant Classics set of the same material. But I am a sucker for these boxed sets that utilise the original album covers as this set does, and so went for it. Actually, the original album covers are a bit of an uncomfortable fit here (as they are on the Grieg box in the same series) because of how the CDs are programmed (not in the same way as the LPs), but, even so, it's nice to have those original album covers even if they are a case of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
On the back cover of the box in small print are the words "remastered in 2013 from newly discovered original tapes," and I wondered whether the improvement was actually something we would notice with the average ageing ear. It certainly is - the sound is far more vibrant than in the Brilliant set, with the sound altogether fuller and instruments I have not heard before in the recordings make an appearance for the first time. These sound glorious - much better than many recordings made in the last ten years, even.
A very nice upgrade, and at £15 I don't mind the double-dipping.
This is a really excellent value for money purchase and a real eye opener.As someone brought up with the Fritz Reiner Chicago recordings of the major Strauss tone poems which I thought could never be bettered I consider these Kempe recordings to be every bit their equal.This is an essential purchase for any serious lover of orchestral music.
WIthout repeating my comments on the earlier EMI release of these discs, the new re-issue from Warner is worth every penny. The original CDs were released based on copies of the mastertapes of the original sessions in East Germany in the 1970s. The original masters have now been relocated and this issue you get CDs mastered from the original session tapes.
These performances from Kempe and the unique rich Strauss sound from the Dresden Orchestra always were the bench mark by which other recordings should be judged. Kemple brought unrivaled warmth, humanity, spirituality and musicality to these Strauss recordings.
This box set includes nearly the full range of the Strauss canon. It includes an Alpine symphony to die for, a Metermophosen which is so emotional and played with the heart of the Dresdeners firmly on the sleeve it takes you back to the depths of despair of 1945 when Strauss wrote it and was a musical requiem for a world that had fallen apart. The tone poems are equally as richly played just bubble with a warmth and humanity to make it such joyful listening. Haven't the space to review everything in the box, just be assured these are the finest performances that have been committed to disc. It will take extra special playing and conducting to dislodge them from being the definitive Strauss recordings and going on for 50 years since theses performances were recorded nothing has rivalled them.
Kempe was THE Strauss conductor and the performances he obtained in these Dresden sessions shine gloriously His ear for detail,his ability to construct the big picture and overall control and understanding of how these works should be played and interpreted are second to none in this repertoire and how these orchestral players respond to such ability on the podium!
Apart from a set of performances sent from heaven, now we have a reissued CD set based on the original master tapes the recorded sound, which in fairness was pretty good anyway, sound magnificent with more depth, a little more middle frequency and more focus at the top and overall greater presence, this Kempe set becomes even more sublime and magical than it already was. If you have the original green box set as I did, I can assure you it is worth reinvesting and buying this newly remastered set.
Of rival recordings, I have some of the various CDs that Karajan recorded and although the Berliners play to wonderful heights, Karajan's readings of these works are frequently heartless and cold and have nothing of the warmth and humanity of Kempe. Karajan's Alpine symphony for example is as cold and unfeeling and the snow bound Alps themselves.
These performances suffer, as much of Karajan's output did , from HVK's annoying habit of smoothing over the orchestral details for sake, allegedly, of beauty of sound. If you listen to Kempe and then to Karjan you will be able to judge for yourself how much HVK as smoothed under the musical carpet.
The other issue that should be noted is that the DG sound for some of these recordings was harsh and congested which made it a less than pleasurable experience on the ears. I have some the earlier releases in my CD collection for these Karajan Strauss performances on which I am making my comments. I understand that some of these HVK Strauss recordings have now been remastered by DG, i have not heard them so cannot comment.
Kempe though reigns supreme. Don't hesitate go and buy!!!
Recently received this box set of Richard Strauss works . Working my way through it , starting with my favourite pieces . Listening at the moment to ' Metamorphosen ' . I already had a copy of this , conducted by David Zinman , and thought that could not be bettered , until I heard the Rudolph Kempe version . He takes many of the pieces at a faster timing than most of the others I have heard , and it gives the music a much lighter feel . Next on my playlist is symphonie Domestica . I cannot wait to see what speed he takes the final movement . It never ceases to amaze me how Warners can distribute box sets like this , and charge such a small price for them . If you like Richard Strauss , or have yet to be introduced to him , I urge you to buy this collection . You will not be disappointed .
I have many Richard Strauss recordings and it is often difficult to say who tops the lot. Karajan is superb, David Zinman, excellent, not to mention Fritz Reiner. But this wonderful set remains an all time favourite. No one could be disappointed with this purchase.
Was there ever a better conductor of Richard Strauss than Kempe? I was lucky to hear him do some of these pieces with the RPO in the 60s!
Just one example compare his Alpine Symphony with Bohm on DG. Now, I was brought up on this recording. It was wonderful and also the only one! But the Kempe is vastly superior in both interpretation and recording.
Actually, buy both sets -and Krause- as they are all such good value.
With the exception of his operas and Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, most of Richard Straus' works were far from my musical radar screen. What a delight then to see this high-quality, low-cost box with remarkable high-quality recordings from the 1970s with possibly one of the finest orchestras and conductor. The fact that Warner went through the effort to put these in their (mostly) historic original covers is an additional visual delight. A concise and effective booklet provides the essential background information. Highly recommended.
These are classic performances newly remastered. There may be superior accounts of individual items out there, but as a comprehensive survey this is unbeatable, and at a price that is ridiculously low. In short, a great bargain.
The performances are very good, and the set of CD's is clearly good value for money. I had forgotten just how loud everything seems in his orchestral works, so I would not wish to binge listen to this collection.