Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|R. Strauss, Bychkov, Wdr So of Cologne|
Ein Heldenleben / Metamorphosen
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 02/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If your concept of "Ein Heldenleben" begins and ends with Reiner, Karajan, Kempe or Beecham, you should give this CD a listen so you can hear everything you've been missing the past 30 years. Semyon Bychkov conducts an exciting, pulsating, passionate performance that will probably seem much faster than what you hear from the Big 4. Yet in actual timing, Bychkov clocks in at 46:51, Karajan EMI at 45:19, Karajan DG at 35:02 and Kempe at 44:22. So why does Byckhov sound faster? What differentiates this version in the crowded field of "Hero" recordings is the depth of the sound stage and how it matches the wonderful playing of the Cologne orchetra. While no one will mistake this band for the Berlin or Vienna philharmonics, they more than hold their own with bigger name orchestras and match Bychkov's biting, incisive approach note for note. Along the way you'll hear instruments you never heard before and a depth to timpani that adds dimension to the drama. Bychkov's rendition of "Metamorphosen" lacks the psychology Furtwangler and others bring to the music, but it -- again -- is so well recorded that one soon forgets classic versions to concentrate on the sound field. I owned five other recordings of "Ein Heldenleben" when I bought this. I tried and tried to find a reason to give this one away or sell it to resale; but each time I played it I found myself absorbed in Bychkov's sound world and drawn in by the epic tapestry. While he lacks the strength, human feeling and ecstasy Karajan brings to his EMI version and the warm understanding of Kempe, Bychkov has directed a CD that will compete with the best versions available today and tomorrow."