Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|R. Strauss, Wdr Sinfonieorchester Koln, Bychkov|
Richard Strauss: Alpine Symphony; Till Eulenspiel [SACD]
An Alpine Sym. that succeeds through finesse rather than for
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Semyon Bychkov lurks on the edges as a notable but not quite eminent conductor. He has revived his career considerably through a slew of recordings with his Cologne radio orchestra. Following their well received 'Lohengrin,' Profil moves on to Strauss's gorgeous, hypertrophic Alpine Symphony. It once was that only the most elite orchestras performed this virtuosic work, but no more. There's a fine version on Naxos with Antoni Wit and the little-known Weimar Staatskapelle, and an even better one with a youth orchestra, no less, under Welser-Most on EMI (admittedly, it's the elite Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester).
Yet the question remains whether a well-drilled provincial orchestra can compete on the same level as spectcular Alpine Symphony recordings from Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin. Naturally, they cannot on equal terms, but here we have a stylish account that's never overblown. Bychkov phrases with gracefulness, the orchestra responds alerlty, and Profil's sound comes off as quite natural and warm. Wit was also fairly deliberate and restrained, as Bychkov tends to be here. Don't expect thrills and spills. I found myself paying closest attention during the quiet passages of scene-painting, whereas with Karajan or the spectacular Decca blockbuster from Blomstedt and the San Francisco Sym., one tends to mark time waiting for the next earth-moving climax. Overall, an impressively musical reading. It belongs up there with Kempe's equally civilized and beautifully molded EMI recording from forty years ago.