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Richard Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs / Auger, Previn
Hermann Hesse, Joseph von Eichendorff
Richard Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Four Last Songs / Auger, Previn
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
The late Arleen Auger sings the Four Last Songs very touchingly, but this disc is really a showcase for André Previn and the Vienna Philharmonic. Previn has always been a fine Strauss conductor, and he is on record as sa...  more »

      
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The late Arleen Auger sings the Four Last Songs very touchingly, but this disc is really a showcase for André Previn and the Vienna Philharmonic. Previn has always been a fine Strauss conductor, and he is on record as saying that the four-disc set of Strauss tone poems that he recorded for Telarc is his personal favorite among his many recordings. It's easy to see why. The playing is alive with character. Previn keeps matters moving smartly, and Telarc lets nothing come between the listener and this magnificent orchestra. Strauss, for all his skill as a dramatic composer, has a weak sense of musical timing. He frequently never knew when to stop. With playing of this quality, you almost wish he never would. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Another Last Songs for your collection.
Robert Petersen | 05/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Previn is understandably proud of his Strauss recordings. This recording includes Ein Heldenlaben and it compares favorably with the famous Reiner/CSO album from the '50's. The real show stopper here is the Songs, and I'm sure it'll be compared with the Karajan/Janowitz performance. For one thing,Auger's voice isn't as powerful(Some people call it "creamy",whatever that is.)as Janowitz's. Auger's voice has a more tender, human quality that's a pleasure to hear. For another,Previn's tempos are different than Karajan's. Im Adendrot,for instance,is a full minute slower than Karajan's But, you're gonna love that extra minute! It's truly majestic. The recorded sound is up to Telarc's high standard. There's something about it that makes you want to TURN IT UP. I'm not trading in my Karajan CD,but this one stays as well."
One of the best Four Last Songs on CD
William J. Finn | Sarasota Florida | 06/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Ein Heldenlieben is a fine recording, but I am primarly recommending this disc because of the wonderful performance of the Four Last Songs. Previn and the Vienna Philharmonic achieve an incredible orchestral beauty and intensity, and Auger doesn't fudge a single note. I frequently play this recording multiple times in a single sitting just to make sure I am not dreaming. Very highly recommended."
One of many reviews, and in total agreement!
Timothy Mikolay | Pittsburgh, PA | 09/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have to start with Auger's "Beim Schlafengehen" and the incredible violin solo. There is something to be said about Auger's incredible reading of this music but much more can be praised about her exquisite intonation. She takes us into her longing for the starry night and lumbering sleep with incredible skill and passion. And isn't there something so ethereal about hearing a viennese violinist traverse that gorgeous solo like no other? Just the right vibrato and plenty of phrasing. And this is only 5 minutes of this impeccable album. Every song on this album is a testament to rest for weary souls by Hermann Hesse and Joseph Eichendorff and this team of Previn, Arleen Auger, and the Vienna Philharmonic gift us with an unforgettable performance.

Previn has recorded Richard Strauss' music for years, some of it good, some bad. His TELARC sets are quite interesting. This set of "Vier letzte Lieder" and "Ein Heldenleben" appearing amongst over a dozen other interpretations easily stands out for many reasons such as Auger's incredible pitch and Previn's passion for this music. I never feel as satisfied with other renditions of these lieder because I don't feel the soloists are on pitch. Yes, the passion is there, but so must be the musicianship! Previn is not his usual boring, suffocating self like he was with his EMI/Angel Strauss. This is impassioned and profound music making recorded nearly 20 years ago!!

Auger embraces the libretto with care, tenderness, and love like no other on record. I'd say she surpasses my all-time favorite reading with Janowitz in both technique and profundity.

I hope this disc is readily available for many generations to come because it deserves such a place in recorded history."