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Scenes From Salome & Elektra
R. Strauss, Borkh, Schoeffler
Scenes From Salome & Elektra
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

Fritz Reiner's fabled 1956 excerpts from Strauss's Elektra not only live up to their legend via RCA's superb "Living Stereo" remastering, but attest to the conductor's unmatched synchronicity between his orchestra and, arg...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: R. Strauss, Borkh, Schoeffler, Yeeng, Cso
Title: Scenes From Salome & Elektra
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 11/19/2002
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 090266863624

Fritz Reiner's fabled 1956 excerpts from Strauss's Elektra not only live up to their legend via RCA's superb "Living Stereo" remastering, but attest to the conductor's unmatched synchronicity between his orchestra and, arguably, the most commanding, involved rendering of the title role and Orestes on disc. Inge Borkh's powerful, laserlike timbre and intense vocal acting are beyond praise in the touching Recognition Scene. Frances Yeend's contributions as Chrysothemis are not on the same exalted level, but still fine. The conductor puts his virtuosic orchestra through their paces in a blistering Dance of the Seven Veils, which sets the stage for Borkh in Salome's Final Scene. Her fiery rendition not only stands up to Welitsch's legendary recording with Reiner and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, but offers vivid stereo engineering and superior orchestral playing. Full texts are supplemented by the original LP annotations. In sum, a recording for the ages. --Jed Distler

CD Reviews

DAZZLING performances of these excerpts!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Whenever I get recordings of operas, I strictly adhere to my personal rule of getting only the COMPLETE recording, not excerpts. In the case of the present recording, I broke my rule for three reasons: 1) The recording was made only as excerpts, not as a complete recording; 2) It was Reiner and the Chicago Symphony in authoritative Richard Strauss performances, and 3) I had heard that these recordings were excellent, but were elusive for many years on availability until their CD reincarnation.Well, these are excerpts, but they are just as good as if they had been a complete recording! Reiner leads his Chicago Symphony in playing as if they are possessed, and they are the real stars in this recording! This is extremely difficult music to play, and all involved indeed arose to the occasion. Inge Borkh may not be Birgit Nilsson, but she gives her all in making the roles of Salome and Elektra completely credible in my book. Veteran Paul Schoeffler, admired by Reiner for years in his Strauss opera performances, contributes importantly as Elektra's brother, Orestes, in one of the last performances of his career.If you are one who purposely avoids opera because you dislike it without exception and you do the same to this recording, you will shamefully be passing up what I feel is one of the top five recordings made by a legendary conductor with a legendary ensemble. To top it all off, the icing on this cake has been made all the more yummy for what I feel is about the best sound ever given to Reiner and his band by RCA Living Stereo producer Richard Mohr and recording engineer Lewis Layton.I am sorry that I cannot give this recording TEN stars, because's rating system only allows FIVE stars!"
Brilliant excerpts
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 07/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a magnificent CD this is ! With prime cuts from two of the greatest 20th century operas, which are also two of the strongest parts for women ever written...with savage drama, musical difficulty, and stamina, as Elektra and Salome remain on stage during the entire opera.
Inge Borkh is fabulous. She has power, precision, and not a single strident moment. Paul Schoeffler's Orest is also excellent. Though I've heard more emotional interpretations, his is a brave and ellegant Orest, and the extraordinary "Was willst du, fremder Mensch ?" Recognition Scene is terrific.Fritz Reiner was a stern and uncompromising taskmaster (I had the opportunity to see him in rehearsal was rigorous), but how he made the Chicago Symphony shine !
Reiner was a friend of Strauss' and a foremost interpreter of his sensual, complex and spectacular scores. If you want to remember Reiner in just one CD, this would be a good choice.Elektra was recorded in '56, Salome in '54 and '55, and the total time is 67'01. The remastered sound is wonderful. The very good booklet insert has a page describing the process...unintelligible to me, but to quote them, "the result is a pure copy of the original performance, bringing Living Stereo to life for a new generation of music lovers"."
Has to be heard to be believed!!
Rosomax | Boulder, CO United States | 12/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a marvel of a recording, the engineers did an outstanding job of making it accessible for younger generation of opera fans.
After all these years, it seems that only Fritz Reiner was able to capture the essense of Strauss' troubled, intense, and thrilling genius. Inge Borkh's voice must be exactly what the composer had envisioned -- it's "larger than life" but can convey so many shades and colors. Simply dazzling.
There's a feeling of freshness and excitement to the entire CD, it's immediately clear that both the performer and the conductor shared love and great respect for Strauss's music, this feeling has reached us through the decades and we can stand back in awe for this incredible music making."