Five stars and chock full
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this one superlative disk you can hear why Dorati was considered one of Strauss's greatest interpreters. Throughout his career, from the days of the Ballet Russe in the '30s and '40s to the Detroit Symphony recordings of the '70s and '80s, Dorati followed Strauss scholarship closely and shared his admiration of Strauss with audiences in stunning and communicative performances.These are from his Minneapolis years (only the mono Heldenleben is left out) and the performances are knockouts. The maestro plays fair by the composer, but there's an almost operatic type of scene organization that allows him to build drama and lead us through the ebbs and tides of Straussian psychology.Unlike so many readings of this composer, no lumpiness is allowed, no frowzy attacks, no sitting around. In all instances the music is youthful, alive, spritely, fresh, clear, balanced, and captivating. Dorati gets his best performance of his own assemblage of Rosenkavalier excerpts, hypnotic and rythmic with a good measure of Viennese elegance thrown in. Those of us who have suffered thourgh snoring, routine performances at the Staatsoper would have liked to have had the Minneapolis contingent in the pit. The ensemble played and breathed like an opera orchestra while under Dorati, living and "singing" the drama and life of its repertoire. This comes through strongly on this disk.Striking here is the Transfiguration, which does, indeed, do that as the conductor brings up a vertical crescendo and breaks apart the sound into transluscent color that scatters across your speakers' spectrum to startling effect.Wilma Cozart, genius that she is, probably thought rehabbing this one from her own original tapes was a coffee-and-Danish break. My side-by-side comparisons with first-edition Mercury vinyl indicates little, if anything, was needed to bring this outstanding reissue to us. Good as these performances are, they don't exactly eclipse Dorati's later Detroit Straussian efforts. Of course, you'll buy Minneapolis AND Detroit Dorati-Strauss material, won't you?"