Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Strauss, Zubin Mehta, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra|
Strauss: Symphonic Music From Operas / Berlin Philharmonic / Mehta (Sony)
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One of Mehta's better enterprises from his New York years
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 08/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Zubin Mehta the conductor has always reminded me of pro athletes that perform at their greatest when young, hungry and not making much money. Then, when they get that first big contract, they are suddenly mediocre, their drive reduced by instant wealth.
This is the metaphor I have for Mehta, whose outstanding youthful recordings of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and "Eine Alpinesymphonie", the Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4 and 5, and Schmidt's Symphony No. 4 were never replicated after he made it to New York and began churning out mediocrity after mediocrity on CD.
While not the final word in Strauss bleeding chunks, this recording is, I believe, one of Mehta's better enterprises from his New York period. The orchestral excerpts from Richard Strauss's operas are all performed with relaxed elan, style and substance and comprise an entertaining hour of music.
No particular work stands out among the entities, which include music from "Rosenkavalier", "The Love of Danae", "Intermezzo" and the symphonic fantasy from "Die Frau ohne Schatten". There are better individual performances of each of these suites but few CDs put them together and perform them as well as here.
The 20-bit technology creates a nice sound circa 1990 that exposes the Berlin Philharmonic's texture. This is not the same orchestra that Karajan had sharpened to a razor's edge when he died a year earlier, but a more generic good that still wears well.
Nothing in this music suggests the profundity of Zarathustra and none of it scales the heights of Alpine. Still, it is enjoyable while reliably played and performed. I enjoy the occasional spin of this disc when I look for less than revelatory or profound Strauss, and I think you will too."
Mehta visits Berlin for out of the way Strauss
dv_forever | Michigan, USA | 04/13/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Always great to hear the BPO in the music of Richard Strauss. This time we get seldom heard material. Mehta's take on the Symphonic Fantasy from "Die Frau" isn't as convincing as Thielemann's version with the Vienna Philharmonic on DG. Mehta runs through some of the most lush and dreamy passages and his general direction is lacking distinction. The enjoyment one gets from this CD is definitely from the presence of a great orchestra since the conductor isn't exactly working at his peak here.
The Der Rosenkavalier waltzes have been done much better by Rudolf Kempe. The other two selections show Mehta in a a better light since these pieces lack great competition from other maestros. I was particularly delighted by the symphonic interludes from the opera "Intermezzo". I compared this recording to Jarvi's account of the same pieces and found that Mehta's sure hand lets the music flow more naturally than Jarvi who pushes and pulls a little more than needed. Also the BPO is far more virtuosic than Jarvi's ensemble.
The sound quality is decent digital but nothing spectacular. Sony's sound is neither sumptuous enough, nor clear enough to carry absolute impact but I've heard so much disastrous digital from all record labels that I can't criticize this CD too much. It sounds good enough, the music is good enough and the performances are in the same class. This is an out of the way cheap and enjoyable CD you can find on the used market aimed at the Strauss fan or completist."
Mehta comes off better the less you know
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These are lush excerpts from Strauss operas played to the hilt by the Berlin Phil. In the music that everybody knows, the Rosenkavalier waltzes, Mehta is not competitive--his readings are big, generalized, without wit or special interest. But who really knows the music from Der Liebe der Danae or Intermezzo? It's garrulous and unispired compared to Strauss's best, but a nice plunge if you like warm chocolate. The recording isnt the best. Horns are far away, strings very up close, winds buried in a bit of a haze. I think I like Mehta in this musci mostly because I've never heard anybody better--and don't need to."