Superb performances, variable sound
madamemusico | Cincinnati, Ohio USA | 08/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These incredibly valuable recordings not only document Richard Strauss' excellence as a conductor, but also reveal some of the ways in which he wanted his music to sound. Strauss, like Toscanini, Walter, Bohm, Reiner and Mengelberg, favored steady tempi and clarity of sound, which is one of several reasons why Strauss admired their conducting as much as they admired him.
The problem here is the very variable sound quality of these archival recordings. "Till Eulenspiegel" is a little thin-sounding, but clear; "Don Juan" is very very dull and boxy; and the "Salome" dances are a bit gritty. Nevertheless, we get a very clear picture of Strauss' tempi and phrasing, and his performances of "Till," "Tod und Verklarung" and especially "Don Quixote" are the very best I have ever heard of these works, the Italian cellist Enrico Mainardi playing extremely well in the latter.
Very highly recommended, then, for what Strauss has to tell us about his music. It's only a shame that they didn't include his own recording of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as well!"