Franz Welser-Möst

Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie

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How disappointing is this disc? For listeners who love composer Richard Strauss' earlier tone poems -- his libidinous Don Juan, his morbid Tod und Verklärung, or his meglomanical Also Sprach Zarathustra -- his gargantuan Eine Alpensinfonie may seem enormously overblown and immensely forgettable. For listeners who love conductor Franz Welser-Möst's earlier recordings -- his delicately colored Schreker Chamber Symphony, his emotionally convincing Schmidt Hussar Variations, and his highly charged Korngold Symphony -- his thick-waisted and heavy-footed Eine Alpensinfonie may seem enormously overblown and immensely forgettable. And for listeners who love the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester's recordings of Dallapiccola's evocative Piccola musica notturna, Xenakis' gnarly Keqrops for piano and orchestra, and especially Henze's intensely expressive Sinfonische Intermezzi, their out-of-tune, out-of-sync, and out-of-breath performance of Eine Alpensinfonie may seem enormously overblown and immensely forgettable. For some reason, there are dozens of better performances of Strauss' musical Matterhorn -- Böhm's with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Kempe's with the Royal Philharmonic first among them. Any listener who loves great performances of mediocre music will love them. Any listener who loves being disappointed will love this recording. EMI's sound is tremendously detailed, incredibly loud, and far from disappointing.

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