Edo de Waart's live performance of Richard Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie is larger-than-life, exciting, and expansive, practically beyond the ability of a CD to contain it all. This is a grandiose piece, surely Strauss' densest and most elaborate tone poem, and the playing de Waart elicits from the Royal Flemish Philharmonic matches the score for depth, complexity, and power at every point. It's difficult to conceive of any other performance that could convey the mountainous climaxes and stormy effects more convincingly, except for one that would have been recorded with state-of-the-art audio technology. The only problem with this 2012 release on Serendipitous is that the conventional digital format seems too small and shallow for the job of capturing Strauss' majestic orchestration and the towering sonorities of this orchestra. Had this performance been presented in the super audio format, with spacious multichannel surround sound and the stunning details of direct stream digital signal processing, the final product would have done justice to the RFP's glorious playing. As it is, the effort falls short a little by audiophile standards, and even casual listeners will sense that there's too much music going on for stereo speakers to fully bring across. All the same, this is a great performance that should be appreciated for its musicality, and enjoyed in spite of its limitations.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64|