Following their successful 2016 release of Richard Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie on Farao Classics, Kent Nagano and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra present vivid performances of two more great tone poems, Ein Heldenleben (1898) and Tod und Verklärung (1888-1889). Strauss had a tendency to provide more or less autobiographical programs for his orchestral works, but the narrative is explicit in Ein Heldenleben. This ambitious representation of Strauss' career as a young composer offers a larger-than-life image, though it is somewhat balanced with humor and lyricism. Less obvious as a self-portrait, though subjective in its depiction of an old man's deathbed recollections, Tod und Verklärung represents a more introspective side of Strauss that is reflected in its tender themes and long passages of evocative orchestration. Nagano and the orchestra give both works wonderfully sensitive and expressive performances, and demonstrate a depth of knowledge and affection for Strauss that radiates through the music, especially in the soaring apotheosis of Tod und Verklärung. Farao's superb recording conveys the depth and warmth of the orchestra, and the sound matches the previous release of Eine Alpensinfonie in its richness. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40|
|Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24|