Nominally a symphony but for all intents and purposes a symphonic poem, Richard Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie (1915) was his last work in the genre and, at over 50 minutes and boasting a gigantic orchestra, possibly the most imposing of his purely orchestral compositions. This 2014 performance by Kent Nagano and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra delivers the sweep and majesty of the music with an extraordinary depth of sound and the vibrant, Wagnerian tone colors of Strauss' music in his prime. One of the criticisms sometimes made about Eine Alpensinfonie is its resemblance to film music, though anything of this work's complexity and power wouldn't be found in cinema until many years later. Yet this might be taken as a flattering comparison, if Eine Alpensinfonie is regarded as an enduring influence on Hollywood scores, and in light of its continuing accessibility and appeal to new audiences, a positive influence. To be sure, Nagano and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra don't stint on drama or passion, and the epic feeling invites visualization of Strauss' detailed Alpine program or any other heroic narrative one can imagine. The recording by Farao Classics is phenomenal in its warmth and richness, which approach audiophile quality.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64|