There are somewhere past 100 recordings of Strauss' Don Juan in the international catalog and somewhere past 50 recordings of his Eine Alpensinfonie. In order to make a dent in such formidable competition, any new recording of these works needs to have something special going for it. In this 2007 recording of the works with Mariss Jansons leading the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, that something special is not the performances. This isn't to say that the performances aren't excellent. Here, as always, the Dutch musicians demonstrate why they are one of Europe's greatest orchestras with vivid colors, brilliant soloists, effortless ensemble, and a deeply polished tone that cannot be mistaken for any other orchestra. And with his skill, control, and energy Jansons once again shows why he is a top-rated conductor. But though the performances are admirable, they can hardly be said to be better than dozens of earlier performances, some of them by the same orchestra. Instead, what truly distinguishes this recording is the recording itself. Captured live in super audio surround sound, this disc is stunningly present and staggeringly immediate. Don Juan's brash opening sweeps the listener up and away and carries them straight through Eine Alpensinfonie's boldly pictorial effects. Whether this makes enough of a difference will depend on the listener and his/her playback system.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony) for orchestra, Op. 64 (TrV 233)|