Christoph von Dohnányi holds these tone poems together with a sure hand, clarifying textures, burnishing colors, and keeping things moving forward without rushing. The Philharmonia plays with easy virtuosity and total cohesion, with plenty of first-class solos in both works. But if you are looking for anything threatening, stimulating, or even particularly entertaining in your Strauss, you are unlikely to be satisfied by the air of "job well done" complacency in evidence on this record. For no less well executed but far more emotionally engaging versions of these pieces, try such masters as Reiner, Böhm, Karajan, Krauss, and of course, Strauss himself. Signum's digital sound is big and bold, but not quite as vivid as it might be.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40|