Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
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Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra - AudioSoundMusic

Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Fritz Reiner, conductor

 

1 LP, standard sleeve

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33RPM

Size : 12”

Stereo

Studio

Record Press :  Quality Record Pressings

Lacquers Plated by Gary Salstrom

Label :  Analogue Productions

Original Label : RCA Victor

Recorded 8 March 1954 in Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Engineered by Leslie Chase

Produced by John Pfeiffer

Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound

Originally released in 1954

Reissued in 2020

 

Tracks :

Side A :

  1. Part 1

Side B :

  1. Concluded

 

Awards:

TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Classical

 

Reviews :

“These classic performances have been re-re-re-re reissued time and again over the years to mark practically every step along the road of advancing audio technology. Not surprisingly, because the original sound, captured in early RCA Living Stereo, is so splendid each incarnation seems to reveal yet more riches. The performances, too, are very, very impressive. Fritz Reiner had worked with Strauss in Germany and had built up a formidable reputation as an interpreter of his music. Furthermore, performances of Richard Strauss had been one of the glories of the Chicago Symphony who had given the American premieres of Zarathustra (1897) Don Quixote (1899) and Heldenleben (1900).

(…) Zarathustra’s spectacular ‘Sunrise’ opening with its floor-shaking organ pedal and those exciting timpani hammerstrokes and thrilling trumpet and brass proclamations reach right out at you. The sweet voluptuous musings and rising passions ‘Of the people of the unseen world’ sweep across and engulf the sound stage and the unbridled ‘Of the great longing’ and ‘Of joys and passions’ also thrill and tingle.

Passing on to Ein Heldenleben, the sound was equally riveting. Take, for instance ‘The hero’s battlefield’. Here the spatial effects are most convincing – the approaching bugle calls, the cantering, then charging cavalry and the booming guns (floor-shuddering bass drum thunders) envelop the listener. Also beautifully spatially engineered, is the hauntingly lovely string passage at the climax of ‘The hero’s retreat from the world and fulfilment’.

It is amazing to remember that this music was recorded as long ago as 1954. Every instrument is glowingly captured. Yes, one might argue that the odd trumpet call, for instance, is shrill and thin but that is the exception. Listen, for instance, to the silky sheen of the strings and the warmth of the violin solos and the clarity of the carping woodwinds in Heldenleben’s adversaries’ music.” Ian and Grace Lace, MusicWeb

“Richard Strauss could almost have designed his scores as sonic spectaculars, and the bright light of RCA’s recordings helps paint these works in almost psychedelic fashion. Both works on this disc are divided by the composer into named sections, all of which are individually tracked here for ease of reference.

Reiner’s Also sprach is miraculous not only because of the luscious sound picture it presents, but also for a structural grasp that ensures the piece at no moment sprawls. There is hiss accompanying the subterranean opening, but there is also a palpable sense of anticipation. Sunrise is mightily impressive – yet is that a touch of wow in the organ afterglow immediately following it?.

Magnificent strings populate the ‘Unseen world’ – the close-miking only emphasises their intimate murmurings. But for evidence of Reiner’s affinity for Strauss one need only point to ‘Of joys and passions’.

The sheer discipline of this performance is remarkable, but so is Reiner’s ear for colour. ‘The convalescent’ is darkly presented, so that when light comes, it really glistens at around four minutes into this track. Some of the sparkles of the following section could almost come from the pen of Rimsky-Korsakov!

Ein Heldenleben is a remarkable essay in self-aggrandisement. Reiner makes sure the hero we encounter is bold and fearless. The spiky, nit-picking critics, heard this close up, are an intimidating lot. His wife, though, is altogether more complex – heard, of course, in the form of the solo violin, here the truly excellent John Weicher.

Predictably perhaps, the Battle Field is one of the utmost carnage, with mechanistic rhythms and the quasi-atonal elements emphasised. Perhaps the ascending trumpet line could have been more of an agonised cry, but the rhythmic unison at 5’24 (track 13) and the ensuing, forceful octave outcome carry real structural weight. The close of the work has all of the harmonic and textural repose necessary - which is a lot, considering the histrionics of the Battle. This Hero does indeed achieve peace as he retreats from the earthy plane.” Colin Clarke, MusicWeb

 

Ratings:

Discogs 4.71 / 5

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