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ClassicsOnline Home » STRAUSS, R.: Alpine Symphony (An) (Paris National Opera Orchestra, Jordan)
An Alpine Symphony with a glorious operatic sound
Unquestionably one of Richard Strauss' most compelling scores, all it took was the opening measures of this recording to catapult me to the base of the most magnificent mountain range I have ever imagined. What is more, the sound of the Paris Opera Orchestra gave me chills worthy of the photograph on the cover of the CD case. This is as Wagnerian, in the theatrical sense, as Strauss gets, and every ounce of the operatic is wrung from the score by conductor Philippe Jordan and this fabulous orchestra.
The live recording is gorgeous with an amazing sound stage big enough to envelop the gigantic sound without any loss of spaciousness, the full blast of the orchestra transparently clear, and the chamber-like passages deliciously intimate. The tone and color palette of this group is amazing.
As I intimated above, Jordan takes a theatrical approach to the music. The drama is palpable, and in no way is this merely a rendition of an unrelated series of scenes as is so often the case in performance.
When we get to the summit, the ranz des vaches-like oboe solo followed by cloud shattering pronouncements of the alpine horns is transcendental. Who else but a Strauss at the peak of his power would dare to reach a climax mid-way through a piece without any risk of losing the listener's attention. Instead, the second act begins.
The ultimate impact of this performance of the work is that of a gigantic overture to an operatic event that dwarfs Wagner's Ring in scope and duration.
There is a musical renaissance unfolding in France, and this Naïve CD is a testament to it. Most emphatically recommended.more....
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STRAUSS, R.: Alpine Symphony (An) (Paris National ...