R Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Burleske | Pentatone PTC5186617

R Strauss - Ein Heldenleben, Burleske

£13.20

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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186617

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 7th September 2018

Contents

Artists

Denis Kozhukhin (piano)
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor

Marc Albrecht

Works

Strauss, Richard

Burleske in D minor for piano and orchestra
Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), op.40

Artists

Denis Kozhukhin (piano)
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor

Marc Albrecht

About

This album features both sides of Straussís musical persona (Brahmsian vs Wagnerism) with the Burleske in D minor as well as Ein Heldenleben. While the former is a playful, miniature quasi-concerto for piano and orchestra, the latter epitomises Straussís symphonic style: majestic, virtuosically orchestrated, full of grand ideas, but never without irony. In that respect, Ein Heldenleben has more in common with Burleske than one would expect. Straussís arguably satirical self-identification with the hero of his symphonic poem is underlined by recurrent self-quotations from previous compositions. The central role of the solo violin makes it another solo concerto in disguise, albeit less overtly than Burleske.

These two remarkable pieces are performed by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and their chief conductor Marc Albrecht, with Denis Kozhukhin delivering the solo piano part in Burleske. All have an impressive track record at Pentatone. Albrecht and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra have released acclaimed albums such as Mahler Song Cycles with Alice Coote (2017) and Mahlerís Symphony No.4 with Elizabeth Watts (2015). Kozhukhin has recorded piano concertos by Ravel and Gershwin (2018) as well as Tchaikovsky and Grieg (2016), and has been extensively praised for his Brahms Ballads & Fantasies solo album (2017).

Reviews

The recording really scores points in its coherence, though, with Albrecht controlling the grand battle and triumph expertly, not scrimping on drama while keeping all its disparate elements together. Thereís a real warmth to the ĎHeroís Works of Peaceí, too, and plenty to wallow in in the final section, not least some exquisite horn-playing. Recommended.  Hugo Shirley
Gramophone December 2018

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