R Strauss: Metamorphosen

By Bratby, Richard | Gramophone, July 2017 | Go to article overview

R Strauss: Metamorphosen


Bratby, Richard, Gramophone


R Strauss

Metamorphosen (a). Serenade, Op 7 (b). Sonatina No 2, 'Frohliche Werkstatt' (b) Aldeburgh (b) Winds and (a) Strings / (b) Nicholas Daniel, (a) Markus Daunert

Linn (F) CKD538 (78' * DDD)

Richard Strauss didn't do himself any favours when he called his late compositions 'wrist exercises', and I'll confess that previous encounters with his wind music have occasionally brought that unworthy thought to mind. This new recording of his 1944-45 symphony for wind instruments (Sonatina No 2) from Aldeburgh Winds--a sort of supergroup of Britten-Pears Orchestra alumni--is a different matter. Listen to the introduction to the finale: the sepulchral richness of those Wagnerian chords, the eloquence and colour of the solo responses and most of all, the spaciousness--the way the group's director Nicholas Daniel places each phrase. Strauss never actually called the piece a symphony but here it feels like one.

Daniel's feeling for Strauss's long-range ebb and flow is one of the great attractions of this disc; you get the impression he's happy to oversee the general pacing and balance and then trust his players to do the rest. …

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