Holst: The Planets; Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

Posted by i kadek Mardika on Wednesday, March 21, 2012

William Steinberg's Zarathustra always has been a personal favorite. Deutsche Grammophon never gave it much support because of excellent versions by Böhm and Karajan already in its catalog, but the Boston Symphony frankly outplays its Berlin counterpart, particularly in the brass and percussion departments, and Steinberg's Dionysian assault on the score never has been surpassed. He whips up the Dance Song in the second half to a truly Nietzschean frenzy. Every performance sounds a bit tame after this, and unlike so many other versions, he never gives the impression that it's all down hill after the famous opening.

If you love this work, than you simply must hear this recording.

As to The Planets, Steinberg's reading has rightly become a classic. His fast tempos and thrilling rhythmic grip approach the composer's own, but of course they make a much greater impact than Holst's thanks to stereo sound. "Mars", in particular, has both menace and real physical excitement, while once again the playing of the Boston Symphony combines poetry and polish with tremendous virtuosity. 

Sonically these performances always have sounded a bit bright on top and light in the bass, and the remastering hasn't changed that. Still, you won't find more powerful, pulse-pounding performances of either work anywhere, and having them together on a single CD offers excellent value. Now why not release Steinberg's equally excellent BSO Hindemith Mathis der Maler and Concert Music for Strings and Brass? [3/30/2001] --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

MP3 320 · 163 MB

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