Maazel: Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra (FLAC)
Maazel: Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra (FLAC)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 349 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Einleitung
02. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Von den Hinterweltlern
03. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Von der groen Sehnsucht
04. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Von den Freuden und Leidenschaften
05. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Das Grablied
06. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Von der Wissenschaft
07. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Der Genesende
08. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Das Tanzlied
09. Also sprach Zarathustra op. 30 – Nachtwandlerfest
10. Sinfonia domestica op. 53 – Thema I. Bewegt – Thema II. Sehr lebhaft – Th. III. Ruhig
11. Sinfonia domestica op. 53 – Scherzo. Munter
12. Sinfonia domestica op. 53 – Wiegenlied: Mig langsam
13. Sinfonia domestica op. 53 – Adagio. Langsam
14. Sinfonia domestica op. 53 – Finale. Sehr

Superb – the best of Maazel in revitalised sound

The original 1983 issue should be avoided; the one to go for is this 1995 re-mastering on DG Masters, which removed the glassy, shrill overlay so common to the earliest of DG’s attempts to conquer the challenges of the CD format. The sound here is excellent and virtually indistinguishable in quality in both works despite the “Sinfonia domestica” being live.

Strauss nuts will own many versions of these two great, digital era orchestral staples and there is indeed a plethora of highly recommendable recordings of both. For “Also Sprach”, I am loath to choose between Previn on Teldec, Ormandy on RCA/Sony and Maazel once more on BMG in 1995 with the Bayerischer Rundfunk but this one is every bit as compelling, both sonically and artistically. For the “Sinfonia”, I enjoy many recordings going back to the vintage classic mono recording from 1956 by Konwitschny, Szell with the Cleveland in 1964, Mehta with the VPO and of course Karajan’s stupendous 1973 account with the BPO – but again, this one matches them, and the combination of the two works on one CD makes a very attractive proposition.

Maazel has had a chequered critical and public reception over the years but his best recordings are gems and often his strongest suit has been in Richard Strauss; these are two of his finest. They are materially enhanced and advantaged by the terrific playing of the VPO, whose warmth and depth of sound are especially striking in works so suited to their strengths. Maazel’s sense of pacing and his ability – alongside seismic sensitivity to balance on the part of the engineers – to keep individual instrumental strands discrete rather than allowing them to create a mush of sound. He gets everything right from the grandeur of “Also Sprach” to the wit and charm and tenderness of the “Sinfonia” before the joyous explosion of Finale.


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