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Richard Strauss: Rosenkavalier Waltzes, Burleske, Capriccio Sextet.

Richard Strauss: Rosenkavalier Waltzes; Burleske; Capriccio Sextet. Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano; Herbert Blomstedt, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. Decca B0004645-02.

I'm not sure we needed another recording of the Rosenkavalier Waltzes, but here we get two of them. Strauss was not too keen on arranging a suite of waltzes from the opera himself, yet he was never too happy with the suite arranged by Otto Singer and others, either. In 1944, with apparently nothing else to do, he finally got around to putting together a sequence of waltzes from Acts 1 and 2, along with some new connecting material to make the whole thing hang together better. Herbert Blomstedt conducts both this suite and the anonymous one of tunes from Act 3, along with two couplings, the Burleskefor Piano and Orchestra, with Jean-Yves Tibaudet as soloist, and the Sextet that opens the opera Capriccio. Blomstedt's knowledge and direction of Strauss are beyond reproach.

The waltzes owe a lot to those other Strausses, the waltz family Strausses, but, of course, they are pure Richard Strauss, too, with sweet, felicitous touches of Til Eulenspiegel and Ein Heldenleben along the way. The Sextet is wonderfully serene and beautifully performed. And the Burleske is surprisingly Romantic, or perhaps not so surprising considering it was originally written when Strauss was only twenty-one years old (and revised a few years later).

The sound is typical of Decca in that it is very robust, strong in the bass, and a touch hard in the upper frequencies. Oddly, while the Burleske was recorded quite recently (2004), the other pieces were recorded almost a decade earlier (1996). I wonder how much other good stuff these record companies have lying around unopened in their vaults?
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Author:Puccio, John
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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