Marek Janowski Conducts Strauss (2008)

Strauss

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Marek Janowski

Technically speaking, Eine Alpensinfonie (= An Alpine Symphony) is not a symphony. For after 1911, Richard Strauss rejected his original plan to write a four-movement symphony based on the theme of a Tragedy of an Artist, and instead sat down to write a one-movement symphonic poem. He concentrated on the part he had first designated as the opening movement of the symphony and in which he provided a programmatic description of “the Alps”. The first sketches were made in 1911; in 1913 the work existed in the form of a partichelo (= reduced score); and two years later, the full score was completed. Some scholars have interpreted the prolonged period of time spent by Strauss in the composition of the Alpine Symphony, with very little progress at times, as “an indication that he had exhausted his capacity to portray instrumental programme music” (Wagner). The work was lacking a “truly significant musical core thought”, which was apparent for instance from the enormously expanded length of the Alpensinfonie (not only is this Strauss’ last, but also his longest tone poem, with an average duration of about 60 minutes), as well as from its relinquishment of certain categories employed in other symphonic poems, such as humour, irony and persiflage.

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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

For more than 115 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The PSO, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck assumed the position of Music Director with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Heading the list of internationally recognized conductors to have led the PSO is Victor Herbert, Music Director between 1898 and 1904, who influenced the early development of the PSO. Preceding Herbert was Frederic Archer (1896-1899), the first Pittsburgh Orchestra Conductor. The Orchestra’s solidification as an American institution took place in the late 1930s under the direction of Maestro Otto Klemperer. Conductors prior to Klemperer were Emil Paur (1904-1910), Elias Breeskin (1926-1930) and Antonio Modarelli (1930-1937). From 1938 to 1948, under the dynamic directorship of Fritz Reiner, the Orchestra embarked on a new phase of its history, making its first international tour and its first commercial recording. The PSO’s standard of excellence was maintained and enhanced through the inspired leadership of William Steinberg during his quarter-century as Music Director between 1952 and 1976. André Previn (1976-1984) led the Orchestra to new heights through tours, recordings and television, including the PBS series, Previn and the Pittsburgh. Lorin Maazel began his relationship with the PSO in 1984 as Music Consultant but later served as a highly regarded Music Director from 1988-1996. As Music Director from 1997-2004, Mariss Jansons furthered the artistic growth of the orchestra, and upon his departure, the PSO created an innovative leadership model with Artistic Advisor Sir Andrew Davis, Principal Guest Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier and Endowed Guest Conductor Chair Marek Janowski. These three conductors formed the primary artistic leadership for the Orchestra until January 2007, when the PSO selected Honeck to take the reins at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In February 2012, Honeck agreed to extend his contract with the PSO through the 2019-2020 season.

Marek Janowski

Marek Janowski has been artistic director of the Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin (= RSB, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin) since 2002. Under his directorship between 1984 and 2000, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France rose to become the leading orchestra in France. During a number of years, he also put his personal stamp on the Gu?rzenich Orchester Köln (1986-1990), the Dresdner Philharmonie (2001-2003), the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (2000-2005), and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (2005-2012).

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Marek Janowski Conducts Strauss (2008)

Strauss

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Classics Today

Marek Janowski’s stirring performance of Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony gives the impression of a challenging and dangerous undertaking. The sound Janowski conjures from the Pittsburgh Symphony (especially the low brass) suggests the mountain’s craggy massiveness, while the instrumental detail allows us to revel in Strauss’ imaginative scoring. There’s energy aplenty in Janowski’s pacing–listen to the confident thrust of The Ascent. On the Glacier generates real tension, while the Summit basks in sunlit euphoria. Janowski whips up a terrific Storm and has the Pittsburgh strings soaring ecstatically in Sunset. Janowski leads a powerful performance of Strauss’ early tone poem Macbeth, again featuring exquisite orchestral playing by the Pittsburghers. The recording is demonstration-class, spacious with vivid detail and a rich, solid low-end. Highly recommended. Artistic Quality: 9/10, Sound Quality: 10/10

Victor Carr Jr.[read full review]

Marek Janowski Conducts Strauss (2008)

Strauss

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Producer: Job Maarse
Recording Engineer: Mark Donahue, Dirk Sobotka
Recording location: Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186339: Marek Janowski Conducts Strauss
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Tracks.
1.
Macbeth (Sinfonische Dichtung, Symphonic poem) Op. 23
Strauss
00:19:19   Select quality & channels above
2.
Nacht (Night)
Strauss
00:03:29   Select quality & channels above
3.
Sonnenaufgang (Sunrise)
Strauss
00:01:30   Select quality & channels above
4.
Der Anstieg (The ascent)
Strauss
00:02:26   Select quality & channels above
5.
Eintritt in den Wald (Entry into the forest)
Strauss
00:05:46   Select quality & channels above
6.
Am Wasserfall (At the waterfall)
Strauss
00:00:15   Select quality & channels above
7.
Erscheinung (A vision)
Strauss
00:00:45   Select quality & channels above
8.
Auf blumigen Wiesen (On flowering meadows)
Strauss
00:00:50   Select quality & channels above
9.
Auf der Alm (On the mountain pasture)
Strauss
00:02:03   Select quality & channels above
10.
Durch Dickicht und Gestruepp auf Irrwegen (Lost in thicket and undergrowth)
Strauss
00:01:21   Select quality & channels above
11.
Auf dem Gletscher (On the Glacier)
Strauss
00:01:03   Select quality & channels above
12.
Gefahrvolle Augenblick (Dangerous moments)
Strauss
00:01:21   Select quality & channels above
13.
Auf dem Gipfel (On the summit)
Strauss
00:04:21   Select quality & channels above
14.
Vision (Vision)
Strauss
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15.
Nebel steigen auf (Thr fog rises)
Strauss
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16.
Die Sonne verdustert sich allmahlich (The sun gradually becomes obscured)
Strauss
00:00:53   Select quality & channels above
17.
Elegie (Elegy)
Strauss
00:02:23   Select quality & channels above
18.
Stille vor dem Sturm (Calm before the storm)
Strauss
00:02:48   Select quality & channels above
19.
Gewitter und Sturm, Abstieg (Thunder and tempest, Descent)
Strauss
00:03:23   Select quality & channels above
20.
Sonnenuntergand (Sunset)
Strauss
00:02:22   Select quality & channels above
21.
Ausklang (Epilogue)
Strauss
00:06:16   Select quality & channels above
22.
Nacht (Night)
Strauss
00:02:03   Select quality & channels above

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