Strauss: Preludes and Intermezzos from Guntram, Feuersnot, Arabella, Capriccio,

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Strauss
LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Preludes and Intermezzos from Guntram, Feuersnot, Arabella, Capriccio,
PERFORMER: Munich CO, Bamberg SO/Karl Anton Rickenbacher
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6520-2
The admirable Rickenbacher is fast running out of Straussian miscellanea to record, and as a disc of orchestral music from the operas, this can’t quite compare with Jeffrey Tate’s much-underrated EMI selection (long unavailable). That had the advantage of the greatest interlude of them all, the portrait of the composer’s wife from Intermezzo, which Rickenbacher included earlier in this ‘Unknown Richard Strauss’ series. Vol. 12 offers an attractive and well-balanced programme. The conductor is at his magisterial best shaping and rounding the Guntram Prelude as it moves from Lohengrin seraphics to vintage Strauss, and giving the superb Bamberg first horn free rein in Capriccio’s Moonlight Music, though love and sex as represented by Feuersnot and Arabella are a little tamely projected.

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‘Unknown’ here applies only to the second and jauntier of the Guntram excerpts, the ‘ballet of the sylphs’, which was one of Strauss’s last contributions to the long-term Bourgeois gentilhomme question, and the Intermezzo from his bizarre attempt to rehabilitate Mozart’s Idomeneo in 1930; Strauss’s own stark unisons and restless chromaticism give way to meditation on the hero’s often-omitted aria ‘Torna la pace’. The whole Idomeneo project, of course, is the last major Strauss uncharted on CD, and Koch Schwann should let Rickenbacher loose on it. David Nice