Strauss: Don Juan; Till Eulenspiegel; Death and Transfiguration; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Dorati)

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2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Strauss
LABELS: Mercury Living Presence
WORKS: Don Juan; Till Eulenspiegel; Death and Transfiguration; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (arr. Dorati)
PERFORMER: Minneapolis SO/Antal Dorati
CATALOGUE NO: 434 348-2 ADD (1958/55)
This disc is unfortunately a bit of a dud among the CD reissues of Mercury’s usually superlative back catalogue. Moreover, it is the sound, the element that is elsewhere so remarkably good, that is the biggest drawback. Don Juan, recorded in 1958, should almost come with a government health warning – there are passages where the astringency of the trumpets could cause ear-drum damage if the volume and treble aren’t turned down to otherwise unnatural levels. The performances match this aural raucousness: the Minneapolis orchestra is no Boston or Chicago and even Dorati seems unsettled in these unrefined surroundings. Only the Rosenkavalier suite offers some joy, in Dorati’s own arrangement, combining the waltz music with orchestral versions of all the vocal purple passages – though he destroys the final trio by returning to the waltzes and adding an inappropriate coda of his own. Matthew Rye

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