Strauss: Don Quixote; Don Juan; Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat

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LABELS: Sony Masterworks Heritage
WORKS: Don Quixote; Don Juan; Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat
PERFORMER: Abraham Skernick (viola), Pierre Fournier (cello), Myron Bloom (horn)Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell
CATALOGUE NO: MHK 63123 ADD 1961-62
Szell was Strauss the conductor’s natural heir in terms of vivid pacing, and this is still perhaps the most trenchantly articulated and texturally clear Don Quixote of all. There are times, though, when the work can take a more expansive approach – the same goes for Don Juan, all muscle and little heart – and the outstanding soloist on the disc is not Fournier, a slightly reticent knight of burnished countenance, but Cleveland first horn Myron Bloom, producing legato lines of mesmerising evenness in the First Horn Concerto. (Nostalgic presentation ignores those listeners who still need to know Don Quixote’s tale as Strauss so imaginatively retells it.) David Nice