Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Tod und Verklärung

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: Ein Heldenleben; Tod und Verklärung
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: 439 039-2 DDD (1986/83)
It’s amazing how quickly a recording can be overtaken by technology these days. Karajan’s last Berlin Heldenleben, recorded in 1985, apparently needed refurbishing for the ‘Karajan Gold’ edition by means of something called ‘Original Image Bit Processing’. The result is undeniably impressive, with a direct, exciting sound entirely appropriate to this orchestral showpiece. The performance is predictably authoritative, but I have heard more sharply characterised ‘critics’ and there are a number of rough edges (not least in the rather too hectoring violin solos) that might well have been ironed out earlier in Karajan’s recording career. There are fewer problems with Tod und Verklärung, though it is on the slow side. Stephen Maddock