Strauss: Feierlicher Einzug; Wandrers Sturmlied; Festliches Präludium; Olympische Hymne; Taillefer

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Strauss
LABELS: Arte Nova
WORKS: Feierlicher Einzug; Wandrers Sturmlied; Festliches Präludium; Olympische Hymne; Taillefer
PERFORMER: Elisabeth-Maria Wachutka (soprano), Gerhard Siegel (tenor), Hans-Peter Scheidegger (baritone); Munich Motet Choir, Munich SO/Hayko Siemens
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 72107 2
This is Strauss at his most monumental, or most overblown, according to taste, and all these works need performances of complete conviction to carry us along against our better judgement. It’s a shame that these versions, recorded live at the Olympic Winter Sports Centre in Garmisch, tend towards the careful in playing, singing and recording. In the Wandrers Sturmlied there isn’t enough contrast between the storm itself and the calm which follows, so the music seems to sit down and go nowhere. The Olympic Hymn (which opened the 1936 Games in Berlin) needs a huge body of singers to stand any chance of coming off. And there are too many instances of scrappy playing in the orchestra: some of the high string-writing in the Festliches Präludium is very scratchy, and ensemble often goes awry in faster passages. Taillefer also suffers in this respect: it’s really a tone poem with some vocal contributions, and needs the same sort of crack orchestral playing as you’d expect in Don Juan or Heldenleben (as well as a baritone who isn’t quite so stretched). A pity: I was looking to enjoy this, but it just isn’t up to the mark. Martin Cotton

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