Vienna - Reiner
Living Stereo 82876716152
Classical - Orchestral
Johann Strauss Jr., Josef Strauss, Richard Strauss, von Weber
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
- Johann Strauss II: An der schönen blauen Donau (The beautiful blue Danube), Op. 314
- Johann Strauss II: Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltz), Op. 437
- Johann Strauss II: Morgenblätter (Morning Papers), Op. 279
- Johann Strauss II: Rosen aus dem Süden (Roses from the South), Op. 388
- Johann Strauss II: Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning) Polka schnell, Op. 324
- Johann Strauss II: Wiener Blut (Vienna Blood), Op. 354
- Josef Strauss: Dorfschwalben aus Österreich (Village Swallows from Austria), Op. 164
- Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - 2nd Waltz sequence, TrV 227a
- Carl Maria von Weber: Aufforderung zum Tanze (Invitation to the Dance), J. 260 Op. 65
Review by Graham Williams - May 12, 2006
In late 1985 RCA issued a CD of Fritz Reiner and the Chicago SO playing the music of members of the Strauss family (Johann II and Josef). When it was later re-issued in the Living Stereo series as ‘Vienna’ two of the best performances, ‘Künstlerleben’ and ‘Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb’und Lust’ had been replaced by Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and a waltz pot-pourri from Der Rosenkavalier by the Bavarian Strauss.
The latter is in an unsatisfactory piecemeal arrangement by Reiner that sounds cobbled together. After two brief jarring sections from the Prelude we hear the Ochs waltz from Act 2 then go back to the breakfast scene music in Act 1 and finally some of the Act 3 waltzes all dispatched in 8m 41s!
The Weber, however, is performed with much charm and affection in the slow opening section (lovely cello solo) and great élan later on.
The Viennese Strauss family items are affectionately played and not, as might have been expected, too hard driven. They do, however, lack some of the subtle rubato, lilt, and inflections of say the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under a natural (J) Strauss conductor. It is almost as if Reiner was trying to recall the readings he heard in his youth in the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but in spite of wonderful playing from the Chicago SO, failing quite to recreate them.
Nevertheless, these are consistently enjoyable performances captured with amazing fidelity on SACD in the 3-channel sound, and a huge improvement on the RBCD.
The best items are a relaxed Village Swallows and Thunder and Lightning, in which the bass drum thwacks really bring to life the acoustic of symphony hall Chicago in 1960.
If this collection appeals then you will not be disappointed.
Recommended with reservations.
Copyright © 2006 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net