Strauss: Ein Heldenleben & Rosenkavalier – Suite

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“What Ein Heldenleben needs is not only a first-class orchestra but also a conductor with a clear sense of the work’s underlying structure, a conductor, moreover, who is able to maintain the tension and respond quickly and consistently to the work’s countless details.This is certainly how Andris Nelsons sees his task, a task which he realises magnificently in this, his second ORFEO recording with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra and its music director allow the orchestral colours to gleam, and ensure that the individual sections which make up the score flow smoothly, sweeping the listener along with them. This reading of Ein Heldenleben has such stringency and rigour that many of the aesthetic objections to the work merely add to our pleasure at individual details, while never calling into question the piece’s overall design. The fact that Nelsons is also a master of the art of transition in the music theatre and can achieve this on the concert platform, too, is clear from his recording of the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier …” (Presto Classical)