Symphony No. 2 in F minor, Op. 12 (TrV 126)
- Romance for cello & orchestra in F major, o.Op. 75 (TrV 118, AV 75) (10:21)
Songs (6) for voice & piano (or orchestra) ("Brentano Lieder"), Op. 68 (TrV 235)
auto-inserted 09-17-2014 15:56:46
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Those who know Richard Strauss' tone poems but little else may encounter a few surprises on this 2004 compilation from Chandos Classics. Two of the selections are early works that show the young Strauss dutifully working toward symphonic mastery through classical forms; and the third reveals him as a mature, sensitive creator of orchestral art songs. If the "Symphony No. 2 in F minor" seems more Brahmsian than Wagnerian, then this is due to the constraints imposed by the composer's father. Strauss eventually shed the conservative influences that preoccupied him in this sophomore effort, but the symphony's expansiveness and solid orchestration point to the craftsmanship and professionalism that sustained Strauss until he found his true voice. The "Romanze in F major" for cello and orchestra is mild in its mid-nineteenth century Romanticism and would seem insipid except for cellist Raphael Wallfisch's passionate playing. In dramatic contrast, the "Six Songs" are fully realized and deeply impressive settings of texts by Clemens von Brentano. Soprano Eileen Hulse convincingly portrays their moods of heartbreaking tenderness and fragile hope, and Neeme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra supply a warmly shaded accompaniment, their best performance on this disc. The recording is fine, except for some muddied textures in the symphony.