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Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting: Richard Strauss In High Fidelity - Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra - Ein Heldenleben (Hybrid SACD) CD Track Listing

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting Richard Strauss In High Fidelity - Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra - Ein Heldenleben (Hybrid SACD) (1960)
Richard Strauss In High Fidelity - Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra - Ein Heldenleben (Hybrid SACD)\nChicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting\n2004 BMG Classics\n\nRCA Living Stereo LP Originally Released 1955 & 1960\nCD Edition Released March 9, 1993\nHybrid SACD Released September 14, 2004\n\n\nAmazon.com essential recording \nRCA Victor's 1954-vintage stereophony has scarcely aged, all to the better of these ageless performances, heard in their finest transfers yet. Fritz Reiner's Ein Heldenleben fuses drama, poetry, scrupulous balances, bracing rhythm, and purposeful detail into a cogent whole. Much the same holds true for Reiner's Zarathusatra from the same year. Yes, the organ is foully out-of-tune, and a few exposed tympani notes are similarly suspect. Some may prefer Reiner's less flashy, more internalized 1960 Zarathustra remake, although it doesn't quite make the sonic impact of its hallowed predecessor. May this disc never be deleted. --Jed Distler \n\nAmazon.com Editorial Review\nThis recording was the hi-fi demo disc of the 1950s. On CD, it still sounds pretty incredible; an achievement as remarkable technically as it is musically. And what playing! Fritz Reiner sadistically enjoyed driving his players to despair. There's a famous story about principal trumpeter Adolph (Bud) Herseth, who played his tricky little fanfare at the beginning of the second half of Zarathustra so perfectly so many times that even Reiner finally gave up. Most critics and Strauss lovers consider Reiner's performance of A Hero's Life to be the best ever committed to disc, and I'd be the last one to disagree. This is one of those recordings where everything just went right. --David Hurwitz \n\nAmazon.com Editorial Review\nEin Heldenleben can occasionally sound like 30 minutes of real music with a 15-minute violin concerto placed in its middle; it requires an interpreter with grip and a long view of the score to hold the piece together. Fritz Reiner was just that, and his 1954 account of Heldenleben is still on the top of the pile. It is a formidable reading--huge, massive, yet with an Old World expressiveness in the strings and gloriously transparent textures. Reiner's interpretation of Zarathustra, recorded at the same time, is equally impressive. Stunning is the only word to describe the remastering job RCA has done with the original recordings: the richness of sound is staggering for documents now more than 40 years old. --Ted Libbey \n\nAmazon.com Customer Review\nA timely celebration of a "double" 50-year anniversary., November 15, 2004 \nReviewer: Bob Zeidler (Charlton, MA United States)\nA half century ago, I was a junior in high school. We used to have these gatherings called "assemblies," where the principal would collect the entire student body in the auditorium (no excuses allowed!) for an event of more than passing importance. At this late date, I can only remember a small handful of them: the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, President Truman relieving General MacArthur of his command. Oh, and one where two fellows from Ampex came to our high school to give a little demonstration of something called "stereophonic sound," using, needless to say, an Ampex tape recorder. \n\nAnd the music for this demonstration? It was the brief opening prologue ("Sunrise") from Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," in this very same Reiner/Chicago Symphony Orchestra recording. This was a "sneak preview to end all sneak previews," inasmuch as the monophonic LP ("New Orthophonic," I believe it was called) hadn't even been released at that early date. And, needless to say, this impressionable teenager was suitably impressed. So much so that, in the years to come, I acquired three LPs of the performance: the original monophonic LP, then the Living Stereo LP a few years later, and eventually, when the stereo LP had seen its better days, the Dynagroove rerelease (something I'd just as soon forget). I never did go the reel-to-reel route, and, when CDs eventually made their appearance, I opted for other performances of these two Strauss works rather than the earlier conventional Living Stereo CD release. But I always did have fond memories of that particular reel-to-reel tape demonstration back in '54; it was a direct copy of the 30ips master tape, and not the 7.5ips "consumer" version that came out shortly thereafter. \n\nWith BMG now releasing half-century-old Living Stereo classics as hybrid SACDs (10 at present, with surely more on the way), it was easy for me to select this recording as one of the first to sample. I was more than pleasantly surprised; just listening to the "Also Sprach Zarathustra" prologue had the effect of turning the clock back 50 years; truly a trip down Memory Lane! \n\nIn a phrase, I wasn't disappointed. Even listening to the conventional CD layer, it was easy to get the sense that there I was again, listening to the 30ips master tape. Even with headphones, I heard no evidence of tape hiss; just beautifully balanced stereo sound with a tremendous sense of not only left-to-right spatial array but depth as well. (This is particularly evident in "The hero's battlefield" segment of "Ein Heldenleben," where the initial muted trumpet fanfares sound as if they are coming from well behind the orchestra.) Throughout both massive tone poems, the music is well-served by RCA's "minimalistic" microphoning, with just two mikes picking up the sound field, and every single instrumental voice (and there are many of them) can clearly be heard. (Sir Thomas Beecham, that evergreen source of bon mots, reserved one of his best for "Ein Heldenleben" when he wrote that "I once spent a couple of days in a train with a German friend. We amused ourselves by discovering how many notes we could take out of 'Ein Heldenleben' and leave the music essentially intact. By the time we finished we had taken out fifteen thousand.") \n\nAs for Reiner's interpretations, perhaps the simplest way of putting it is that there is no time in the last half century that I can recall when these two performances were NOT included in EVERY "essential recordings" discography (even when the sound quality was not as it is here, in the hybrid SACD release). Reiner had a way of not oversentimentalizing these two works, as if they had been the products of one of the world's greatest egos, which, in fact, they were: Strauss made no bones about himself being the hero of "Ein Heldenleben." Reiner keeps things moving along, lest they bog down for the empty rhetoric that they can often be in lesser hands. \n\nA century ago, when Strauss had been the most famous composer who was also a conductor and Gustav Mahler had been the most famous conductor who was also a composer, audiences couldn't get enough of the Strauss tone poems. (I think, in fact, that the record will show that Mahler conducted Strauss's tone poems more frequently than he did his own symphonies!) \n\nAnd a half-century ago, when I had been in my musical adolescence, so to speak, I too couldn't get enough of them. But they haven't worn all that well in the intervening years. Now, considerably older and modestly wiser, I can only take them in infrequent doses. (Perhaps I've simply taken Strauss at his word when he described himself as "a first-rate second-rate composer.") And, fortunately for this now-jaded me, these Reiner performances, long perfect in everything but sound quality, have arrived with, finally, sound quality that matches the performances. \n\nI have every expectation that future "essential recordings" discographies will continue to include these performances, now with this newly-refurbished sound quality that is the match of any. \n\n\nAmazon.com Customer Review\nSuperAudio shows off R. Strauss, Reiner, & Chicago, October 21, 2004 \nReviewer: Dan Fee "music fan aka drdanfee" (Berkeley, CA USA)\nThis master tape was originally made in 1954 in Symphony Hall in Chicago. RCA was experimenting with multichannel sound, in two or three channels, depending. This superaudio version encodes these master tapes directly into the new 24-bit digital format, sampling the signal and coding it digitally, over a million times per second. Both of these masterpieces for large orchestra get played to the nines, and then some, by the great Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony in one of their several golden periods. \n\nIn his era, Reiner may have never gotten his full musical credit. He was often regarded as very, very good; but too much of a standardized middle-of-the-road interpreter. Hearing these again and again over the following years, almost everybody began to realize what a true master he was, especially in repertoire that he found most congenial. His Richard Strauss tone poems are tops. The orchestra is brilliant and warm and solid in every department. The master tape captures it all, and Reiner's tempos and pacing are so exactly suited to both immediate passages and an overall conception of each work that you don't notice them at all. You are left drinking in the music. Just watch those calories. \n\nIt is only when you hear other, poorer performances that you remember that Richard Strauss was generally regarded as a genius who wrote second-tier music. He even thought he was a little below the absolute highest among the composers. Strauss himself once said that his music should be able to describe a room exactly, down to the silverware on the linen table cloth. Reiner gives his Richard Strauss the sort of attention that brushes away all the kitch, and incisively brings this late Romantic-era descriptive music to life as if there were nothing to it. \n\nYou will probably be using this disc to show off your new SACD system, if you have one. You will also be getting one of the greatest recordings ever made of these particular tone poems. What's not to like? Highly, highly recommended for both sound and for incredible performance.
This classical cd contains 15 tracks and runs 75min 42sec.
Freedb: e211bc0f

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  1. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 1. Sunrise (01:34)
  2. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 2. Of the people of the unseen world (03:10)
  3. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 3. Of the great longing (01:44)
  4. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 4. Of joys and passions (01:50)
  5. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 5. Dirge (02:15)
  6. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 6. Of science (04:00)
  7. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 7. The convalescent (05:00)
  8. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 8. Dance Song and Night Song (07:36)
  9. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op.30 - 9. Night Wanderer's Song (04:48)
  10. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 1. The hero (04:18)
  11. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 2. The hero's adversaries (03:04)
  12. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 3. The hero's companion (11:57)
  13. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 4. The hero's battlefield (08:45)
  14. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 5. The hero's works of peace (04:39)
  15. Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner Conducting - Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 - 6. The hero's retreat from the world and fulfillment (10:54)


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