Orchestra's ascendant Strauss slumps in a muddled recording
By David Patrick Stearns
Inquirer Classical Music Critic
This time, the journey to the summit of Strauss' Alpine Symphony is obscured by fog and slowed by mud - which shouldn't happen when the trail guide is the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The orchestra's 2008 performance of the Strauss tone poem was highly acclaimed when recorded live in Verizon Hall; some even pinpointed the Alpine Symphony as the moment when current chief conductor Charles Dutoit claimed the Philadelphia Orchestra as his own.
But though the lavishly scored piece is the flagship release in the orchestra's reentry into the recording market on high-profile websites - with 35-plus titles that include Shostakovich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, Beethoven symphonies led by Christoph Eschenbach, and distinguished guests such as Vladimir Jurowski and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - one could argue that it should never have been released.
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