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Strauss: An Alpine Symphony Saito Kinen Orchestra/ Harding DECCA 32/40

May 16, 2014

Saito Kinen Orchestra is the Japanese equivalent of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, an international group of outstanding orchestral musicians that convenes every summer to tour and give concerts at the festival in the Japanese Alps after which it is named. This sumptuous account of Strauss's most grandiloquent orchestral score, conducted by Daniel Harding, was recorded live at that festival in August 2012. While the string tone could use a bit more depth and sheen, the playing - especially the solo contributions from the woodwind and brass - is exceptional. Harding paces the huge structure with great care, too; it is obvious from the measured way that he builds up the opening section that his view of the work is going to be less about pictorial impressions and more about presenting an authentic symphonic argument. That's not to say that his performance lacks in grandeur or sonic impact, just that those elements are simply parts of something much more wide-ranging and inclusive.

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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