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Various: Comedy/ Tragedy


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Richard Strauss is best known for his large-scale orchestral music, and for operatic and vocal works, but he wrote a large amount of chamber music including works for wind-instrument ensemble. This outstanding collection of Richard Strauss' works for wind instruments spans the whole of his creative career. The Serenade in E flat and Suite in B flat, both for thirteen wind instruments, were written in his late teens, and are full of the joy and vigour of youth. The Serenade is Mozartian in derivation, yet hints at the romantic melodies and the lush Straussian textures to come. The more ambitious Suite is heavily influenced by Brahms, with a tender Romanze, and a finale which ends in a full-bodied fugue. His three major works for wind instruments were composed after a gap of sixty years. The Sonatina No.1 in F and the Symphony for Wind Instruments in E flat (also called Sonatina No.2) are rich in invention, featuring the melody and texture of his maturity, yet somehow retaining the freshness of his early writing. The delightful Oboe Concerto has a lovely, warm lyrical theme, and a spirited finale. The classic performances of these works featured here were recorded in the early seventies, and most are given by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, conducted by the distinguished Dutch conductor Edo de Waart. The Oboe Concerto is performed by the celebrated Swiss oboist Heinz Holliger, with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, also under Edo de Waart.


'Edo de Waart and this team of youthful Netherlanders manage to secure the utmost clarity and delicacy in performance. Tonal nuance, phrasing, ensemble and balance alike are excellent, and the recording engineers have achieved forwardness and richness of tone without excessive weight...the performance is superlative: altogether, this is an outstanding issue.' Gramophone
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