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Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ()

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The really surprising thing about Simon Rattle's 2005 recording of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben with the Berlin Philharmonic is how much it resembles Herbert von Karajan's 1959 recording of the same work with the same orchestra. Not that Rattle's Heldenleben is actually in the same league as Karajan's in terms of orchestral execution -- the scrappy string playing and sloppy ensemble that mar Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic would never have been tolerated in Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic -- but Rattle's interpretation resembles Karajan's in terms of its single-minded concentration on its own gorgeous image. Because for all that Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic cannot match Karajan's in discipline, Rattle is nevertheless as fascinated by the sheer opulence of the world's most polished orchestra as Karajan had been. Time and again throughout the work, Rattle like Karajan before him pauses to admire the glorious noise his orchestra can make -- at the peak of the imperious fanfares at the peak of the opening... Hide synopsis

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