Richard Strauss - Complete Music for winds and brass vol. 2

Dave Payn

Active Member
In 1980, the Locke Brass Consort released what was then accepted as the 'complete' brass music of Richard Strauss. In 1988, 2 volumes of Strauss's wind and brass music were recorded for the Arts label as part of a larger project of recording Strauss's orchestral works. These were deleted a few years ago but have since found another distributor and highly welcome news that is!

Of the two volumes of wind and brass music, it is vol.2 that concerns the brass enthusiast. And since James Stobart's painstaking research which led to the Locke Brass recording, it's obvious that a few more Strauss brass 'curiosities' have been unearthed. Included on this recording (which didn't appear on the Locke's) are 'De Brandenburg Mars' Av 99 and a Militarischer Festmarsch AV 100, both of which were already written for orchestra or military band before being arranged for brass alone. Oddly enough, the 1936 Olympische Hymne which closed the Locke's recording doesn't make an appearance here, (unless it appears on vol. 1 which having quickly checked, I didn't see!)

The playing throughout is full bodied (the ensemble is made up of the brass sections of the Symphonieorchesters des Bayrischen Rundfunks, Munchner Orchester and other Munich orchestras) and there appears to be a considerable amount of 'doubling' of parts to get that 'full bodied sound' which occasionally causes the the odd moment of slightly sour intonation but not so that it distracts from the overall quality of the playing which is generally very good.

Of obvious interest to this listener was the famous Festmusk der Stadt Wien (again, lots of doubling) and whilst it benefits I feel from the extra layers of players from a sound point view and is generally very well played, (particularly the ending where quaver/two semiquavers sit alongside triplets), despite a tendency to indulge in what I feel is needless rubato, it just misses out on my top choice, that being the RAM Brass Soloists' rendition reviewed on these boards elsewhere.

There are also two versions of the Processional 'Feierlicher Einzug', one for brass alone and the other in an arrangement by Max Reger for organ and 'optional trombones and timpani' (which were deployed for this recording). Also, the short 'Fanfare' from the Festmusik sits along the complete work. However, this is a slightly different arrangement from the Geoffrey Emerson arrangement for the PJBE and the Eric Banks version for brass band.

If you don't mind the sound of woodwind, the Blaser Ensemble Amade take up the final four tracks of this CD, performing the Suite in B flat for 13 wind instruments (again, very well played)

The recording is also full bodied and clear (save the odd rumble when the organ plays one of its lower pedal notes!) and overall, is a bargain at £6.99, if you're a fan of Strauss's brass music. I picked this up from HMV in Oxford Street (under 'Strauss - chamber'!) but I dare say some stores will stock this online

Parade Marches 1 & 2
De Brandenburgsche marsch
Military Festival March (Imperial March)
Procession for the Arrival of the Knights of St John of Jersualem ('Feierlicher Einzug' - brass verison)
Processional for the Knights of St John of Jersualem ('Feierlicher Einzig' - organ, trombone and timpani version by Max Reger)
Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare
Fanfare for the Beginning of Music Week in Vienna
Vienna Fanfare
Festival Music for the City of Vienna (Festmusik der Stadt Wien)
Suite in B Flat for 13 Wind Instruments

ARTS label - catalogue no. 47396-2

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