Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra, Op 30; Don Quixote, Op 35

Reviewed on Thu 06 Dec, 2018

Sebastian Weigle secures a finely prepared, keenly purposeful and (above all) intensely musical account of Also sprach Zarathustra.

The sixth and final volume in this enjoyable series devoted to Richard Strauss's orchestral works pairs two impressive live performances from March 2018, excellently captured by the Hessischer Rundfunk microphones within the accommodating acoustic of Frankfurt's Alte Oper. Sebastian Weigle secures a finely prepared, keenly purposeful and (above all) intensely musical account of Also sprach Zarathustra, utterly devoid of flashy thrills and spills, and culminating in a powerfully affecting 'Nachtwandlerlied'. Don Quixote is even more rewarding, a reading of conspicuous insight, pleasing spontaneity and communicative zeal, the myriad details in Strauss's masterly canvas etched with clarity and poise, and boasting superbly articulate and personable contributions from the Frankfurt orchestra's principal cello Isang Enders (a young artist to watch) and principal viola Thomas Rössel. Indeed, the former's playing in the sunset epilogue (one of Strauss's most sublimely touching inspirations) distils a compassionate glow and devastating emotional clout that put me in mind of such distinguished forebears as Pierre Fournier, Paul Tortelier and Heinrich Schiff. Make no mistake, this is a very good disc indeed.
–Andrew Achenbach