Strauss Joseph's Legende M-CH SACD

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Featured in Kalman Rubinson's Music in the Round in the January 2008 issue of Stereophile!

Following their performances in Paris in 1909, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes had become the talk of the artistic world. After attending one of their performances in Berlin in 1912, Richard Strauss and his librettist Hugo van Hoffmansthal were inspired to create a ballet based on the old testament figure of the young Joseph and his attempted seduction by Potifar's wife. Hoffmansthal sold his idea to Diaghilev and Strauss delivered his massive score in Berlin in February 1914. Hoffmansthal had envisioned a mythological, spiritual drama, based on the Bible and filled with abstraction and mystery. But Strauss, notoriously repelled by anything religious, found himself less and less comfortable with this concept the more he composed. So he jettisoned most of the mythical and archaic content, and the result is a highly practical work, which can be understood on its own terms because of the power of the music and the visual language of the dance. For his Josephslegend, Strauss called on an orchestra which was gigantic even by his own standards; particularly noteworthy is the presence of a contrabass clarinet.

"A stupendous piece of music-making that manages to combine emotional extremism with sharply focused orchestral detail throughout. Phenomenally engineered, beautiful, savage and very, very erotic, it's one of Fischer's finest achievements, and sets new interpretative standards for the work itself." - The Guardian (UK)

• 5.0 Surround Sound

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer, conductor

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Josephs Legende, Opus 63 (1914)

Total Time: 64:30

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