Richard Strauss – 150th anniversary

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss. To mark this, I’ve transferred two acoustic recordings of great tone poems by Strauss.

The first is Henry Wood’s heavily abridged 1916 account of Till Eulenspiegel, the first ever recording of the work. It’s cut down to just two sides, losing approximately half of the music. This is a work that Wood conducted regularly at the Proms, yet this is, as far as I can determine, his only recording of any piece by Strauss.

Richard Strauss – Till’s Merry Pranks: or a Rogue’s Rondo
Henry J Wood and his Orchestra

R. Strauss – Till Eulenspiegel – Wood

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Columbia L 1067
Matrices 6766-3, 6786-2
Recorded 1916
Available from October 1916 to May 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.7rpm

The second recording is conducted by the composer himself. In 1922 Columbia recorded Don Juan with Strauss conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This was Strauss’s second recording of the work, more or less: a 1917 account for Grammophon had the first two sides conducted by George Szell, and the last two by Strauss. For the Columbia recording Strauss conducted the whole work, save for a minor cut of the 24 bars preceding figure L in the score. The rather small violin section is pushed to the limit in some of the prominent parts with a high tessitura.

Richard Strauss – Don Juan
London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Strauss

R. Strauss – Don Juan – LSO, Strauss

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Columbia L 1419-20
Matrices 75034-2, 75035-2, 75036-2, 75037-2
Recorded 18th January 1922
Available from April 1922 to February 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.0rpm

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