Strauss: Ein Heldenleben; Rosenkavalier Suite, City of Birmingham SO, Nelsons | CD review


Though I've heard a good deal of Andris Nelsons before and since he became the CBSO's music director in 2008, his Richard Strauss is quite new to me. I've certainly been missing something: these performances of Ein Heldenleben and the Rosenkavalier Suite, taken from concerts in Symphony Hall, Birmingham last year, stand comparison with almost any versions already in the catalogue. The sound is wonderfully clear and detailed and the playing sumptuous, and Nelsons quite obviously revels in the sentimental excesses of both works. His approach to the swagger of Heldenleben makes no apologies; Strauss's autobiographical indulgences are depicted as vividly as anyone could want, while the quieter episodes have real tenderness and delicacy. Even the jump-cut construction of the Rosenkavalier Suite seems less distracting than usual, and the CBSO clearly relishes the opportunities both works give them to demonstrate their world-class qualities.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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