53,454 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Eine Alpensinfonie [51:45]
Tod und Verklärung [24:06]
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
rec. 2017, Oslo Concert Hall

There is no shortage of recommendable recordings of both the seminal Strauss works here, so any new one has to be good. I am a confirmed admirer of Vasily Petrenko and there is no doubt that the Oslo Philharmonic is a very fine orchestra: smooth, sonorous and virtuosic…and it is in that first epithet wherein lies the rub: the playing here is so elegant and accomplished that I miss the elemental edge and grit required to give this most programmatic of works extra impact. Karajan could with justification be accused of “smoothification” but his famous, pioneering digital recording has considerably more rhythmic bite and tautness of phrasing than Petrenko engineers here. The playing is flawless, the control absolute and the recorded sound superb but it is not as exciting as the best. Climactic moments such as the arrival at the summit and the depiction of the panorama lack something of the impact of favourite versions by Jurowski (review), Jansons (review), Shipway (review), even Judd with the European Union Youth Orchestra (review), and the aforementioned Karajan.

Having said that, I would not want to damn this with faint praise; it contains passages of grandeur and splendour, such as the conclusion of the “Vision” section, Petrenko’s ability to conjure up the sublime mystery of the mountain and the prominence of the organ in the closing tracks are all particularly striking, especially as the digital sound is so vivid. Furthermore, it is coupled with a really splendid account of the showpiece Tod und Verklärung. Again, there is no lack of options when it comes to choosing a recording, but this one is a contender. Petrenko successfully captures the brooding anticipation of the slow opening section and when the thwacking drumbeat five exactly minutes in ushers in a new urgency, he first provides all the grim intensity the score demands, then caresses the melting lyricism of the middle section before cranking up the tension once more for the gripping apotheosis.

Not, then, an absolute first choice recording but one which will hardly disappoint and offers the audiophile the advantage of finest sound.

Ralph Moore

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger