STRAUSS Don Juan, Op. 20, Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28, Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24, Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier
Royal Concertgebouw Orch/Bernard Haitink, cond.
Philips Duo 442 281 (2 CDs) (B) (ADD) TT: 78:46 & 79:39

Here is another superlative budget-priced collection of performances by the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra, this one devoted to some of the best-known works of Richard Strauss conducted by Bernard Haitink, all very well recorded by Philips. A gem here is Haitink's 1973 Also sprach Zarathustra, which is among the top recordings ever made of this music. Ein Heldenleben, Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel are almost of this calibre; Death and Transfiguration perhaps a bit too understated for total effect. It is fortunate for the collector that Philips did not elect to include Haitink's Alpine Symphony, one of his few disappointing recordings both interpretively and sonically. The set also contains two suites of waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier recorded in 1960 with Eugen Jochum on the podium. 

(Nov. 1999)