Steve Schwartz wrote:
>John Smyth asks:
>>Has anyone had a chance to hear "Joseph's Legende," with Sinopoli and the
>>Dresden? Besides opinions on the performance, I would also like opinions
>>about the recording and audience presence, as it was a live recording.
>Not with Sinopoli. I have the Kempe recording.
Kempe's is excerpts only, a composer-authorized set of "Symphonic
Fragments". I acquired relatively inexpensively the complete work on MHS
514788K, a performance by the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by
Hiroshi Wakasugi. It's a somewhat pallid performance; the work is not a
masterpiece by any means but Kempe's gives a better sense for its
possibilities than does this one.
Many years back Michael Tilson Thomas conducted excerpts [whether or not
the complete set of Fragments I cannot recall] at a BSO concert devoted to
the Ballets Russes legacy. The orchestral color and panache were awfully
impressive and MTT gave a high-voltage performance.
I wonder if anyone would care to confront the historical/political issues
that it raises and record the Strauss "Japanische Festmusik"? I have the
impression that the only recording of it has been the one conducted by the
composer in 1940, reissued on LP and CD. Vladimir Ashkenazy mentioned the
piece in an interview about his plans with the Czech Philharmonic, but that
was some time ago. Received opinion on this work is not very positive;
however even minor Strauss has usually something to commend it, and it
reads a lot better in score than its reputation suggests.
One could always couple it with the Britten "Sinfonia da Requiem".