Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Intermezzo: Four Symphony Interludes (CD)

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Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, under their Chief Conductor Sir Andrew Davis, presents the second volume in their live series of Richard Strauss’ orchestral works.

The inspiration for Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) – completed at the turn of the twentieth century – was one of the most groundbreaking works ever written: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. Largely agreed to be autobiographical – despite Strauss’ protestations to the contrary – it depicts various aspects of what Strauss called an ‘ideal of great and manly heroism’. Musically, it was the most ambitious work Strauss had written to date, and features a large orchestra and virtuosic violin solo, played here by the MSO’s concertmaster Dale Barltrop.

On this album, Ein Heldenleben is prefaced by the Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo, Strauss’ opera based around incidents in the life of himself and his wife.


Recorded live in Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 2015


Praise for Volume I of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Strauss cycle:

“One of the finest Also sprach Zarathustras on disc” – BBC Music Magazine
“A beautifully modulated, sensitively and sensuously soaring interpretation of the Four Last Songs” – Gramophone Magazine
This live recording from Melbourne is sumptuous … A remarkable disc” – The Arts Desk

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Intermezzo, Op. 72: Four Symphonic Interludes
1 I. Reisefieber und Walzerszene (Travel Fever and Waltz Scene)
2 II. Träumerei am Kamin (Dreaming by the Fireside)
3 III. Am Spieltisch (At the Card Table)
4 IV. Fröhlicher Beschluss (Happy Ending)

Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), Op. 40
5 I. Der Held (The Hero)
6 II. Des Helden Widersacher (The Hero’s enemies)
7 III. Des Helden Gefährtin (The Hero’s companion)
8 IV. Des Helden Walstatt (The Hero’s deeds of war)
9 V. Des Helden Friedenswerke (The Hero’s works of peace)
10 VI. Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung (The Hero’s retirement from the world)

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Dale Bartrop concertmaster
Sir Andrew Davis conductor