Shui Offers Fine Strauss

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 9

This is a very enjoyable disc, even though you might have favorite versions of most of this music. Lan Shui has the Singapore Symphony on excellent form throughout. Macbeth is exciting and impulsive–I’ve always like the piece and thought it better than its reputation would suggest. The music is all action, with none of the philosophizing that sometimes spoils Strauss’ later tone poems, and Shui proves very responsive to the music’s physicality. The only qualm I have is that at the big climax the tam-tam remains struck with what sounds like a triangle beater, rather than the bass drum mallet that Strauss demands. This dampens the thrill a tad–compare this to Järvi if you want the full package.

The Suite from Der Rosenkavalier goes swimmingly: it’s warm, charming, but not too sticky, and Shui plays the waltz music with only enough rubato to give the music character. Does anyone program this piece in concert anymore? It would make a refreshing change of pace. In Death and Transfiguration, Shui can’t compare with the last Karajan recording for sheer sumptuousness of sonority, but with clear textures in the “death struggle” music, and a glowing final climax, this interpretation works very well. The BIS engineers provide sonics that flatter the orchestra, and the orchestration. I wouldn’t call this release essential, but it’s certainly a keeper.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Macbeth: Järvi (Chandos); Death: Karajan (DG)

    Macbeth; Suite from Der Rosenkavalier; Death and Transfiguration
  • BIS - 2342
  • SACD

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