About Richard Strauss, Don Quichote and a Dragonfly








Although I knew of the existence of Audioquest's Dragonfly, I did only buy this small D-A converter a couple of months ago and have enjoyed the working of it greatly ever since. While working on my pc I can listen to the radio (news, discussions, and music) and YouTube of course. A friend of mine has the same Dragonfly 1.2 and he has two Spotify accounts. Why not!

I listen to my audio system with turntable and Dragonfly if the talking or the music do not distract me too much.

Now I have this recording of Lorne Munroe (cellist) and William Lincer (violist) with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote from 1972, Columbia M 30067. The design of the cover is by Tony Lane. The cover art is by Zevi Blum.

This recording has always been one of my favorite performances of Don Quixote, next to the Fournier-Karajan-Deutsche Grammophon disc SLPM 139 009 of which I have the later issue on 2535 195 also. Just for comparison.

I mostly play Side Two that starts with the loud and nervous orchestral sound of Variation IV, indicated by Strauss as "Somewhat broader - Unhappy adventure with a procession of pilgrims" (Etwas breiter - Unglückliches Abenteuer mit einer Prozession von Büßern"). After this short Variation, the cello comes in, portraying Sancho Panza who is sleeping and there is the appearing vision of Dulcinea.

I checked YouTube for performances of Don Quichote. (I even checked for Michel Legrand's music for the BBC series.) I struck on the live performance of cellist Pablo Ferrández with Russell Davies conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia. The viola is played by Francisco Regozo. The work was performed in the Palacio de la Ópera de A Coruńa.

I started with "Side Two" of course, at 22 minutes. This really is a breathtaking and moving performance. Davies is an excellent conductor. And the young Pablo Ferrández knows exactly how to reveal the various moods in this fantastic and modern work (modern because it lets us hear a pre-echo of Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra at 23 minutes into the video). And how well is the finale, the farewell to life and dreams, portrayed by cellist, orchestra and conductor. The audience was mesmerized. And you will be too, I suspect.

This is the link:

Or just type:

ferrandez strauss

That's all.

I wish you good listening.

April 12, 2015

Audio&Music Bulletin - Rudolf A. Bruil, Editor - Copyright 1998-2015 by Rudolf A. Bruil and co-authors