24th November 2014
Katherine listens to Anna Netrebko's new recording of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs, with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin.
• Saving the best for last in the Richard Strauss anniversary 2014. The world’s most luxurious soprano, Anna Netrebko, sings Richard Strauss’ sumptuous Four Last Songs, accompanied by the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim. An irresistible, all-star combination.
• Netrebko is a phenomenon. The world’s best-selling active soprano and quite simply, the undisputed superstar – “la prima donna assoluta" (New York Post) – of opera today. Known equally for her poise, her sensuality and her voice’s unmistakable color, Strauss’s elegiac Four Last Songs are an exquisite vehicle for her expressive gifts: Netrebko’s first recording of these gorgeous, iconic songs.
• Barenboim: conductor, pianist, humanitarian - perhaps the world’s most complete living musician. A venerated interpreter of Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven and Bruckner, in many ways the music of Richard Strauss represents the apotheosis of Barenboim’s musical ethos. In 1954, the then 11 year-old Barenboim was introduced to his idol, conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. It was Furtwängler who conducted the world premiere of Strauss’ Four Last Songs in 1949
• The Staatskapelle Berlin, one of Germany’s oldest and most prestigious orchestras boasts a proud Strauss tradition including great performances and recording under the composer himself, as well as under great Straussians Felix Weingartner, Leo Blech, Erich Kleiber, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer, Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch, Joseph Keilberth, Ottmar Suitner and Daniel Barenboim.
• The Staatskapelle and Barenboim then interpret Ein Heldenleben, one of the most vivid and popular tone poems by Strauss, who himself was Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatskapelle a century ago.