Judd’s Alpine Symphony is Musicweb’s Record of the Month

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

I have a great enthusiasm for this, the last of Richard Strauss’ tone poems and have some dozen versions on my shelves. The latest addition to my collection was Jansons’ superb recording – his fourth – on the BR Klassik label, but in truth I could endorse at least half a dozen more as “best”, including those by Karajan, Kempe, Shipway, Mehta, Maazel and Thielemann. Now I may unhesitatingly add this super-bargain Alto release to that list, not least for the sumptuousness of the sound and the virtuosity of the youthful orchestra.

The sound quality is first-rate … Special praise is due to the twenty horns who play flawlessly and of which a band is atmospherically positioned for the “offstage” hunting passage. …

As if all this were not enough, the bonus of Mahler’s orphaned Adagio is riveting, beginning first in almost leisurely style but gradually generating a great and inexorable cumulative tension. The strings sing and the nine-note chord makes a chilling impact before the movement subsides into the poised delicacy of the coda, which unfolds beneath the unearthly beauty of the strings keening stratospherically on a high, floated C sharp – magical. …

[James Judd and the] 130 members of the EU Youth Orchestra play with razor-sharp precision and generate the most extraordinarily rich sonority, with plenty of sheen on the strings and a rich, deep bass line.

– Ralph Moore, Musicweb International

Available from Amazon US and UK, as well as iTunes.