Published on 04 June 2020

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Lan Shui built the Singapore Symphony Orchestra from a regional ensemble to a world-class once over 23 years at the helm, and this is his first recording with the group as conductor laureate. The three Richard Strauss works here are orchestral showpieces, and the orchestra yields to none in executing them. Berliners or Wieners might have a greater smoothness in places here, but against that is an unusually lively presentation that carries the sense of hearing the music anew. That's especially true in Macbeth, Op. 23, probably the least often heard among the Strauss tone poems. It lacks an instantly identifiable passage, but it's an action-packed work that reflects the events of Shakespeare's play, and Lan Shui keeps things moving along. The waltzes of the Der Rosenkavalier Suite have the right mix of energy and nostalgia, and the orchestra sustains the line through an unusually slow Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24. One excitedly awaits further developments from this still-rising ensemble as Hans Graf takes the reins.

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