Sunday, August 12, 2007

Strauss on Sirius III: The Voyage Home

Listened to the 1994 Elektra from the Met with Hildegard Behrens and Deborah Voigt. Great singing from all the principals. Hopefully a DVD reissue of this isn't too far off.

I was looking at the booklet that came with the Böhm recording. There's a note in it in which he claims the cuts he uses were sanctioned by the composer. Not surprised that he claims this since it's the only possible justification for making cuts. It could be that Strauss said something to Böhm but it could also simply be Strauss's refusal to go to war over cuts being taken as a sanction. (I doubt he approved of the butchery that Die Frau ohne Schatten was/is subjected to and he did make that famous dry comment about a conductor forgetting to make a couple more cuts to Act III of Rosenkavalier - the concluding Trio and Duet.) Böhm also says that Strauss conducted the work with cuts in the last 20 years of his life. In the 30s Strauss suddenly decided that Elektra had too much fat and needed some trimming? In any case, he made no changes to the published score which for me is a definitive gesture. He didn't, so to me, the cuts still = bad.

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