Day 56 – Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra (CD 56)

In addition to some strange spellings and a few glaring omissions (both having to do with the album-replica CD sleeves), there’s also a fair bit of repetition going on with this Fritz Reiner box set.

Case in point: Today’s performance is a repeat – 55 days later! – of the first CD in this set.

See Day One.

Although I kind of like Also Sprach Zarathustra (admittedly more for its powerful use in the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey than as an actual piece of music), I A/B’d these two recordings and concluded three things:

1. The differences in these recordings isn’t that major, at least not enough to warrant a second one, and

2 I like the first one (from 1954) better than the one from 1962, regardless of the alleged improvements in technology for the second recording; despite a slight bit of noticeable tape hiss on the first recording (from 1954), it seems to have more punch,

3. There’s one track missing on the 1962 recording: Salome, Op. 54. That piece is found on the 1954 recording, but not on the 1962 recording.

There’s really not much more for me to write, other than this was recorded on April 30 and May 1, 1962. Maestro Reiner was in his 74th year. He would only live until November 15, 1963.

The Subjective Stuff

Recording quality: 4
Overall musicianship: 4
CD booklet notes: 2
CD “album cover” information: 2
How does this make me feel: 3.5

This probably would have rated more highly, except that I’d already heard it before in this box set, and preferred the first recording – which had historicity and slightly more powerful performances to its credit. The instruments seemed to be recorded better, and the overall sound had more sizzle, on the 1954 album.

Honestly, I see no reason for today’s recording to exist.

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