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Infodad.com, December 2012

Naxos’ amazing 52-CD compilation of all of the Strauss non-stage music was a labor of love when begun in 1987, and the boxed set of discs originally released on the Marco Polo label is a collection that any listener can live with for the rest of his or her life. There is just so much here, not only in familiar music but also in equally delightful works that are almost completely unknown…there are so many ways to search and enjoy this collection!

…this music is wonderful. Strauss was a master tunesmith, a superb craftsman, a fine orchestra leader and the undisputed king of a certain type of music that has brought tremendous joy and joie de vivre to millions of people—and shows no sign of losing popularity in the more-than-a-century since the composer’s death. Whenever a year ends and a new one begins, it makes sense to do our best to look ahead with hope that the future will be better than the past, that the uncertain events still to come will surpass our expectations and deliver pleasures yet unknown and yet unexperienced. That is precisely what Johann Strauss Jr.: The Complete Orchestral Edition delivers: voluminous pleasures of all types, beautifully constructed and presented in solid and often top-notch performances, a cornucopia—horn of plenty—of musical pleasure not to be found anywhere else. This is one CD set whose pleasures neither cloy nor diminish with time. © 2012 Infodad.com Read complete review



Giv Cornfield, Ph.D.
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, June 2011

By way of introduction, I could do no better than to quote from the booklet: The complete orchestral edition represents a milestone in recording history, presenting, for the first time ever, the enitire orchestral output of the “Waltz King”. Despite their supremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of the compositions have never before been commercially recorded, and have been painstakingly assembled from archives around the world. All performances featured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, the works are played in their original instrumentation as conceived by the ‘master orchestrator’ himself, Johann Strauss II.

Indeed!

There are 479 Opus numbers in the collection, plus some fifty other pieces. This monumental project—brainchild of Naxos CEO Klaus Heymann—began years ago and has now finally come to fruition. It represents close collaboration with well over a dozen major music archives all over the world, and is certainly a recording industry first. A detailed history of the process is to be found in the catalogue—the equivalent of a Master Thesis—including, along with pertinent information, quotes, occasions and dates of composition for each piece.

The ‘Waltz King’s’ thrice-familiar chestnuts are deeply ingrained in the music consciousness of even the most casually aware person. Yet I only heard a familiar tune until well into the ninth CD. (As I continued to explore, I was reminded of a statement made by my close friend Felix Burian—born and raised in Vienna—who said he believed that this composer was the greatest ever, greater than the “Three B’s” and even Mozart! Granted, he was not exactly immersed in that kind of music.).

Numerous orchestras and conductors were employed in recording the project. In most instances they are very successful, yet a few ensembles barely rise to the Sunday-in-the-Park level—which is a pity. But that is a minor cavil, which disappears in this veritable ocean of Straussiana.






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6:35:19 PM, 17 April 2014
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