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Victor Carr Jr, June 2010

…Wit again proves himself a master of the Strauss idiom as he brilliantly captures the sound and feel of the piece. The multiple melodic strands of the 23 strings sound clearly in this performance, and the composer’s deep emotion comes through convincingly. Still, as with Domestica’s love scene, the animated central section could do with a bit more thrust, which would draw a greater dramatic contrast…Nonetheless, both performances have their own pleasures, especially with Naxos’ richly detailed recording…providing such beguiling aural stimulation. Recommended.

Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, March 2010

The sound is quite good. There is a large orchestral soundstage with good delineation of individual instrumentalists without sounding excessively spotlighted. Bass is more than adequate in the Symphonia domestica. The high frequencies are a little laid back, giving a dark sound that suits this music well…these are good interpretations with solid functional sound. The CD represents great value, and in a less competitive field the performances would be more desirable…

John P McKelvey
American Record Guide, March 2010

…well played…Antoni Wit has made many fine recordings for Naxos…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Mike D. Brownell, February 2010

…Sinfonia and Metamorphosen are performed with the utmost attention to detail and with a keen ear for technical precision. Wit especially captures the humor and character in Sinfonia, guiding listeners along through a believable and entertaining musical depiction of the Strauss family…

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, January 2010

…another powerful disc of Strauss from Wit and his Weimar orchestra. For a Domestica of sheer delight I would turn elsewhere but an excellent Metamorphosen is more than compensation and at the price a Naxos disc well worth the purchasing.

Stephen Habington
La Scena Musicale, January 2010

The Staatskapelle Weimar and Antoni Wit achieved a major success for Naxos with their recording of Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. These performances are just as fine although this should not be so. The recording sessions took place in 2005 and 2007 and somehow the orchestra and conductor picked up seamlessly where they left off (at the midpoint of Symphonia domestica) to create an account to rival Rudolf Kempe’s from Dresden (EMI). The Staatskapelle deploys the precision and tonal weight of a traditional German orchestra. A superb rendering of Metamorphosen makes for a generous bonus. It provides a stark contrast with the main work, which becomes a sentimental recollection of the security and simplicity that the world wars destroyed. Highly recommended to collectors seeking fine Strauss on a budget.

David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, January 2010

Wit certainly celebrates its purely musical values… indeed , I don’t think I have ever heard so much detail coming from the middle range of the orchestra…More Strauss from this team, please.

Ivan March
Gramophone, January 2010

There’s detail in the Domestica as Antoni Wit continues his Strauss survey

Antoni Wit and his Weimar orchestra have already established their Strauss credentials with an outstanding disc of the Alpine Symphony (8.557811). This new coupling also has the advantage of the attractively warm acoustic of the Weimarhalle and, as before, Wit’s account of the Symphonia domestica is richly spacious to match the recording although in no way lacking in forward momentum. The vivid and often charming detail of the composer’s autobiographical narrative is affectionately observed but the narrative flow through the five movements is also splendidly maintained. Keith Anderson’s admirable descriptive notes provide an affectionate picture of the composer’s wife and her relationships with her husband and child, while the performance ensures that the series of motifs associated with the family interplay are illuminated with Strauss’s characteristically complex, richly coloured scoring. So the music can either be enjoyed as a descriptive symphonic poem or a five-movement symphony. In Wit’s hands the tender writing for the child’s “Wiegenlied” in the third section is especially touching, and the “Liebesszene” of the Adagio has all the Straussian erotic passion one could wish for. This is recalled in the finale when all the threads of the narrative are thrillingly joined together.

The Metamorpbosen too is well played, with much refinement of texture and no lack of feeling…

Gerald Fenech
Music & Vision, November 2009

Richard Strauss is enjoying something of a revival of late with several of his longer tone poems receiving extensive coverage in the music press as well as substantial new recordings being issued.
Naxos is definitely not the label to be left behind, and has recently issued this Symphonia Domestica as well as an interesting disc featuring three symphonic fragments (to be reviewed later in these pages).

Antoni Wit is not a conductor with which you would normally associate Richard Strauss but he turns out to be quite a pleasant surprise in every way with a Domestica that is extremely invigorating and interesting.

The opening Bewegt is judiciously done, rather in the manner of Rudolf Kempe with the ensuing development into the Scherzo and the Wiegenlied also extremely intriguing. The final two movements are the most substantial and Wit conducts them with great panache and authority, bringing the symphony to a boisterous conclusion rather à la Karajan.

Metamorphosen is another underrated work which deserves far greater currency than it usually receives. Wit’s version is bleak and introspective…this is a highly recommended issue for those who are looking for a good first introduction to these works.

Colin Anderson
International Record Review, November 2009

The work is an amazing example of R Strauss’s brilliance…an affectionate, warmly expressed performance that is not afraid to linger and express emotions…an enjoyable, well-prepared, hardworking version that is decently recorded.

Hugo Shirley, October 2009

The orchestra itself is very closely linked with Strauss—the composer was director of the opera there in the 1890s—and with their recording of the Alpensinfonie, also conducted by Antoni Wit, [8.557811]certainly gave their heavy-weight European competitors a run for their money.

This generous new coupling is perhaps even finer and Wit’s reading of the Symphonia Domestica in particular is praiseworthy for its seemingly effortless understanding of the Straussian idiom. The performance balances well the dichotomy between the formal and the pictorial and is suffused with a kind of benign humour and warmheartedness which helps to bring both the composer’s craftsmanship to the fore as well as the sentiments that inspired him to write the symphony in the first place. The Weimar orchestra’s playing is unobtrusively excellent; they avoid the trap of turning the score into a showpiece, while Wit paces the whole performance with great skill. The final minutes, for example, have rarely sounded so unindulgent—quite some achievement given Strauss’s hyperbolic enthusiasm here—and the compositional ingenuity of the finale as a whole is made to serve an overarching sense of narrative. The impression is of a story told with a humour and affection that is fully appropriate. There’s passion, too, in a beautiful account of the Adagio: listen, for example, to the immaculately paced build-up to the first climax, with the horns’ line spun out with a touching lyricism.

There’s a great deal of fine solo work with the winds, in particular, introducing their themes at the opening with wit and finesse, and the Weimar horns are on outstanding form. Granted, the massed strings might not have the sheen or bulk of some bands but their sound is appealing. Similarly, Naxos’s engineering is unobtrusively realistic and pleasing.

Of course, the strings have the limelight to themselves in the Metamorphosen. It’s a coupling that is apt and moving: these are both highly personal works but while the first brims with confidence and ebullience at the start of a new century, the second reflects on the catastrophic course that century took. As such, I found it difficult to listen to this disc in one sitting. The performance of Metamorphosen, however, is no less fine than that of Domestica, with the Weimar strings beautifully mellow and serene. Wit manages to pace the whole work skilfully, contrasting world-weariness against urgency but culminating in a moving resignation at the close. Once again, the sheer sound of the strings does not necessarily match, say, Karajan’s richly upholstered Berlin players but the result is a fine sense of musical integrity, emphasising the piece’s essential introspection. Strauss’s most personal, valedictory utterances are given to us, it seems, unmediated and with the utmost integrity…This release would be recommendable at any price, at budget price it’s an unmissable bargain.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2009

Following their critically acclaimed recording of the Alpine Symphony[8.557811], the Weimar orchestra and Antoni Wit now offer a warm and affectionate account of the Symphonia domestica. To point out that Strauss was once the conductor at Weimar would be stretching beyond belief that any influence still exists in the present orchestra, though on disc I have yet to hear any other that plays his music with such an instinctive quality. Their strings may not be as plush as the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonic, but if anything they possess a greater warmth, and that is a key ingredient in the Symphonia domestica, a loving picture of a day in the life of the Strauss family. The other major required element is clarity of texture, and Wit has obtained that in abundance. Weimar’s horn department is magnificent and possess that ability to blend perfectly, then quite thrillingly emerge with the most vibrant quality, while the woodwind are by turn silky-smooth or sparkling like diamonds. Wit’s tempos are unhurried and allow him to point to the myriad of details that the score contains, and then unleashes a veritable domestic storm in the finale before father Strauss calms his family, the ending as triumphant as you will ever hear. I cherish Kempe’s recording, and play Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony when I want to smile, but this has to be your library copy, as I doubt it will be surpassed. The Matamorphosen for 23 solo strings has been extremely fortunate on disc, and this very fulsome and gripping account makes a very generous coupling. The engineers play their part with high impact and vivid sound.

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