Notes & Reviews:
During a guest performance in Berlin in 1913, Richard Strauss saw Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and was so delighted by them that he declared his readiness to compose the ballet pantomime Joseph's Legende (Joseph's Legend) for this extraordinary ensemble. The librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal had also become acquainted with the Ballets Russes as "the practically unlimited pleasure of pure sensuous joy." The story of the Joseph legend was not new territory for Strauss inasmuch as the Bible and the Orient had previously supplied him with material for his Salome. Moreover, the subject matter offered yet one more variation on an old Strauss theme: love between an older woman and a youth. Potiphars wife belongs to the magnificently sultry world of wealth and power and feels sexual desire for an unspoiled shepherd boy, a dancer and a dreamer, who "has not yet been together with a woman." To depict the sumptuous sound world of the Orient, Strauss exploits all the resources the late-romantic orchestra has to offer. Instead of producing a mixed sound, however, he relies on harsh contours. This is music full of clarity, mental acuity, and immediacy of expression.
American Record Guide, November/December 2014
Solyom believes Joseph to be a work of stature and takes the pains to bring its beauties to the fore. In the skill with which he builds up the last few minutes - one of Strauss's most lease-breaking finales - to a huge climax, he goes to the top of my list of interpreters, sharing the crown with Fischer. The sound is resonant, capturing much of the immense detail of the score.
Recording information: CCN Weimarhalle (06/03/2012-06/04/2012).
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Works DetailsStrauss, Richard : Josephslegende, Op. 63
- Conductor: Stefan Solyom
- Ensemble: Staatskapelle Weimar
- Notes: CCN Weimarhalle (06/03/2012-06/04/2012)
- Running Time: 2 min. 48 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Ballet
- Written: 1912-1914
- Studio/Live: Live