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Strauss, Gershwin and Ben-Haim CD reviews

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVIEWS FASCINATING NEW STRAUSS, GERSHWIN AND BEN-HAIM CDs STRAUSS: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra / Märkl ★★★★ When we think of Richard Strauss's orchestral music it's primarily his richly scored tone poems. It's easy to overlook his wizardry with light music and especially the dance – think of his opera Rosenkavalier. That facility is exemplified by his Tanzsuite (Dance Suite) of 1923 for chamber orchestra, ballet music commissioned by the Vienna Opera. It's a labour of love, delightfully mixing pastiche and orchestral reimagining of eight dances by baroque composer François Couperin which were originally composed for harpsichord. Try not to laugh at the Carillon with Strauss's kaleidoscopic mixture of celesta, bells and harp, or to sigh as the closing march dies slowly away. The NZSO, under Jun Märkl, don't have the suavity, richness and echt-Strauss sound of Rudolf Kempe's Dresden orchestra (Warner) but they're nifty, gr

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