LSO take Strauss to great heights

London Symphony Orchestra once again thrill with a hugely impressive performance of Strauss' Alpine Symphony

Composer: Strauss
Repertoire: Eine Alpensinfonie 
Artists: London Symphony Orchestra/Haitink
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: LSO Live LSO 0689

While the splendour of the LSO’s playing these days is no surprise, it’s a remarkable phenomenon even so. Can the ‘motto’ idea for low brass that opens and closes the Alpine Symphony’s huge, one-movement span ever have been more impressively played? Bernard Haitink’s interpretation allows full scope for grand effects while keeping a tight rein on the work’s unfolding progress (charting the ascent and descent of an Alpine peak, from pre-dawn to after dusk). Nothing sprawls and the journey often thrills. Strauss’s vast orchestra at full throttle can’t help sounding a bit cramped in the Barbican’s acoustic, but not distractingly so.