The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (another SSO) seems, in a favourite Australian cliché, to punch above its weight. It’s appeared at festivals in Prague and Dresden. I hope it won’t sound patronising to say that on the strength of this CD, they’re a fine orchestra but not yet a great one. They certainly throw their heart and soul into everything here.

Macbethwas Strauss’s first tone poem and he was clearly feeling his way. Despite subsequent revisions, the work has never caught on: it’s gloomy – almost to the point of murkiness. Admittedly, Strauss didn’t intend it to convey the action, rather more the character of the Macbeths. No wonder it’s never ended up in the repertoire: even the coronation march (in 3/4 rather than the usual 4/4 time) hardly sounds festive. Still, good on them for including it.

The Rosenkavalier Suite(one of umpteen Strauss concocted as a royalty revenue-raising project) was quite the opposite: from the outset Lan Shui displays an impressive flair for echt-Wien rubato in the famous fanfare and the rest is, alternately, idiomatically affectionate and spiritedly...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.