Strauss’s ‘Fantastic variations on a theme of knightly character’, as Don Quixote is subtitled, is one of the composer’s most popular tone poems, principally because of the beautifully drawn central characters of the Don (performed by a solo cellist) and Sancho Panza (viola). These roles are luxuriously cast in this new recording, being taken by Hyperion artists Alban Gerhardt and Lawrence Power. The merry tale of Till Eulenspiegel completes this release.
The Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, the very orchestra which gave the premieres of both works in the 1890s, is conducted by Markus Stenz, who has held the position of Principal Conductor since 2003. He visited China with the orchestra in early 2008 and conducted their first ever BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in August 2008. In September 2010 he returned to China with the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera of Cologne to conduct the first ever production of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ in Shanghai. Among other posts he is Chief Guest Conductor of the Hallé.