• Alexander's Playlist: R. Strauss' Enoch Arden

    By Alexander Neef

    General Director Alexander Neef shares his favourite music recordings in this series of weekly recommendations.

    Richard Strauss' Enoch Arden
    Columbia/Sony Music, 1962
    Glenn Gould & Claude Rains

    For this week’s album recommendation I have a delightful and slightly off-the-beaten-path recording by Glenn Gould and the actor Claude Rains of Richard Strauss’ Enoch Arden.

    Strauss wrote the piece as a spoken melodrama for piano and narrator, setting the text of English poet Lord Tennyson’s long-form piece of the same name, “Enoch Arden,” in which the eponymous mariner is shipwrecked and undertakes an Odyessean journey home.

    The integration of spoken word with piano music makes this 1962 recording a charming bit of esoterica; it’s basically an hour-long chamber play for your home, which transports you into a 19th-century salon. Glenn Gould was known for his advocacy of lesser-known corners of the musical repertoire and this recording is no exception, recovering a nostalgic form of storytelling and animating it with genuine pathos and emotional sincerity. With Gould on piano and Claude Rains as the narrator, a performer best known for his role as Captain Renault in Casablanca, you can hear the artists’ affection for this material in every exchange between piano and speaker.

    ––Alexander Neef

    Music credit: Richard Strauss' Enoch Arden, Glenn Gould & Claude Rains, Columbia/Sony, 1962

    Posted in Alexander's Playlist


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