48kHz/24-bit FLAC, VSO WS005 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

It would be hard not to succumb to the very real charms of this programme of polkas, waltzes, etc, by the three sons of Johann Strauss – replete with effects like insects’ wings buzzing (string tremolandos in ‘The Bee’), cuckoo and other birds (‘Im Krapfenwaldl’), or the comic anvil blows of ‘Feuerfest’. Currently with an extended contract with the Pittsburgh Orchestra, the Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck – he first graduated from playing zither to viola – has made a special study of the genre. The playing is carefully balanced, the VSO set well back in the lively acoustic of the Salzburg Grosses Festspielhaus. But there’s a certain ‘flatness’ when you compare the champagne sparkle and variety to be found with Boskovsky’s mid-’60s Decca versions with the city’s premiere league Strauss orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, still sounding amazingly vivid as CDs. CB

Sound Quality: 75%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Bearing in mind the energy and potential bandwidth of the Vienna SO it’s a mystery these recordings were not made (or offered) in a 96kHz format. The truncation of frequency response is very obvious from this 48kHz download. PM