THIS is a fabulous set of performances from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra with conductor Manfred Honeck, but there are some ambiguities in its presentation which need cleared up.

The title is actually is a misnomer: this is not the music of Johann Strauss, father of the dynasty. It is exclusively the music of his three sons, Johann Strauss II, Josef and Eduard Strauss. The disc was recorded in January this year on the orchestra's in-house label, though that is not absolutely clear on the packaging; note that the CD number is WS005. It's worth doing because this is a supreme set of pieces from the three brothers, most, but not all, from the famous repertoire, including The Gypsy Baron and a host of familiar nature-related pieces: all the insects and the entire Strauss avian kingdom, including that cuckoo, are fluttering about, chattering. Great stuff, with exemplary tugging and pulling the tempo and lean, fibrous playing (no plush complacency here).

Michael Tumelty

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