Karl Böhm made the first complete stereo recording of Elektra in 1960 for Deutsche Grammophon and to this day, remains one of the sonically and artistically most exciting recordings of this work. Böhm knew Strauss personally (the booklet includes a delightful photo of the two of them relaxing together!) and conducted several premieres of the composer’s works. All the principals, led by Inge Borkh, are thrilling and incisive, and it is fitting that in this, the 150th anniversary of Strauss’s birth, this key recording be reissued.
“It is a joy to hear [Inge Borkh’s] high notes, loud or soft, taken so securely and so dead centre. She makes such things as the end of the Agamemnon monologue, the trying passage at the end of her scene with Klytemnestra, and her part in the final duet, absolutely thrilling … grand, true and beautiful singing allied to a fine conception of the great role […] Jean Madeira’s dark, rich toned voice is natural for the part of Klytemnestra […] it goes without saying that Fischer-Dieskau makes a living person of Orestes […] Fritz Uhl gives an excellent portrayal of the ill-fated Aegisthus […] Karl Böhm commands the greatest admiration … the huge orchestra plays superbly […] As for the recording, it is so good and spacious that one rarely adverts to it” - “Borkh makes Elektra womanly from the start, Jean Madeira enunciates the second part of the Klytemnestra scene with a quasi-improvisatory clarity, the orchestra's parallel triads slither and shriek, and there is Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: solemn, fearful, with an almost dismissive inflection” Gramophone Classical Music Guide