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Thread: Ference Fricsay's Fidelio and Die Zauberflote

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    Senior Member AClockworkOrange's Avatar
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    Default Ference Fricsay's Fidelio and Die Zauberflote

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    Simple question really - how would you rate these recordings?

    What few reviews I have read (on Amazon mainly I'm afraid) have been mixed.

    Has anyone heard them or know of them enough to offer any input?

    Cheers

    * I cannot believe I repeated the typo again... my fingers really dislike typing today... Grrr
    Last edited by AClockworkOrange; Sep-23-2013 at 16:14. Reason: A silly typo in the title...
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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AClockworkOrange View Post
    Attachment 25354 Attachment 25356

    Simple question really - how would you rate these recordings?

    What few reviews I have read (on Amazon mainly I'm afraid) have been mixed.

    Has anyone heard them or know of them enough to offer any input?

    Cheers

    * I cannot believe I repeated the typo again... my fingers really dislike typing today... Grrr
    Fidelio/Fricsay, 1958. DG.
    I like
    Fricsay's pointed,dramatically urgent performance and his cast is fine by any standards. Fischer-Dieskau fully conveys the hatred and blood-lust of Pizarro. Haefliger makes a fine Florestan and Irmgard Seefried is the best and subtlest of recorded Marzellines.
    But Leonie Rysanek's Leonore is the glory of the set. Lord Harewood, Opera On Record. The recorded sound comes in for praise.

    Die Zauberfloete /Fricsay, 1955,DG.
    Same publication comes out as OK but no more than an honest effort.
    I have heard it fairly often over the last fifty years and enjoyed it .
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Of the two, I have only heard the Fidelio. My one word all encompassing review, which includes, for me, that Fricsay was a conductor of intense musicality and musical intelligence, and that one word for the overall of the performance, not just dwelling on the vocal soloists.

    Electrifying
    Last edited by PetrB; Sep-23-2013 at 18:27.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    This was my introduction to Fidelio. The cast is good with Rysanek, Frick and F-D outstanding and no-one letting the side down. The performance is lean and dramatic - the opposite of, say, Klemperer. It is actually far more like the historically informed performances we've become more used to these days. The sound is rather dated stereo with the balance favouring the voices a little too much. But it is a really good performance - one that one would long to hear in the theatre. Note that it is available as a very inexpensive download for about a couple of quid!

    Not heard the Flute though.
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-23-2013 at 18:42.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I have both recordings, and I concur with the assessment of the Fidelio. Fischer-Dieskau is the standard by which I judge every other interpreter of the role of Pizarro; he is truly maleavolent. I'm not as keen on Leonie Rysanek, but the dungeon confrontation between her and Fischer-Dieskau's Pizarro is, indeed, electrifying. And Haefliger sings Florestan's music instead of bawling and bellowing it, as so many others do. My only regret was that the singers weren't allowed to handle the spoken dialogue, as well. The actor speaking Pizarro's text has a voice that doesn't sound even remotely like DFD's.
    Die Zauberflöte is quite good, as well -- I really like Josef Greindl's Sarastro and Rita Streich's Queen of the Night. Fischer-Dieskau and Lisa Otto sing Papageno and Papagena, as they do on the 1964 Böhm recording. That one is still my choice; just can't beat Wunderlich's Tamino.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Fricsay is too lean and fast for my taste.
    I like Klemperer in these works.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

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    Senior Member AClockworkOrange's Avatar
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    Moody, PetrB, MAuer and DavidA, thank you for your excellent feedback.

    I will pick both of these up next month.

    Fidelio is quickly becoming one of my favourite Beethoven works and on the strength of the recommendations here, will be an easy purchase indeed. This has been some of the best feedback I have ever been given on these forums and I have been given a lot of good advice in my time here.

    Die Zauberfloete /Fricsay, 1955,DG.
    Same publication comes out as OK but no more than an honest effort.
    I have heard it fairly often over the last fifty years and enjoyed it .
    Moody, your summation here is written very much how a good friend of mine would describe a recording. If I didn't already know otherwise, I would wonder if you were one in the same . If the recording comes across as an honest effort and it is enjoyable, then that is good enough to take a chance on.

    Die Zauberflöte is quite good, as well -- I really like Josef Greindl's Sarastro and Rita Streich's Queen of the Night. Fischer-Dieskau and Lisa Otto sing Papageno and Papagena, as they do on the 1964 Böhm recording. That one is still my choice; just can't beat Wunderlich's Tamino.
    This confirms my decision to give the Fricsay recording a chance. My concern was more with my unfamiliarity with some of the singers and what the quality of the recording may be.

    DavidA, it is funny you should mention the downloads. They are on iTunes for £7.99 each which is where I noticed them. I may wait and get the CD's next month though off of Amazon - purely so I can play the works on my hi-fi since I cannot connect my iPod to my hi-fi.

    Itullian, I too like Klemperer in these works but more so in Fidelio than Zauberflote (which is a great recording). Part of my curiosity is in the fact that Fricsay's approach is a contract to Klemperer's.

    Thank you all again for your input, it is very much appreciated.
    "Nietzsche said that life was a choice between suffering and boredom. He never said anything about having to put up with both at the same time."
    Humphrey Lyttelton

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    A great Fidelio is Karajan's on EMI.
    In some ways it even tops Klemperer.

    Other ones I like are Furtwangler, EMI, Knappertsbusch, Westminster.

    If you want a quicker, lighter version, Bohm's DGG is very good.
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-25-2013 at 06:12.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

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    The question you pose is very interesting in that I just yesterday read that "The Magic Flute" was one of Beethoven's favorite operas:

    Thus the operas he [Beethoven] most admired – and based his own first efforts on – were Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Cherubini’s French works Lodoïska, Les Deux Journées and Médée.
    --from the insert of Fidelio in English (Chandos Operas in English series).
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Nov-27-2013 at 18:19.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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