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Thread: Historical Wagner Recordings...............

  1. #5191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I’ve just finished Götterdämmerung, Bayreuth 1957, Knappertsbusch et al. Not the best sung one I’ve ever heard. Everybody seems a bit lacklustre, in particular Kna. Not the best effort for this brilliant opera.

    This opera has so many great scenes - the Norns, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, blütbrüderschaft, Hagens watch, the curse, the summoning of the vassals, the Rhinemaidens, Siegfried’s Tod, immolation. All of them seemed to pass without emphasis. Weird. Dull, dull, dull!
    Ouch! Even with Nilsson as one of the Norns?

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the 1957 Götterdämmerung... although I do respect your opinion as well. I suggest for anyone else who may be interested in the 57 Götterdämmerung to give it a test drive themselves, without taking my word for it.
    Last edited by Music Snob; Jan-26-2021 at 14:17.
    "Owing to the present mania for Regie and decor, which is a cancer on operatic life, much too much money is being spent on these two aspects of opera. This disease, this tyranny must be broken." Walter Legge

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I’ve just finished Götterdämmerung, Bayreuth 1957, Knappertsbusch et al. Not the best sung one I’ve ever heard. Everybody seems a bit lacklustre, in particular Kna. Not the best effort for this brilliant opera.

    This opera has so many great scenes - the Norns, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, blütbrüderschaft, Hagens watch, the curse, the summoning of the vassals, the Rhinemaidens, Siegfried’s Tod, immolation. All of them seemed to pass without emphasis. Weird. Dull, dull, dull!
    How does it compare to 1956 and 1958?

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Can’t remember is the short answer. I seem to recall the ‘58 as being pretty good but it’s been a few years so I’m not putting my neck on the block for this.

    I’m not in a great mood at the moment so perhaps I’m not in the right frame of mind for Wagner. I may revisit it at some point. COVID boredom has set in with a vengeance.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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  6. #5194
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    The '58 was my preference (I still don't understand why Orfeo issued the '56 cycle considering its dull sound and it's not as good as '57 or 58 performance-wise).

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I’m not in a great mood at the moment so perhaps I’m not in the right frame of mind for Wagner. I may revisit it at some point. COVID boredom has set in with a vengeance.
    Hang in there... you are amongst good company here.

    I actually just listened to snippets of the 1942 Elmendorff Götterdämmerung from Bayreuth. Apparently in this recording we can hear the original steerhorns Wagner had manufactured for this music drama. The sound quality was great for the era.
    "Owing to the present mania for Regie and decor, which is a cancer on operatic life, much too much money is being spent on these two aspects of opera. This disease, this tyranny must be broken." Walter Legge

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    The '58 was my preference (I still don't understand why Orfeo issued the '56 cycle considering its dull sound and it's not as good as '57 or 58 performance-wise).

    N.
    I prefer the 1956 for a couple of reasons, one is the way Varnay is able to hold long notes in act 3 of Walküre and in Act 3 of Siegfried. Of course this has much to do with Knappertsbusch’s conducting as well during those moments. What a blessing to have three consecutive years of Kna’s conducting to chose from.
    "Owing to the present mania for Regie and decor, which is a cancer on operatic life, much too much money is being spent on these two aspects of opera. This disease, this tyranny must be broken." Walter Legge

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  12. #5197
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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Snob View Post
    I prefer the 1956 for a couple of reasons, one is the way Varnay is able to hold long notes in act 3 of Walküre and in Act 3 of Siegfried. Of course this has much to do with Knappertsbusch’s conducting as well during those moments. What a blessing to have three consecutive years of Kna’s conducting to chose from.
    Varnay was better in 57 than 58 (more involved), but there are parts of all those recordings that are better than others. Hotter for example has moments where he is better in one Walkure than the other two in all three of the cycles. I went with '58 because I preferred the casting of the twins and '56 is really let down by the sound.

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Snob View Post
    Ouch! Even with Nilsson as one of the Norns?

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the 1957 Götterdämmerung... although I do respect your opinion as well. I suggest for anyone else who may be interested in the 57 Götterdämmerung to give it a test drive themselves, without taking my word for it.
    Feeling in a better mood I revisited act 3 of the Götterdämmerung I dissed. Clearly my mood had impinged on my ability to give this a fair hearing. It was better than I had given it credit for but I still stand by my initial assessment that the singing was not entirely up to par and Kna wasn’t on his best form either. The big climaxes, I feel, were a bit lacklustre. Windgassen, wayward timing and all, was in heroic form. You either like his voice or you don’t. I do. It’s still not up there with Bayreuth’s best Ring cycles though. Pax Vobiscum.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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    Pax Vobiscum ✌

    I’m excited for the 1942 Elmendorff Götterdämmerung... the original Steerhorns Wagner made can be heard. The piece can be heard on YouTube.
    Last edited by Music Snob; Jan-28-2021 at 14:47.
    "Owing to the present mania for Regie and decor, which is a cancer on operatic life, much too much money is being spent on these two aspects of opera. This disease, this tyranny must be broken." Walter Legge

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    As they say, go in peace or go in pieces!
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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    The Flying Dutchman is the only mature Wagner that I haven't delved too deeply into historical recordings. Is there a single can't-miss one like there are for Tristan (Furt) or Parsifal (Kna), or if not can someone suggest a good starting point with respectable sound quality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    The Flying Dutchman is the only mature Wagner that I haven't delved too deeply into historical recordings. Is there a single can't-miss one like there are for Tristan (Furt) or Parsifal (Kna), or if not can someone suggest a good starting point with respectable sound quality?
    The Keilberth recording on Testament is a good choice. Uhde and Varnay are great, and the sound is excellent.
    Last edited by adriesba; Jan-29-2021 at 03:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    The Keilberth recording on Testament is a good choice. Uhde and Varnay are great, and the sound is excellent.
    I second this, the other one is the Kna recording from the same year and with almost the same cast. (Best available on Orfeo).

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    I second this, the other one is the Kna recording from the same year and with almost the same cast. (Best available on Orfeo).
    The sound on this is mono, but quite good, and this performance features a much better Erik (Windgassen vs. Lustig for Keilberth).

    Another option would be one of the live London/Rysanek performances - Bayreuth 1959 or Met 1960. There's also Met 1950 with Hotter and Varnay, but the sound probably rules that one out. Sound also disqualifies some other earlier recordings with Hotter and Nissen in the title role.

    I'm a big fan of the 1961 Bayreuth with Sawallisch that was issued on Philips, but only because I think that Franz Crass is the greatest Holländer on records.
    Last edited by wkasimer; Jan-29-2021 at 12:49.

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  26. #5205
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    I just received the Keilberth Hollander, and it does sound great. I am not familiar with the opera so I cannot say much about it. I am looking at getting the Kna Hollander on Walhall because the Orfeo is a little too expensive for me. Apparently the Orfeo splits Senta’s prayer over two sides. Perhaps someone can verify for me.

    I have no problem with mono and in fact prefer it.

    What an amazing overture though! Also, there can be an entire thread which can discuss the way prayers are used in Wagner’s and other composers music to great effect...
    "Owing to the present mania for Regie and decor, which is a cancer on operatic life, much too much money is being spent on these two aspects of opera. This disease, this tyranny must be broken." Walter Legge

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