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Thread: What's your favorite recording of the 'Prize Song' from Meistersinger?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question What's your favorite recording of the 'Prize Song' from Meistersinger?

    Your favorite 'Prize Song'?

    and also, who is your favorite Walther?
    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

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Without question, this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cqnATSWX6I

    Interestingly, Melchior chose not to sing Walther in the theater, claiming that the tessitura kept him too constantly in his upper range. That didn't stop him from recording excerpts from the opera, and he is the Walther in this incomparable version of the quintet, made with Elisabeth Schumann as Eva and Friedrich Schorr as Sachs, from 1931.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYDB71NyJIQ
    Last edited by Woodduck; Apr-08-2016 at 15:12.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    ^^^ 1st Video is great in showing the difficulty of recording "acoustical" technology media (before the electrical age with microphones and amplified signals) notice constant adjusting distance of singers and orchestra to get balanced sound. The master disc is inscribed by physical vibrations of cutting head transmitted directly from large cone.

    Notice the dog at finish listening to "his masters voice" HMV......




    Must do some research for Tully's ultimate prize song: Schock, Konya, Thomas, Svanholm hmmmmm
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-08-2016 at 23:06.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Konya on the Kubelik hits a sweet spot for me for the role, lyrical but still with some steel, slightly italianate sound that I think works really well for the role. Heppner is terrific too--not sure I have a preference between his performance on the Sawallisch and Solti.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    ^^^^ I listened closely to Konya, Schock but I think my favorite prize song is Jess Thomas from early 1960s with his beautiful golden soft voice.

    The morgenlich leuchtend is a public love poem/song to Walther's beloved Eva so I want a warmth and ardor to the singing, a caressing of words sung to melt Eva's heart along with the rising dramatic more powerful notes......the ultimate songcraft of the meistersinger!


    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-08-2016 at 22:53.

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    Senior Member jflatter's Avatar
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    It's Konya by a mile for me in respect to both questions. I agree with howlingfantods that an Italianate approach is required where possible. It will be interesting to see how Kaufmann fares when he does the role in Munich next month. When the ENO staged the opera in English they cast Gwyn Hughes Jones who is more known for Italian rep and he was a great success. So much so that the ROH have cast him for their production next season.

    Domingo could have been a great von Stolzing if it wasn't for his poor German.

    I don't mind Kollo in the von Karajan recording though.
    Last edited by jflatter; Apr-08-2016 at 20:41.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I actually lean towards Domingo, accent and all for the Prize Song.
    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

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jflatter View Post
    When the ENO staged the opera in English they cast Gwyn Hughes Jones who is more known for Italian rep and he was a great success. So much so that the ROH have cast him for their production next season.
    Good news - I missed Gwyn's ENO debut in the role, so it's good to have another chance to catch him. He's a lovely singer.

    Re my favourite Walther/Preislied, I'm with you all the way on Konya. Domingo's Walther isn't far behind and, whilst some have quailed at his way with words, the notes have surely never sounded better. My next favourite would be Alberto Remedios, superb on the Goodall recording from the Chandos "Opera in English" series.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Going back in time I found one I quite like 1927 Max Lorenz, I like the emotion in his voice and can feel the romantic longing for Eva in his vocal delivery, that is what I am searching for the vocal characterization.....great sound quality

    Comments from Duck regarding this.......






    Max Lorenz as Walther 1943
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-10-2016 at 02:37.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Going back in time I found one I quite like 1927 Max Lorenz with Furtwangler, I like the emotion in his voice and can feel the romantic longing for Eva in his vocal delivery, that is what I am searching for the vocal characterization.....great sound quality

    Comments from Duck regarding this.......

    This is actually not the Furtwangler recording--the live Bayreuth Furtwangler recording is from 1943, this is much earlier in his career when he was just starting out in the late 20s.

    A wonderful singer, my absolute favorite heldentenor in the echt heroic roles like Siegfried and Tristan. He's sounding better here than in the Furtwangler where he sounds almost frenzied. Of course, 1943 was a pretty odd time to be a gay man married to a jewish woman as the biggest star in Bayreuth. I think that was the year the SS tried to arrest his mother in law.

    That 1943 Bayreuth recording by the way is one of the absolute greatest, although I am not crazy about the cast as a whole, and it's missing big chunks of Act 1 and Act 3, most notably the quartet. But Furtwangler's performance is practically definitive.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Going back in time I found one I quite like 1927 Max Lorenz with Furtwangler, I like the emotion in his voice and can feel the romantic longing for Eva in his vocal delivery, that is what I am searching for the vocal characterization.....great sound quality

    Comments from Duck regarding this.......

    Lorenz was vocally at his best in the '20s, but even so the high climaxes give him trouble here (and it's only an A, I believe). I've heard a later recording (probably the one mentioned by howlingfantods) which sounded unpleasantly hysterical; that's a quality I often feel in his singing. In a role like Tristan he could turn it to dramatic effect, but we don't want it in Walther. I'll have to remain on the Melchior team in the heldentenor competition.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Lorenz was vocally at his best in the '20s, but even so the high climaxes give him trouble here (and it's only an A, I believe). I've heard a later recording (probably the one mentioned by howlingfantods) which sounded unpleasantly hysterical; that's a quality I often feel in his singing. In a role like Tristan he could turn it to dramatic effect, but we don't want it in Walther. I'll have to remain on the Melchior team in the heldentenor competition.
    If we stay with Melchior can I sway you with this 39 rendition which is taken at a slightly slower pace and for me with more affection for Eva in his delivery......

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Apr-10-2016 at 20:43.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Dear old Ben Heppner on a dvd I have of a Met performance is pretty good at the singing. Unfortunately he looks as much like a dashing young knight as I do!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    If we stay with Melchior can I sway you with this 39 rendition which is taken at a slightly slower pace and for me with more affection for Eva in his delivery......

    No swaying necessary! I chose the other one as much for its amusement value as anything. But of course it also shows the extraordinary durability and consistency of Melchior's voice. Just consider: he was born in 1890, made his debut as a baritone in 1913, made his second debut, this time as a tenor in the title role of Tannhauser (!) in 1918, specialized in the heaviest tenor roles in Wagner all the way to 1950, made movies from 1944 to 1952, and was still singing with nearly undiminished powers into the 1960s.

    Hearing that voice live is something I can't even imagine. Fortunately he made many recordings, and his movies (all comedies, I believe) allow us to see him in action and observe his incredible vocal technique. Other tenors wreck themselves in five or ten years trying to do what was apparently easy for him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Dear old Ben Heppner on a dvd I have of a Met performance is pretty good at the singing. Unfortunately he looks as much like a dashing young knight as I do!
    Indeed, he looks more like the morning after the knight before.

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