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Thread: Wagner on disc...Tristan and Isolde

  1. #31
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    ^^^ I was just this afternoon listening to 72 Karajan studio recording with Vickers & Dernesch which has much to admire, but in the act two love scence they did not have the same chemistry, harmony and timing of Suthaus & Flagstadt, almost like the other person wasn't there and they were just singing the notes, not the same level of artistic interplay......yes Suthaus stands tall among Tristans.



    The other one is a live performance from Berlin in 1947:

    I do have that on Andromeda label release.......very worthy




    Also Suthaus is Walther in the famous 43 Bayreuth Meistersinger recording.......

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Dec-04-2017 at 04:02.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    ^^^ I was just this afternoon listening to 72 Karajan studio recording with Vickers & Dernesch which has much to admire, but in the act two love scence they did not have the same chemistry, harmony and timing of Suthaus & Flagstadt, almost like the other person wasn't there and they were just singing the notes, not the same level of artistic interplay......yes Suthaus stands tall among Tristans.





    I do have that on Andromeda label release.......very worthy




    Also Suthaus is Walther in the famous 43 Bayreuth Meistersinger recording.......

    Funny how tastes vary, I would say the opposite

  4. #33
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    ^^^ I was just this afternoon listening to 72 Karajan studio recording with Vickers & Dernesch which has much to admire, but in the act two love scence they did not have the same chemistry, harmony and timing of Suthaus & Flagstadt, almost like the other person wasn't there and they were just singing the notes, not the same level of artistic interplay......yes Suthaus stands tall among Tristans.

    The two problems I find with the love duet on the Karajan recording, despite its sensuous beauty, are the rather self-conscious dynamic exaggerations and the oddly weak Isolde of Helga Dernesch. These two factors come together in her soft singing, which sounds tremulous and tentative; at times it's almost as if she's afraid to sing, and so any real expressivity is ruled out. One thing Isolde never is is tentative! You can hear this easily:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bG-_JFb218

    I've never been entirely reconciled to Suthaus. I admire his intelligence and musicianship, his fine legato phrasing and projection of the text, more than I like his vocal timbre, which I'd describe as "beefy." It's a baritonal sound, like Vinay's and Hopf's, but none of these gents had the brilliance, the squillo of Melchior, or even Vickers. To hear Suthaus in his prime we have to go back five years to that live performance from 1947 at the Berlin State Opera under Furtwangler:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJtAbgvykTM

    If the Furtwangler studio Tristan had come five years earlier, with Suthaus and Flagstad in fresher voice, it would be unambiguously the finest recording of the opera (which, of course, many feel that it nevertheless is). We might even have had Melchior as Tristan - but then, he was still in fine voice even in 1952, and EMI could have paired him with Flagstad. I'm under the impression that Furtwangler didn't want to work with him. Does anyone have information on that?
    Last edited by Woodduck; Dec-04-2017 at 20:30.

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  6. #34
    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The two problems I find with the love duet on the Karajan recording, despite its sensuous beauty, are the rather self-conscious dynamic exaggerations and the oddly weak Isolde of Helga Dernesch. These two factors come together in her soft singing, which sounds tremulous and tentative; at times it's almost as if she's afraid to sing, and so any real expressivity is ruled out. One thing Isolde never is is tentative!
    I hear what you're getting at in the clip. My reaction upon first hearing Dernesch's Isolde was slightly different: it struck me she somehow turned every vocal phrase, no matter its character, into a lament. A knowledgeable CD-store acquaintance agreed, referring to "a frown in the voice."
    Alan

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  8. #35
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amfortas View Post
    I hear what you're getting at in the clip. My reaction upon first hearing Dernesch's Isolde was slightly different: it struck me she somehow turned every vocal phrase, no matter its character, into a lament. A knowledgeable CD-store acquaintance agreed, referring to "a frown in the voice."
    Yes indeed. There is always something almost tearful in her timbre that makes everything she sings sound sad. It makes her Isolde rather one-dimensionally pathetic and vulnerable (which I realize some may like), and it mars her Elisabeth in the Solti Tannhauser, where her "Dich teure Halle" and duet with the hero just can't take wing joyfully as they should. Add to that her forced, squealy top, and I just can't enjoy her much as a soprano. I gather she started as a mezzo and ended that way.

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  10. #36
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Nonsense posted and removed.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Dec-04-2017 at 22:16.
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

  11. #37
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Listen what a great team Suthaus & Flagstadt are during same scence wonderfully balanced harmony and artistic interplay swelling and receding with music, they just seem more seamless and flowing with music lost in a blissful vision of love......

    https://youtu.be/TII-70ZwPec?t=313

    In the Pristine XR release you can hear clearer vocal detail and orchestral space that in this youtube
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Dec-04-2017 at 22:35.

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  13. #38
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    We might even have had Melchior as Tristan - but then, he was still in fine voice even in 1952, and EMI could have paired him with Flagstad. I'm under the impression that Furtwangler didn't want to work with him. Does anyone have information on that?
    Melchior was notoriously averse to rehearsal, and since he never sang an uncut performance of Tristan in his entire career, I doubt that he could have been convinced to the learn the necessary additional music.

  14. #39
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Melchior was notoriously averse to rehearsal, and since he never sang an uncut performance of Tristan in his entire career, I doubt that he could have been convinced to the learn the necessary additional music.
    He once went to sleep on stage after his 'death' and Flagstad had to kick him as he was snoring during the final scene!

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  16. #40
    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    He once went to sleep on stage after his 'death' and Flagstad had to kick him as he was snoring during the final scene!
    Do I alone hear
    this melody
    so wondrously
    and gently
    sounding from within him
    ?
    Alan

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  18. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    He once went to sleep on stage after his 'death' and Flagstad had to kick him as he was snoring during the final scene!
    Mild und leise
    wie er schnarchet
    Wie sein Nasenloch er öffnet.
    Höre, Freunde! Hört ihr's nicht
    wie ein Schwein sein Atem sich grunzet?

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  20. #42
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amfortas View Post
    Do I alone hear
    this melody
    so wondrously
    and gently
    sounding from within him
    ?

    I've read that Melchior was bored stiff by the whole Wagner thing

  21. #43
    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I've read that Melchior was bored stiff by the whole Wagner thing
    I think that's an occupational hazard of any performer doing the same limited repertoire for decades.
    Last edited by amfortas; Dec-05-2017 at 17:51.
    Alan

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  23. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    We might even have had Melchior as Tristan - but then, he was still in fine voice even in 1952, and EMI could have paired him with Flagstad. I'm under the impression that Furtwangler didn't want to work with him. Does anyone have information on that?
    Flagstad and Melchior never sang together after the war. I don't really remember the details but they probably didn't have the best relationship after Flagstad got little or no support from Melchior (and his wife?) when the lies about her being a Nazi were spread in America after the war....

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  25. #45
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amfortas View Post
    I think that's an occupational hazard of any performer doing the same limited repertoire for decades.
    He would have happily sung Otello and Pagliacci, among other things, but the Met management typecast him. Evenings with him and Flagstad were the house's biggest box office draw.

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