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Thread: Wagner on disc....Parsifal

  1. #16
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Must confess this appears more likely. Of course, it might have been recorded by DG engineers for Bavarian Radio but would DG have recorded it with the intention of releasing it at the same time as their much vaunted Karajan set? Seems unlikely.
    Similarly the 'conspiracy theory' over the Kubelik Mastersingers appears unlikely as Kubelik was recorded in 1967 and Jochum nearly 10 years later.
    Of course, nothing effects the value of the recordings one way or the other.
    http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/...ersingers.html
    http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/...-parsifal.html
    https://www.opusklassiek.nl/cd-recen...parsifal01.htm
    http://www.norpete.com/op3144.html
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Oct-22-2017 at 21:00.

  2. #17
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Again, "Also highly regarded is a recording of Parsifal under the baton of Rafael Kubelík. Originally recorded for Deutsche Grammophon but never released, it is now available on the Arts Archives label."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsifal_discography

    The page you guys are citing doesn't even contradict this, all it says is that it was in the Bavarian Radio vaults.
    One is questioning whether Wiki is right. Was it scheduled for release on DG or is this an assumption? Where do they get their information?

  3. #18
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Yes I'v heard this one too. I also heard that Karajan had blocked Kubelik's Mastersingers with the writer assuming that Karajan had recorded his for DG when it was in fact for EMI.

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    I have found an interesting forum with endless debates about the Kubelik BR recordings and their (non-)connection with DG.

    http://www.good-music-guide.com/comm...?topic=1499.80

  5. #20
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanmichael1 View Post
    I have found an interesting forum with endless debates about the Kubelik BR recordings and their (non-)connection with DG.

    http://www.good-music-guide.com/comm...?topic=1499.80
    One interesting quote:

    "the first eye catching thing you see are photos of Karajan and his wife in bikinis in their yacht"

    This sort of rumour mill has gone on for ages. There are people who want to speculate endlessly about it. Does it matter? We have the recordings now.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-22-2017 at 21:09.

  6. #21
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanmichael1 View Post
    I have found an interesting forum with endless debates about the Kubelik BR recordings and their (non-)connection with DG.

    http://www.good-music-guide.com/comm...?topic=1499.80
    So you can either choose to believe that DFD killed the Meistersinger or that an unreformed Nazi high up in DG's record label did. And nothing here contradicts what I said about the Parsifal being a DG studio recording that was subsequently killed.

  7. #22
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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  8. #23
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    So you can either choose to believe that DFD killed the Meistersinger or that an unreformed Nazi high up in DG's record label did. And nothing here contradicts what I said about the Parsifal being a DG studio recording that was subsequently killed.
    Oh so now it is a Nazi conspiracy theory? Certainly livens things up!

    Sort of thing that comes out on certain websites. The truth is probably more mundane. But less fun.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-22-2017 at 21:16.

  9. #24
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Yes we've read these quotes before but are they factual or speculative?
    The way Wikipedia works, David, is that people write what's known on there. If someone has better, more conclusive facts, they edit them. The system works well enough that the vast majority of our academic and political leaders now take Wikipedia to be a reasonable reliable authority. The fact that no one has contradicted this pretty straightforward statement that this was a DG studio recording is itself a pretty convincing reason to believe it's true--it's not a complex opinion but a simple factual statement.

    Or do you go around saying, "is it true when Wikipedia says Iowa is the 30th most populous state, or just speculative????"

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  11. #25
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Oh so now it is a Nazi conspiracy theory? Certainly livens things up!
    No, I'm saying that's an obviously less likely theory that's the only other one presented in this good-music-guide thread other than the one I subscribe to, which is that DFD killed the Meistersinger release because he was preparing the role.

    Does it matter? We have the recordings now.
    If it doesn't matter to you, why the last 20 posts?
    Last edited by howlingfantods; Oct-22-2017 at 21:19.

  12. #26
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    The way Wikipedia works, David, is that people write what's known on there. If someone has better, more conclusive facts, they edit them. The system works well enough that the vast majority of our academic and political leaders now take Wikipedia to be a reasonable reliable authority. The fact that no one has contradicted this pretty straightforward statement that this was a DG studio recording is itself a pretty convincing reason to believe it's true--it's not a complex opinion but a simple factual statement.

    Or do you go around saying, "is it true when Wikipedia says Iowa is the 30th most populous state, or just speculative????"
    I do think your comparisons between the populous of Iowa and the reasons for the non-release of a Wagner recording are somewhat abstruse!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-22-2017 at 21:20.

  13. #27
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I do think your comparisons between the populous of Iowa and the reasons for the non-release of a Wagner recording are somewhat abstruse!
    I don't think "abstruse" is the word you're looking for.

    These are statements of fact:

    "Originally recorded for Deutsche Grammophon but never released"
    "Iowa is the 30th most populous state"

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  15. #28
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    No, I'm saying that's an obviously less likely theory that's the only other one presented in this good-music-guide thread other than the one I subscribe to, which is that DFD killed the Meistersinger release because he was preparing the role.


    If it doesn't matter to you, why the last 20 posts?
    As a historian I am interested in historical facts and I wondered whether anyone had any definite information. It is also the historians job to question 'facts' when they do not appear to add up. It appears to me that DG making a recording of Parsifal for release at the same time as they made the Karajan recording is highly unlikely, not least for commercial reasons. That is was made for Bavarian Radio appears far more likely.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-22-2017 at 21:27.

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  17. #29
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I'll repeat, with additional remarks, what I've said in another thread.

    The interesting thing about Parsifal is that it's hard to find a really bad recording of it. Although there are individual singers or conductorial concepts that will rule out certain recordings for some people, I think the piece tends to instill in its interpreters a special sense of responsibility. As Antonio Pappano said, "it's an incredible privilege for a musician to be anywhere near this work."

    I regard the Knappertsbusch recording of 1962, even after all these years, to be the "central" recommendation for Parsifal, for its fine sound as well as for a great conductor's lifetime of experience with the score and a cast as solid as any recording has assembled. Some may have reservations about the vocal estate of the aging Hans Hotter as Gurnemanz (although the part doesn't tax his upper register as Wotan does on his Walkure with Solti), but no one has brought greater subtlety and nobility to the role, and for me he is central to the feeling of emotional truth exuded by the whole performance. Jess Thomas sings beautifully and with great sincerity of feeling throughout as Parsifal, even if he could use a bit more sheer intensity in Act 2. Irene Dalis's firm, sensual mezzo and keen intelligence make her a Kundry unmatched by any except Christa Ludwig (who can be heard on the Solti Parsifal). Her svengali Klingsor is masterfully sung by Gustav Neidlinger in dependable Alberich mode, though not as imaginatively as the great Hermann Uhde in some earlier Bayreuth performances. George London repeats his dignified and intense Amfortas; his voice is in slightly rougher estate than in his first Bayreuth recording from 1951, when he was able to bring a little more vocal nuance to the part. Minor roles are uniformly well-cast (with Gundula Janowitz an exquisite first flower maiden), and the choral work is impeccable. All concerned enter totally into the spirit of the work and never put a foot wrong, giving us the sense of the mythical world of Montsalvat as a real place in which real events, not merely a performance of something, unfold and absorb us completely for four hours. The Bayreuth acoustic casts its ethereal spell even in a recording, and the balance of voices and orchestra is exemplary. This remains for me one of the essential recordings of a Wagner opera.

    We can experience the Bayreuth sound, though not in stereo, in quite a few other recordings of Parsifal made throughout the 1950s. In those, we hear a number of the singers favored at the theater, including Wolfgang Windgassen and Martha Modl as Parsifal and Kundry in the first recording from 1951 (the recording by which many of us first heard the opera). They perform with the intensity and intelligence we'd expect, although not with the vocal beauty of Thomas and Dalis in 1962. I can recommend the 1951 performance for the noble Gurnemanz of veteran Ludwig Weber and above all for the wonderfully unhinged Klingsor of Hermann Uhde, who got beneath straightforward villainy to suggest the character's underlying fear, impotence and brittle hysteria. In that year Knappertsbusch offered tempos considerably slower than those of 1962, which some like and others don't; I think they pay momentary expressive dividends here and there, but slightly diminish the dramatic momentum and flow of the whole. It might be pertinent to observe that the overall timing of Kna's 1962 performance is almost identical to that of Hermann Levi, the conductor Wagner chose and supervised for the opera's premiere in 1882.

    Among studio recordings, Rafael Kubelik's seems most highly recommended: I have heard only excerpts from it, so I'll leave commentary to others who know it well.

    The Solti recording is notable for its superb sonics and excellent cast, with Christa Ludwig's ideal Kundry, a fine Gurnemanz from veteran Gottlob Frick, and a typically detailed if self-conscious Amfortas from Dietrich-Fischer-Dieskau (not inappropriate to the character, it must be said). The major weakness is Rene Kollo's Parsifal, not bad but vocally undistinguished; too bad somebody didn't snag Jon Vickers for the part. Solti's Wagner stylings are not universally enjoyed, but he's on his best behavior here: if he doesn't work Knappertsbusch's magic he does at least reveal the beauty of the orchestration and keep the momentum up most of the time.

    Karajan's stereo recording is widely liked but, as always with his studio Wagner operas, distinctly Karajanized. He has a few personal ideas about sonorities and balances, and a way of drawing attention to them, which you may or may not like, and no one will confuse this with a live occasion; the score emerges as supersensuous and hyperrefined, but somewhat lacking in spontaneity and dramatic pressure. Among his singers only two really stand out, and both are among the best to take on their roles on recordings: Kurt Moll's mellifluous Gurnemanz and Jose van Dam's poetic Amfortas. For me the production is seriously let down by the sincere but vocally unsteady Parsifal of Peter Hoffmann, and especially by the Kundry, Dunja Vejzovica, an undistinguished soprano/mezzo who for some reason Karajan had a liking for and who also helps spoil for me his recording of Der Fliegende Hollander. This Parsifal has many beauties but is definitely "Karajan's Parsifal" as much as it's Wagner's

    Another version that divides opinion is that of Boulez at Bayreuth from 1970. The cast isn't among the finest, but the real issue is Boulez's quick and bright conducting, which I might characterize as anti-Knappertsbusch. You'll either like it or you won't. I don't; I've never been in any hurry to get through this opera. Of Parsifals from the stereo era, this is probably the one I find least attractive in its failure to capture the spirit of the work, but those who like Boulez's approach might reserve that distinction for one of the really slow performances by James Levine or Reginald Goodall, neither of whom has the Knappertsbusch secret of finding the inner pulse and organic flow in music which, already slow, doesn't need to be made even slower in some quest for maximal profundity.

    Those are the Parsifal recordings I know best. There are several other worthy studio efforts and a great many live performances; the history of Parsifal at postwar Bayreuth is well-documented, and there's an interesting but rather poorly recorded Karajan from Vienna in 1961 which shows the conductor more spontaneous and dramatic in the opera house than he was in the recording studio.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-22-2017 at 22:42.

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  19. #30
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    As a historian I am interested in historical facts and I wondered whether anyone had any definite information. It is also the historians job to question 'facts' when they do not appear to add up. It appears to me that DG making a recording of Parsifal for release at the same time as they made the Karajan recording is highly unlikely, not least for commercial reasons. That is was made for Bavarian Radio appears far more likely.
    Yes, as a historian, you should definitely decide what happened by making assumptions about what makes sense to you as opposed to widely reported and published uncontradicted statements. That's exactly what good historians do.

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