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Thread: Staatskapelle Dresden

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    ...Good band!...
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    This certainly is worth a listen, it ranks top notch for any Mahler 2 recording:

    616BJl3eK7L._SL1200_.jpg

    Haitink's take on resurrection in memory of the WWII Dresden allied bombing. To prove his impartiality, Haitink conducted the same work in 1990 in Rotterdam (where I was in the audience) in memory of the WWII German bombing.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    ^That is badass. I shall have to give it a spin. Though my hands are a bit full with Mahler at the moment. I keep trying to take a break from his music, but I can't stay away...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    The Staatskapelle Dresden has been my favorite orchestra in the world ever since I first heard them play Bruckner's 7th Symphony in concert back in the late 1970s, during the Herbert Blomstedt tenure. Despite that I've not heard them play live in recent decades, they remain one of the reasons why I listen to and love classical music so much. In my view, the Staatskapelle Dresden has few equals, if any, in the music of Richard Strauss, Wagner, Weber, Bruckner, Mozart, Schumann, and Brahms. Historically, both Wagner and Weber served as the orchestra's director or Hofkapellmeister, while Richard Strauss maintained a close relationship with the Staatskapelle that spanned over 60 years. Interestingly, Beethoven wrote in one of his 1823 conversation booklets that, "It is generally said the Dresden Hofkapelle is the best orchestra in Europe." They also performed with or had works dedicated to them by Vivaldi (& his former student, Pisendel), Schütz, Mozart, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Berlioz, Schumann, Brahms, Stravinsky, and in our own time, Pärt, Rihm, and Henze.

    The following is a list of what I'd consider to be the most representative recordings by the Staatskapelle Dresden over the past half century or so, & I've listed them by conductor, and placed an asterisk (or two) next to my special favorites:

    1. Rudolf Kempe--*The complete orchestral music of Richard Strauss: https://www.amazon.com/Strauss-Orche...s=music&sr=1-2, I'd recommend that you start with Kempe's brilliant **Ein Heldenleben: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-x_4nYO2Sc. As noted, this was Strauss's orchestra: He had a close association with the Staatskapelle as both a conductor and composer that lasted over six decades. Being the official orchestra of the Semperoper, the Staatskapelle premiered nine of Strauss's operas, including Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier. Strauss called them "the best opera orchestra in the world". He also dedicated his Alpine Symphony to them. From the standpoint of recordings, it's not insignificant that Kempe took over the directorship of the orchestra in the year of Strauss's death--1949, with his tenure lasting between 1949-1953 (although Kempe's association with the Staatskapelle didn't end in 1953). In other words, Kempe learned and experienced first hand the playing tradition that Strauss had instilled or cultivated within the orchestra, in regards to how he wished his music to be performed--a tradition that was still intact in 1949. (You should also try to hear Kempe's recording of the opera *Ariadne auf Naxos.) IMO, there is no other orchestra in the world that plays the music of Strauss better than the Staatskapelle (& those that would name the Chicago S.O. under Reiner, should consider that Reiner learned how to conduct Strauss's music during his tenure in Dresden between 1914-21).

    One telling difference is that the Staatskapelle's overall orchestral balance is more transparent than either the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, which allows the listener to hear all of Strauss's richly detailed and orchestrated scores in greater definition--which, when all mixed together produces the most amazing blend of orchestral sounds I've ever heard, and one that happens with no other Strauss orchestra in the world. Indeed, it was one of the most unique and unforgettable musical experiences of my life to hear the Staatskapelle play Strauss in concert, and I'm not even that big a Strauss fan! (except for his Four Last Songs, of course, & the song Morgen, and Der Rosenkavalier). The same is true for their playing of Wagner's music.

    Kempe, *Also Sprake Zarathustra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV0e7kKLDOg
    Kempe, **Stravinsky, The Firebird: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBy3CBwrWPQ

    2. Kurt Sanderling--*Brahms Symphonies 1-4--one of my favorite Brahms cycles:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TagPfmDct8
    https://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Vier-S...r=1-1-fkmrnull

    3. Wolfgang Sawallisch--**Schumann Symphonies 1-4, and *Schubert Symphonies 1-9--both cycles are among my favorites. No other orchestra I've heard plays the opening of Schumann's 'Rhenish' Symphony with such force and vitality as the Staatskapelle, under Sawallisch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u1u_xAYg4o. Indeed, they play the four Schumann Symphonies to the limits of their extraordinary virtuosity. As noted, Schumann himself conducted the Staatskapelle, and they premiered a number of works by him. So the Staatskapelle can boast a long tradition of playing Schumann's music that goes directly back to the composer. In addition, Sawallisch recorded three *Schubert Masses in Dresden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyheAST_Woc, and https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Grea...sr=1-1-catcorr and https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Grea...sr=1-3-catcorr --recordings that shouldn't be confused with Sawallisch's later more extensive survey of Schubert 'Sacred Works' on EMI.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je7o...S2kipSXm34YlR_
    https://www.amazon.com/Schumann-Symp...s=music&sr=1-1
    The latest remasters were for the Japanese hybrid SACDs, which I'd strongly recommend.
    https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Symp...K8QQZAWSCQ329X
    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Comp...s=music&sr=1-6

    4. Eugen Jochum--*Bruckner Symphonies 1-9, on EMI--available as a box set, or individually on EMI double fforte issues:

    **https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFqsVwdI_r0
    *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB1kDa8owYE
    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...s=music&sr=1-4
    **https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWcyhAWFs_U
    *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl7U9Z56fwI

    If you listen closely, I believe you'll hear more orchestral details in the Staatskapelle's performances of Bruckner's 9 Symphonies, in comparison to Karajan's Berlin Bruckner cycle, for example (you might compare their 6ths)--as again, the Staatskapelle under Jochum offers a more transparent overall orchestral balance in Bruckner than Karajan's velvety thick, string dominant Berlin Philharmonic (as well as the BPO under Jochum); Haydn Symphonies 93, 94, 95, 98, on Berlin Classics.

    5. Carlos Kleiber--**Tristan und Isolde--This is one of my favorite recordings by the Staatskapelle Dresden. As remarkable as Kleiber's conducting is, the real star of this recording is the orchestra itself. You won't hear a Wagner opera played more magnificently, nor an orchestra so consistently and astonishingly in tune--throughout the long duration of a Wagner opera:




    Here's a link to the full opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF4zN-Okonc

    Kleiber's recording in Dresden of Weber's opera *Der Freischütz is equally great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_8841XhzU8. It's a shame that Kleiber never accepted the Staatskapelle's offer of a tenure--as they were perfectly matched & so great together!!! (Instead the Staatskapelle ended up with Giuseppe Sinopoli, who wasn't nearly as good a conductor as Kleiber, in my opinion.)

    Due to the orchestra's close association with Wagner during the composer's tenure in Dresden between 1843-48, the Staatskapelle has long had a remarkable tradition of playing Wagner's music; which, in my opinion, is second to none. In addition to Kleiber's wonderful recording of Tristan und Isolde, here's a list of other Wagner recordings by the Staatskapelle:

    Heinrich Hollreiser: Rienzi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGXaYeNuu3M
    Herbert von Karajan: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.
    Marek Janowski--the first digital Ring Cycle: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Wagne...s=music&sr=1-7
    Donald Runnicles: The Ring (orchestral highlights) & Siegfried Idyll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHknc9GVblg
    Giuseppe Sinopoli: Overtures and Preludes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHlatnXZrBQ
    Giuseppe Sinopoli: *Wesendonck Lieder, with Cheryl Studer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNajSaGR-0U
    Peter Schneider: Ben Heppner: Scenes from The Ring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSrdy9OMkHI
    Hiroshi Wakasugi: Overtures and Preludes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p45o...EryMGH1NKX7oec

    6. Herbert Blomstedt--His digital Strauss recordings on Denon, which, in some cases, I may actually prefer to Kempe's reference recordings--for the superior sound quality: such as Blomstedt's *Also Sprake Zarathustra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7Bq0Qk94eo, & *Metamorphosen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9vyytOx1dk; *Schubert Symphonies 1-9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ok-cB1bH2s; **Beethoven Symphony no. 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diLDnStIYUc (there's another live 9th on Profil), but I'm not 100% on the rest of Blomstedt's cycle, as the interpretations can be a tad old-fashioned at times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IPz...EPO2xxco4RWMco, despite an excellent 5th*: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y49C2UvGspU); **Mozart Symphonies 38-41 on Denon--terrific recordings; *Bruckner Symphonies 4 & 7** on Denon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjpX3_lFzI; **Mozart Divertimenti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE5s...tLDGDAgTot4As; *Mozart Flute Concertos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjTk...RjGnpzctH2N05E.

    I should also point out that the Staatskapelle is highly regarded for their Mozart playing--under conductors Blomstedt, Davis, Harnoncourt, Schreier, and Böhm (along with Otmar Suitner, whose Mozart I've not yet heard). There was a time when the Staatskapelle Dresden and Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra were considered by many to be the two finest Mozart orchestras in the world. Indeed, the Staatskapelle has long maintained a tradition of playing Mozart's music that goes back to when Mozart himself performed with the orchestra.

    7. Sir Colin Davis--Generally, I don't recommend Davis's Beethoven Symphony cycle with the Staatskapelle--which I found surprisingly dull & disappointing; however, the Piano Concertos 1-5 with Claudio Arrau are excellent--despite that Arrau was in the twilight of his career & his difficulties can occasionally show (at least when compared to his technically superior earlier recordings with Haitink and Galliera). Nevertheless, Arrau's playing of the slow movements are especially beautiful and profound, and his musical interaction with the Dresden musicians can reach the sublime--especially in the slow movement of the 5th, which is the finest performance of this movement I've heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1szOD8o46NQ (though I likewise treasure Arrau's Concertgebouw 5th with Haitink); Schubert Symphony 1-9 (I've not heard this set, as I've been content with the other 2 Dresden cycles); *Mozart Symphonies 28-41: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3GL0MRkxvU; Mozart The Magic Flute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwRwjlwB0b4; *Mozart Overtures:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1-cKn8rxhU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxCf02qPzU0

    8. Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Mozart Posthorn-Serenade, Haffner-Serenade, etc. (on 2 Teldec CDs):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYD5i6JgFkA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll98g-m0uk4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVk6pkIkUEo
    etc.
    https://www.amazon.com/Posthorn-Sere...sr=1-5-catcorr

    9. Peter Schreier--Schreier's Mozart choral music recordings with the Staatskapelle are exceptional, especially his recording of the **Requiem, which, is one of the finest modern instrument recordings that I know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBtc...UFfocywc7LgtY; along with the *Coronation Mass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i12ZyQgF_Sg (however, I prefer Abbado's recording of the 'Great' Mass). Scheirer's equally remarkable **Bach choral music survey in Dresden--now issued in a discount set--is very recommendable, too (though I tend to prefer his earlier Mass in B Minor, with the New Bach Collegium of Leipzig: https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Messe-H-...=1-3-catcorr):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU2QY4DcC4Y
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-iynmk2Tws
    **Christmas Oratorio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKn1QQG9UEU
    https://www.amazon.com/Collectors-J-...c&sr=1-1-fkmr1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzpPAFwJYR8

    10. Hans Vonk--Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, with *Sabine Meyer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPts...ZHjPn4wbfG7-KA, & Beethoven Piano Concertos 1-5, with Christian Zacharias, in classical, non-romanticized performances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loMSDY9M9V8

    11. Sir Neville Marriner--*Haydn Masses:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgBhXZZunsk
    https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...--haydn-masses
    https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...--haydn-masses

    12. David Zinman--*Mozart Piano Concertos K. 482 and K. 488, with Zacharias (which is also included in his superb discount EMI box set): https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Piano-...=music&sr=1-10

    13. Franz Konwitschny, *Brahms and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos, with violinist David Oistrakh, on DG. I believe a 2008 Hanssler 'Profil' CD is a reissue of the same performance, but I'm not certain of it, as I own the DG recording:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AqHYah06yk
    https://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Tchaik...sr=1-1-catcorr

    14. Giuseppe Sinopoli: Strauss Four Last Songs, and Wagner *Wesendonck Lieder, with Cheryl Studer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNajSaGR-0U
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQxv4WTnI2k
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzYt...lUeL8u3bR3ZkK2
    https://www.amazon.com/Strauss-Wesen...=music&sr=1-10

    15. Jeffrey Tate: Jacques Offenbach's opera, "Les Contes D'Hoffman": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF590PPnrv8 ;*Schubert's Symhony no. 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTM8Yg1p69s ;Beethoven's Symphony No.7.

    16. Bernard Haitink--*Beethoven Piano Concertos 1-5, with pianist Andras Schiff, on Teldec--This is one of the finest Beethoven PC cycles made during the digital era, IMO:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_zh3gPomjE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAVUmIpwByo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UxkcgT-Uro
    [url]https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Concertos-Apassionata-Sonata/dp/B000000S92/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=bernard+haitink+dresden+staats kapelle&qid=1557344508&s=music&sr=1-4[/url
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YAjn3but5g

    & Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (on DVD): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN0-...vgtDqQ_jDuASSi, and a Bruckner 9th on Sony.

    18. Historically, Karl Böhm recorded extensively with the Staatskapelle, having served as its director between 1934-1943. His Strauss, Mozart, and Schubert in Dresden are well regarded: especially the Strauss* and Mozart operas that he recorded with Staatskapelle on DG. (Personally, I'm not always a big fan of Böhm's conducting, but will say that he was a more dynamic conductor earlier in his career than in the last decade or so of his life.)

    *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDDHWIUjhhA
    *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksByBZTbadA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA-jfe_iYYo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFVhx_0G7sQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTUkLnkwmpU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL_afWlsWb0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7Lq9pIBZO0

    One Dresden tenure that I've not explored in depth is that of conductor Otmar Suitner, but I'd like to. Suitner recorded a good deal of Mozart with the Staatskapelle, which, as mentioned, the orchestra excels at. I've also not heard any of Christian Thielemann's recent recordings, but I'm uncertain about whether I want to or not, as I have concerns that the Staatskapelle isn't the orchestra it used to be--in comparison to the 1970s & early 80s, and I don't want to be disappointed, as I was with some recordings by Sinopoli and Luisi (although that may have been more due to the average

    My 25 cents.
    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you Josquin.
    Last week I had pulled my Kempe set of Strauss recordings off the shelf and played a chunk of them. It had been a few years since
    I had last played them and my system had gone through a few upgrades and they sounded so marvelous. I regularly play the Sanderling Brahms , the Blomstedt Beethoven and Schubert cycles, and as excellent as they are, I do think the Strauss really is on a different plane. It was glorious and idiomatic.

    I do think your post gives short shrift to Blomstedt Schubert &Beethoven cycles. One can argues that the conducting is a bit stodgy here and there, but again, the Orchestral sonority and clarity has its own rewards.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you Josquin.
    Last week I had pulled my Kempe set of Strauss recordings off the shelf and played a chunk of them. It had been a few years since
    I had last played them and my system had gone through a few upgrades and they sounded so marvelous. I regularly play the Sanderling Brahms , the Blomstedt Beethoven and Schubert cycles, and as excellent as they are, I do think the Strauss really is on a different plane. It was glorious and idiomatic.

    I do think your post gives short shrift to Blomstedt Schubert &Beethoven cycles. One can argues that the conducting is a bit stodgy here and there, but again, the Orchestral sonority and clarity has its own rewards.
    I’m all for the Blomstedt Schubert and Beethoven — my favorite Beethoven Ninth!
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-16-2019 at 12:06.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    The Blomstedt/Dresden Schubert cycle is excellent, especially the Unfinished. The Sawallisch set is really good too. They might be the best orchestra for Schubert.

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    comment removed
    Last edited by larold; Jul-17-2019 at 14:27.

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