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Thread: Jon Vickers Birthday

  1. #16
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    Can anyone confirm if its true or a lie, that when Jon Vickers sang Parsifal at Baytreuth with Knappertsbusch, he insisted on taking the living Kundry up into the shrine at the end of Act III, as a feminist gesture? (Redemption is for everyone, not just the lads.)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-31-2019 at 09:42.

  2. #17
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Has anyone heard his Winterreise? When I worked for the Music Discount Centre, I remember the head of mail order telling me it was both the greatest and worst performance of the cycle he had ever heard.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    Has anyone heard his Winterreise? When I worked for the Music Discount Centre, I remember the head of mail order telling me it was both the greatest and worst performance of the cycle he had ever heard.

    There are two. The studio one is well worth hearing, it's with Geoffrey Parsons. I enjoyed the live one much less. This is the one to get

    719MRHpoQnL._SL1419_.jpg


    Clearly the voice of an opera singer trying to hold back a bit!
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-31-2019 at 11:58.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    There are two. The studio one is well worth hearing, it's with Geoffrey Parsons. I enjoyed the live one much less. This is the one to get

    719MRHpoQnL._SL1419_.jpg
    I agree. I wouldn't want to have this is my only recording of the work, but it's certainly unique.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post

    No studio Parsifal
    True, but the 1964 Bayreuth performance is in pretty good sound (although monaural), and the Met issued a 1985 broadcast performance in excellent sound, with Rysanek and Moll, Levine conducting:

    parsifal_vickers.jpg

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  9. #21
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    There are two. The studio one is well worth hearing, it's with Geoffrey Parsons. I enjoyed the live one much less. This is the one to get

    719MRHpoQnL._SL1419_.jpg


    Clearly the voice of an opera singer trying to hold back a bit!
    Tristan meets Franz Schubert! It is overdone but most interesting. You won't fall asleep! The nearest recent equivalent would be Kaufmann.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-31-2019 at 14:52.

  10. #22
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    walkure karajan.jpg

    One of the great performances by Vickers opposite the haunting Sieglinde of Janowitz and magnetic Brunnhilde of Crespin. Then there is the BPO roaring through the storms and with almost supernatural beauty in the death announcement scene

  11. #23
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    Truth be told, he couldn't handle it. It didn't mesh with his fach.

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  13. #24
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    walkure karajan.jpg

    One of the great performances by Vickers opposite the haunting Sieglinde of Janowitz and magnetic Brunnhilde of Crespin. Then there is the BPO roaring through the storms and with almost supernatural beauty in the death announcement scene
    This must be the most deliriously over-the-top description of an unevenly cast, basically very good but not earth-shaking recording I've ever read. "Great," "haunting," "magnetic," roaring," "supernatural"... Sheesh!

    A slight attempt at objectivity and balance may be in order. Vickers is by far the best thing here; he is indeed superb as Siegmund, IMO the best since Melchior. Josephine Veasey is a solid but not exceptional Fricka; she's no Christa Ludwig, and definitely no Margarete Klose, who really shows how to put a god in his place in the celebrated 1930s act two with Marta Fuchs and Hans Hotter. Thomas Stewart, of course, isn't Hotter, or a heroic bass-baritone of any sort, but with the help of the recording studio he's able to give a well-sung, well-conceived portrayal of Wotan. As Brunnhilde, Regine Crespin is warm and sympathetic; whether her suavely urbane timbre evokes the mythical world of thunderclouds and mountain heights for you, or whether it matters, will be an individual matter. Her high notes don't exactly ring out. Finally, the suitability of the cut-glass, virginally pure lyric soprano of Gundula Janowitz is certainly questionable; again, it's at least loud enough for the microphone, but I find it basically inexpressive, and her portrayal unimaginative and not at all "mesmerizing." Sieglinde belongs to the heroic race of the Volsungs; she is Wotan's daughter and Siegmund's sister. She's a victim of brutality, but surely no pipsqueak. Vickers sounds as if he could eat her alive. That leaves Karajan, whose approach to Wagner I find a bit calculated and mannered. If orchestral suavity is important to your view of the Ring, he does offer that.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-31-2019 at 16:54.

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  15. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    A slight attempt at objectivity and balance may be in order. Vickers is by far the best thing here
    The same thing goes for Karajan's studio Tristan as far as I'm concerned; in fact I find that recording rather rich and overripe, and Vickers' performance is the only reason I actually keep it on the shelf.
    Last edited by Byron; Oct-31-2019 at 18:10.

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  17. #26
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Why talk about ‘objectivity and balance’ when assessing recordings? Do we mean seeing things our way?. The fact is we all have our preferences about the way we like things done. We can be objective about the notes played and whatever but how the music is interpreted is a matter of personal taste within limits. I know there are people who do not care for Vickers’ Siegmund or his Tristan and positively faint at his Wintereisse. We take for granted when a commercial company puts out a recording that the notes are there in order - but much of the rest is subjective assessment.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-31-2019 at 18:51.

  18. #27
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    By ‘objectivity and balance’ one presumably means ‘agreeing with me’?
    More like "disagreeing with you."

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Not being pedantic (he lied ) but Dernesch was, of course, singing Isolde on that occasion! Funny but I don't find her squally at all. She wasn't at her best being ill for the recording but I certainly love the humanity she brings to the part. Nor do I find the conducting dull. But it's amazing how people react differently to this set. A live performance is available on Eterna with the same cast - don't know whether anyone has heard it.
    Thanks for the correction, but she is all over the place she might as well have been singing Brunhilde!

    N.

  20. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Thanks for the correction, but she is all over the place she might as well have been singing Brunhilde!

    N.
    Dernesch has a lachrymose - or pained, or crying - quality in her tone that others might describe as "vulnerable," if they notice it. It gives all her portrayals a certain sad tone which generally annoys me. I suppose this is what DavidA means by the "humanity" of her Isolde. Isolde, however, is the proud daughter of a queen and a healer, a woman who calls on the sea to sink ships and who would administer a death potion to her lover and herself rather than submit to abuse by men and a loveless life. She has plenty to complain about, but she isn't the lachrymose type. Add to that the squeal - rather than the peal - of her notes above the staff, and she's no match for Vickers.

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  22. #30
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Thanks for the correction, but she is all over the place she might as well have been singing Brunhilde!

    N.
    Sorry but you are obviously listening to a different recording to mine! As one reviewer admitted: ‘ Dernesch is encouraged by Karajan to sing many beautiful legato phrases and is often tender in her phrasing’.

    And another review on a Wagnerian website:
    'Helga Dernesch sings a glorious Isolde, equally at home with the revenging princess of Act I as with the ecstatic lover of Acts II and III. As I mentioned in my Karajan-ring reviews, she possesses much of the cleaving- power that Birgit Nilsson also has, which makes Ms. Dernesch a feast to listen to.'

    She is certainly not all over the place according to these guys (or me). Thine ears deceive thee! Check for wax?
    Last edited by DavidA; Nov-01-2019 at 10:19.

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