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Thread: I HATE studio recordings!

  1. #46
    Member Music Snob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    This is true even for orchestra-heavy operas such as Wagner's and Strauss's. I'll listen to a magnificently sung Tristan or Ring with a routine conductor, but can't put up with mediocre singing/acting in principal roles. A vocally unpleasant Kundry can ruin Parsifal for me (which is why I don't care to hear the Karajan or Boulez recordings again, and even avoid the early Bayreuth offerings with Martha Modl).

    We are on the same page. For instance, I love Kna’s conducting of early 50’s Parsifal and his Ring cycle. However, Aldenhoff ruins the 51 Gotterdammerung for me and Windgassen passes as an acceptable Parsifal just barely for my tastes. Often I go back to hear Flagstad and Melchior and savor almost every note of their singing... but the conducting isn’t always that great to my ears.

    On a Mozartean note, countless Cosi’s are ruined for me with poor singing.

    As for the thread topic with Wagner nothing beats the live Bayreuth sound for me.

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  3. #47
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    Words or music? Singers or orchestra? Individual arias or the dramatic whole? Sounds like Richard Strauss' Capriccio.

    I don't have a firm preference for live or studio recordings, although I agree with Music Snob that for Wagner, live from Bayreuth is best.

    What I find in the best recordings is a sense of the stars aligning, of everything coming together, and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The 1962 Kna' Parsifal is an example. The music dies away and I think "what a night that must have been ".

    In the studio, Callas' first Tosca (de Sabata) or von Karajan's Falstaff for EMI provide an experience not likely to be bettered in the opera house.

    I don't know what causes the magic lightning to strike, either in the opera house or the recording studio. Maybe the inspired producer understands the alchemy better the marketing director, but what else?

    Do other people have suggestions for recordings where everything came together just right?
    Last edited by Fredrikalansson; Jun-17-2020 at 05:01.

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  5. #48
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrikalansson View Post
    Words or music? Singers or orchestra? Individual arias or the dramatic whole? Sounds like Richard Strauss' Capriccio.

    I don't have a firm preference for live or studio recordings, although I agree with Music Snob that for Wagner, live from Bayreuth is best.

    What I find in the best recordings is a sense of the stars aligning, of everything coming together, and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The 1962 Kna' Parsifal is an example. The music dies away and I think "what a night that must have been ".

    In the studio, Callas' first Tosca (de Sabata) or von Karajan's Falstaff for EMI provide an experience not likely to be bettered in the opera house.

    I don't know what causes the magic lightning to strike, either in the opera house or the recording studio. Maybe the inspired producer understands the alchemy better the marketing director, but what else?

    Do other people have suggestions for recordings where everything came together just right?
    There used to be a Gramophone magazine entitled (paraphrase) “the best 75 opera recordings” or something like that that listed the best 75 opera recordings, according to Gramophone magazine critics (of course). The usual suspects, including the De Sabata Tosca, the Karajan Der Rosenkavalier, the Solti Der Ring des Nibelungen , the Klemperer Fidelio , all of the most acclaimed recordings.

  6. #49
    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    There used to be a Gramophone magazine entitled (paraphrase) “the best 75 opera recordings” or something like that that listed the best 75 opera recordings, according to Gramophone magazine critics (of course). The usual suspects, including the De Sabata Tosca, the Karajan Der Rosenkavalier, the Solti Der Ring des Nibelungen , the Klemperer Fidelio , all of the most acclaimed recordings.
    I found two photos of the cover and list of operas included in the “75 greatest recordings of all time.”
    ED3A0CB3-E1C5-4CC9-99E4-EEE81AA743EB.jpg 5F7B4A11-7BF3-4F69-B93D-849ACE7BD6CC.jpg

    Click on the photo once, and then again to augment the image.
    Last edited by MAS; Jun-19-2020 at 17:35.

  7. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuoksu View Post
    Am I the only one who strongly dislikes studio recordings? They leave me utterly unsatisfied, and that's for two main reasons:
    1. The recording process in itself: the more intimate approach captures mostly just the "core" of the voice, leaving out a big part of the voice that you hear better in live recordings.
    2. The singers tone things down a bit too much. Callas talked about this and compared it to acting: when you're in the studio, like in film, you have to make things much smaller and more detailed and subtle, unlike on the stage. But I don't think that works for Opera! I mean a great part of this comes down to the type of repertoire I like. I'm sure Mozart fans would prefer cleaner recordings "all'acqua e sapone" like Gencer put it, unlike Verdi and Verismo fans for instance. But still, I think it misses the whole point of Opera. It must be intense and thrilling.
    Well you did make an exception for Mozart recordings, but all I can think of was my great disappointment when I brought home the Mitropolous Don Giovanni from the live Radio Archives of Salzburg Festival of 1956. Excellent performances but just so bad sound.
    I've learned to avoid live recordings after this, except, of course for DVDs.
    BTW, Mozart can also be"intense and thrilling," but he often gives you a break from the intensity, not unlike when Verdi stops all the action for "Di quella pira."
    Both composers in my short list of Top 5, including instrumental music.
    Last edited by Donna Elvira; Jun-28-2020 at 11:55.

  8. #51
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuoksu View Post
    Am I the only one who strongly dislikes studio recordings? They leave me utterly unsatisfied, and that's for two main reasons:
    1. The recording process in itself: the more intimate approach captures mostly just the "core" of the voice, leaving out a big part of the voice that you hear better in live recordings.
    2. The singers tone things down a bit too much. Callas talked about this and compared it to acting: when you're in the studio, like in film, you have to make things much smaller and more detailed and subtle, unlike on the stage. But I don't think that works for Opera! I mean a great part of this comes down to the type of repertoire I like. I'm sure Mozart fans would prefer cleaner recordings "all'acqua e sapone" like Gencer put it, unlike Verdi and Verismo fans for instance. But still, I think it misses the whole point of Opera. It must be intense and thrilling.
    I'm just the opposite, for the same reasons. I can't stand all that reverberation of a voice in a hall.

  9. #52
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuoksu View Post
    Am I the only one who strongly dislikes studio recordings? They leave me utterly unsatisfied, and that's for two main reasons:
    1. The recording process in itself: the more intimate approach captures mostly just the "core" of the voice, leaving out a big part of the voice that you hear better in live recordings.
    Live recordings are still recordings, subject to many of the same flaws as studio recordings. Voices that record poorly in the "studio" (which are generally the same venues in which live performances are given), also come across poorly in live recordings.

    I must add that some of the recordings that we call "studio recordings" aren't anything of the sort - they're recorded live, and possibly patched later to cover more glaring errors - e.g. the second Solti Meistersinger.

  10. #53
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donna Elvira View Post
    Well you did make an exception for Mozart recordings, but all I can think of was my great disappointment when I brought home the Mitropolous Don Giovanni from the live Radio Archives of Salzburg Festival of 1956. Excellent performances but just so bad sound.
    We have very different standards for what constitutes "bad sound". This Mitropoulos Don Giovanni is such a fabulous performance that I don't even notice the sonics. I assume that you heard the commercial issue on RCA, which is presumably vastly superior to previous unofficial incarnations.

    dg.jpg

  11. #54
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    Until very recent time, live recordings are of poor sound quality, which omits more details of the voice and diction, unfortunately.

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