Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
387 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm looking for a good studio recording of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in stereo. I've done a little research and I'm leaning towards either the Wolfgang Sawallisch recording from 1993 or Herbert von Karajan's from 1970. Ernst Jochum's seems to have more split reviews. But I'm not sure, and that's where you come in! If anyone has any advice and a preference for any of these recordings (or maybe for another I haven't listed) I'd love to hear it.

Fire away Wagnerites.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1QECF7FDD4L9V/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

I agree with this guy. The only people who don't recommend Kubelík's Meistersinger are the ones who have never heard it. It isn't just the best Meistersinger, it's the best Meistersinger by a colossus mile. It's probably the only Wagner recording that I would consider to be perfect from the top till the bottom. Unfortunately for various reasons it doesn't get the respect it deserves, along with Kubelik's Lohengrin and Parsifal.

I'll add that Karajan's Meistersinger is weak, you can do far better than Theo Adam/Rene Kolo and it's one of the weaker Wagner efforts from Karajan. In fact Jochum and Solti had weak Han Sachs too which makes recommending them difficult, although overall they are still good recordings. I haven't heard Sawallisch's recording so I can't comment on it.

I highly recommend this top notch Meistersinger DVD too:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Die-Me...=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1265962461&sr=8-4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
I won't argue about Adam, but what's wrong with Kolo? He has great voice and fits his character.
The fact that he's less of a heldentenor than even Windgassen? I have to agree that Walther is probably the Wagner role which suits Kolo the best, and overall he's an decent Walther, but I would hesitate to describe him as being better than decent. Heppner/Kónya + arguably Domingo are just flat out incredible and are on another level.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
387 Posts
Not that long ago, I made my preference known in this post.
See image at bottom of post.
[Though Sawallisch would be my runner-up choice.]
Oh yes, I actually own this recording. But since it was recorded from live performance I was looking for a studio version of the opera to supplement it. And part of the reason I was interested in the Sawallisch was because it also features Ben Heppner, who I love as Walther, and because it supposedly features a crisp, clear sound.

I agree with this guy. The only people who don't recommend Kubelík's Meistersinger are the ones who have never heard it. It isn't just the best Meistersinger, it's the best Meistersinger by a colossus mile. It's probably the only Wagner recording that I would consider to be perfect from the top till the bottom. Unfortunately for various reasons it doesn't get the respect it deserves, along with Kubelik's Lohengrin and Parsifal.

I'll add that Karajan's Meistersinger is weak, you can do far better than Theo Adam/Rene Kolo and it's one of the weaker Wagner efforts from Karajan. In fact Jochum and Solti had weak Han Sachs too which makes recommending them difficult, although overall they are still good recordings. I haven't heard Sawallisch's recording so I can't comment on it.

I highly recommend this top notch Meistersinger DVD too:
Your insights have been very helpful, thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
I have gotten my hands on the Sawallisch Meistersinger.... I can confirm that Sawallisch's conducting is far superior to Solti's questionable approach (I have always hated most of the Wagner he conducts, IMHO he has the touch of a zombie and all the intricacy of Wagner's score seems lost to him). But I must say I am very disappointed by Weikl... he was much better than the 1982 Stein Meistersinger, and he's clearly past his prime here, 12 years later. I still recommend Kubelík's Meistersinger as the one to get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,928 Posts
As a further aid to the Original Poster and anyone else interested in some available review-surveys,
I thought I'd run a "Win/Place" comparison between some of the major review sources:

BBC "Building a Library:"- 1. Solti-Vienna 2. Jochum
Gramophone 2005- 1. Kubelik 2. Sawallisch
Penguin Guide 2009- 1. Solti-Chicago 2. Kubelik
Third Ear/Classical Music (Morin, ed.)- 1. Kubelik 2. Karajan
NPR Encycolpedia (Libbey)- 1. Jochum 2. Solti-Chicago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
You know what, the more I listen to Sawallisch's Meistersinger, the more I like it. If you were impressed by Heppner's performance in Solti's Meistersinger, Sawallisch's Meistersinger is a must have for you because Heppner is FAR more impressive there, with much more maturity and not having to deal with Solti's questionable conducting. And Studer's a really good Eva, possibly the best Eva I have ever heard. Compared to Kubelík's Meistersinger the Sawallisch Meistersinger has the advantage of a significantly better David and Beckmesser. My opinions of Weikl's Sachs has risen since my first listen, he still isn't near the best Sachs you can get and his performance in the 1982 Stein Meistersinger is still better but I guess he's overall a decent Sachs, far better than a lot of Sachs out there. So I certainly can recommend Sawallisch's Meistersinger, I would still give the slight edge of Kubelík's Meistersinger for the better Sachs but Sawallisch's Meistersinger is still a terrific Meistersinger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,011 Posts
Scythavatar, I couldn't disagree more with you about Solti's Wagner. He is without a doubt one of the alltime great Wagner conductors, and although I greatly admire such other great Wagnerians as Karajan,Furtwangler,Knappertsbusch,Kempe etc ,I feel that none of them have anything on Solti.
I've just been listening to his Lohengrin,with Domingo, Norman, Nimsgern and Sotin, and this
is as good as any Lohengrin I've ever heard, and I recommend it highly.
I haven't heard the Kubelik Meistersinger, but given its acclaim would really like to.
All these Meistersingers, whether by Solti, Jochum (Eugen,not Ernst), Karajan etc are recommendable. If you can find the mono Kempe/Berlin Phil recording from the 50s on EMI, grab it.
It's a truly great recording, and the Knappertsbusch/VPO Decca recording has its admirers,too, but I haven't heard it.
For truly awful Wagner by a conductor without a clue as to what his music is about, try the English language Ring,now on Chandos by the vastly overrated Reginald Goodall.
It's a real snoozefest. His conducting is so lethargic and labored as to be beyond belief ; I've seen giant tree sloths with more energy. Goodall makes a complete hash out of the tempo relationships and conducts everything at a uniform glacial pace.
I haven't heard his English language Meistersinger just issued by Chandos, but if it's anything like his somnolent Ring, pass it up.
Unfortunately, Christian Thielemann was going to record Die Meistersinger with Bryn Terfel as Sach for DG, but the project was axed for financial reasons. Possibly he can record it in
Dresden,where he's set to take over soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Well, I know that my opinion on Solti's wagner isn't a popular one, and there are several Lohengrins which IMHO beat Solti's Lohengrin (Abbado's is clearly the best of them all) but I do have to disagree that these Meistersingers, whether by Solti, Jochum, Karajan etc are recommendable. The standards of Han Sachs on recording is generally pathetic; Van Dam and Theo Adam are clearly too light for the role, while Di Fi is worse than too light, he's just plain unlistenable and has the acting of a rock. The Jochum is a really weak recording that's only worth getting for Domingo's Walter (and it's a pity that he did not do that role again because it's a role that seems suits him more than any Wagner role). The Karajan has even less positives to say about. The Solti overall is decent but could be better.

Besides the Kubelik and Sawallisch there is another Meistersinger I have heard recently that's worth checking out: the highly underrated Haitink Meistersinger with the Royal Opera House. John Tomlinson's Sachs is simply the best Sachs I have ever heard, those who liked him in his Barenboim ring must get this recording. The rest of the cast is very strong too, although Gösta Winbergh I guess could have been better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,011 Posts
Fischer-Dieskau has the acting of a rock? That's news to me ! He's probably the most expressive singer of all time ! This is like saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a puny weakling or that Jascha Heifetz couldn't play the violin, or that Angelina Jolie is hideously ugly !
Wow ! And Sachs does not have to be sung by a big,beefy bass. (how's that for alliteration?).
I've heard the Abbado Lohengrin, and it's very fine but not better than the Solti.
No, you're hardly alone in not liking Solti's Wagner. Quite a few other critics don't like it.
But I've never agreed with them. But it's too bad he didn't live long enough to re-record Tristan, which he was planning to do shortly before he passed away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Fischer-Dieskau has the acting of a rock? That's news to me ! He's probably the most expressive singer of all time ! This is like saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a puny weakling or that Jascha Heifetz couldn't play the violin, or that Angelina Jolie is hideously ugly !
Wow ! And Sachs does not have to be sung by a big,beefy bass. (how's that for alliteration?).
Uh, Fischer-Dieskau is the baritone equivalent of Karajan/Perlman, early Fi Di is very good and one of the greatest baritone of all time, late Fi Di has polished himself so much that he sings opera as if he's singing Lieders. His Meistersinger is easily the worst performance from him I have ever heard. And he is certainly more of a baritone than a bass baritone.

Sachs does not have to be sung by a big,beefy bass but he has to be sung by someone with enough weight to sound authoritative and powerful. That's why his role is a bass baritone, the person singing him has to be both a light bass and a heavy baritone. In that aspect far too many bass baritones in the 70's/80's seem to fall short of.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,481 Posts
Heppner/Kónya + arguably Domingo are just flat out incredible and are on another level.
Stumbled across this thread again and can't belive someone could take those two as better than Kollo.

- 3:59 - 4:54 - what is that, "another level"?

Noone has the expression of Kollo in this opera and this particular piece, it's sad that other singers and sometimes even Karajan (in the overture) fail to do their best but I can't imagine to enjoy any other interpretation simply because compared to Kollo no singer seem to actually interpret the piece at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Stumbled across this thread again and can't belive someone could take those two as better than Kollo.

- 3:59 - 4:54 - what is that, "another level"?

Noone has the expression of Kollo in this opera and this particular piece, it's sad that other singers and sometimes even Karajan (in the overture) fail to do their best but I can't imagine to enjoy any other interpretation simply because compared to Kollo no singer seem to actually interpret the piece at all.
It is another level, Kollo has never been anything more than a subpar henertenor, just compare how thin his vocals are to a true henertenor like Konya. And in any case he is not the biggest weak link of the Karajan recording, there's no way you could argue that Theo Adam tried to "actually interpret the piece". If you are a big Kollo fan you might as well get the extremely underrated first Solti Meistersinger, which has a very good Sachs in Norman Bailey and one of the best Beckmesser out there with Weikl. And it is before Solti watered down this Wagner sound to death.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,481 Posts
It is another level, Kollo has never been anything more than a subpar henertenor
I think that heldentenor is too abstract term to use term like "supbar" + why supbar singer would be so often choosen for heroic roles by major conductors like Karajan and Solti? To me his timbre is essence of "Held".

compare how thin his vocals are to a true henertenor like Konya.
Konya sounds dry to me, at least in the recording that I've posted. Kollo extracts everything that there is to extract in this aria, every phrase he sings is exalted and juicy, it's like sudden overturn of trousers to the other side, his timbre is much more of character that he plays. His performance with Karajan gives full and perfect vision of triumph of art and stuff, not only personal side of this piece.

If you are a big Kollo fan you might as well get the extremely underrated first Solti Meistersinger, which has a very good Sachs in Norman Bailey and one of the best Beckmesser out there with Weikl. And it is before Solti watered down this Wagner sound to death.
I've heard it in fragments and main role didn't sound as good as in Karajan's rec. But thanks for reminding me, I will surely get the full recording by first opportunity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,737 Posts
Not that long ago, I made my preference known in this post.
See image at bottom of post.
[Though Sawallisch would be my runner-up choice.]
I have Solti and am not fond of it. Much prefer Sawallisch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HenryPenfold
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top