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What's your favorite Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg?

  • Barenboim: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1999 live recording)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Furtwängler: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1943 live recording)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Goodall: Sadlers Wells Chorus & Sadlers Wells Opera Orchestra (in English)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Haitink: Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House (1997 live recording)

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • Jochum; Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus, Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Karajan: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1951 live recording)

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • Karajan: Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Radio Chorus

    Votes: 6 11.3%
  • Kempe: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus

    Votes: 6 11.3%
  • Knappertsbusch: Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra (1960 live recording)

    Votes: 6 11.3%
  • Kubelik: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Chorus

    Votes: 20 37.7%
  • Reiner: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus (1953 live recording)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sawallisch: Bavarian State Orchestra, Bavarian State Opera Chorus

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • Solti: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus

    Votes: 4 7.5%
  • Solti: Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (1995 live recording)

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 7.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This turns out to be one of the trickiest of all Wagner operas to be able to get a satisfactory recording, probably because it requires a large number of good singers who need to be a team: a difficult proposition, especially for a studio recording. I've already made my affinities for the 51 Karajan known (and the 43 Furtwängler if it were complete!), but now let's hear your thoughts. :tiphat:
 

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From the clips I've heard of the 1943 Furtwängler Die Meistersinger on YouTube, the conducting there really is astounding, but without a quintet this couldn't be anyone's first choice. Meistersinger truly deserves to be heard in good, full stereo sound, and that's why Kubelik's is pretty much essential. Kubelik is to my mind a very underrated Wagner conductor, and this might just be his best recording. Kubelik's cast doesn't have any weaknesses, a rarity for recordings of this opera, and he really brings out the warmth and geniality in the score. Kempe's studio recording is very fine as well, although I prefer Sandor Konya's Walther to the Walther of Rudolf Schock.

However, I'm going to throw out a curveball and pick the 1960 Bayreuth Meistersinger from Knappertsbusch. Knappertsbusch was a great Meistersinger man, and this is in my opinion his finest. Elisabeth Grümmer is an exquisite Eva, and Windgassen is a free and attractive Walther. What makes it for me though is the way in which Knappertsbusch is able to generate tremendous excitement through his conducting, especially at the end of each act.
 

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As an interesting side note regarding the Karajan/Dresden recording, this was originally planned for 1968 with John Barbirolli conducting (!) but after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia that year, Rafael Kubelik persuaded Barbirolli to withdraw from the project. The recording was rescheduled for late 1970 but Barbirolli had died earlier that year so Karajan was persuaded to take it over. If this seems a bit odd, note that the recording producer was not Karajan's regular product, but was Ronald Kinloch Anderson, who did Barbirolli's recordings.
 

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However, I'm going to throw out a curveball and pick the 1960 Bayreuth Meistersinger from Knappertsbusch. Knappertsbusch was a great Meistersinger man, and this is in my opinion his finest. Elisabeth Grümmer is an exquisite Eva, and Windgassen is a free and attractive Walther. What makes it for me though is the way in which Knappertsbusch is able to generate tremendous excitement through his conducting, especially at the end of each act.
I have been a fan of this meister for some time now owning the Myto release, I have heard some people say Griendl is too dark & heavy voiced for Sachsy, but I really think he does a fine job....he is supposed to be the older wiser character especially compared to young Walther. For me also Grummer is the Eva to beat, such a pure sweet tone to capture the youthful innocence and enchanting good nature of our darling Eva, much to admire about this version for sure

 

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Meistersinger is the Wagner opera I've listened to the least so my opinion is coming from limited exposure. In short, the 1956 Kempe release by Pristine with Schock, Grummer and Frantz knocked it out of the park for me, over the Kubelik. I listened to Kube first but found the Kempe cast and orchestration superior, especially Schock's "Walther" compared to Konya. Grummer a vocally resplendent "Eva".

(I do have a Naxos compilation of Schorr singing Hans Sachs which is outstanding)
 

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Meistersinger is the Wagner opera I've listened to the least so my opinion is coming from limited exposure. In short, the 1955 Kempe release by Pristine with Schock, Grummer and Frantz knocked it out of the park for me, over the Kubelik. I listened to Kube first but found the Kempe cast and orchestration superior, especially Schock's "Walther" compared to Konya. Grummer a vocally resplendent "Eva".
Much to love about the 56 Kempe (especially with Pristine XR version) Schock is dismissed by some as a mere operetta singer that sings a couple wagner parts but I also really like his Walther, beautiful golden voice and his prize song is one of the very best with warmth and ardor for his beloved Eva (Grummer). I am a bit torn about whether Franz is a top tier Sachs which any reference meister must have, I will have to revisit this to refresh my memory

As some have said the Kubelik with good stereo sound and really solid cast with no obvious weak spots is a universal version that will appeal to many, I would say it is the "best stereo version".......but do any of the individual performances really knock you out or reach reference level...or is it just on balance all things considered the "safe choice" as best, hhmmmm :)
 

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Much to love about the 56 Kempe (especially with Pristine XR version) Schock is dismissed by some as a mere operetta singer that sings a couple wagner parts but I also really like his Walther, beautiful golden voice and his prize song is one of the very best with warmth and ardor for his beloved Eva (Grummer). I am a bit torn about whether Franz is a top tier Sachs which any reference meister must have, I will have to revisit this to refresh my memory

As some have said the Kubelik with good stereo sound and really solid cast with no obvious weak spots is a universal version that will appeal to many, I would say it is the "best stereo version".......but do any of the individual performances really knock you out or reach reference level...or is it just on balance all things considered the "safe choice" as best, hhmmmm :)
Agreed on all counts; Frantz has some shaky moments but Schock sings with ardor and Grummer is angelic...

I need to expand my Meister library...
 

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I need to expand my Meister library...
It's a shame that Haitink's 1997 recording from Covent Garden seems to be out of print:



This is the most successful modern recording of the work that I've heard, in crystal clear sound, and I would otherwise have strongly recommended it to anyone looking to expand their library. John Tomlinson tires a little bit as Sachs by the end of the role, but he gives a heartfelt performance. Gösta Winbergh is a masculine and poetic Walther, and Thomas Allen's Beckmesser is particularly good, beautifully sung with no exaggeration. Haitink's conducting is less fiery than I could wish, but such introspective stretches as the Prelude to Act III are extremely poignant. If this ever comes back on the market, snatch it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's a shame that Haitink's 1997 recording from Covent Garden seems to be out of print:



This is the most successful modern recording of the work that I've heard, in crystal clear sound, and I would otherwise have strongly recommended it to anyone looking to expand their library. John Tomlinson tires a little bit as Sachs by the end of the role, but he gives a heartfelt performance. Gösta Winbergh is a masculine and poetic Walther, and Thomas Allen's Beckmesser is particularly good, beautifully sung with no exaggeration. Haitink's conducting is less fiery than I could wish, but such introspective stretches as the Prelude to Act III are extremely poignant. If this ever comes back on the market, snatch it up.
Actually this is currently available for digital download on iTunes.



 

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Actually this is currently available for digital download on iTunes.



Also available at Presto Classical and 7Digital, both as downloads!
 

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Much to love about the 56 Kempe (especially with Pristine XR version) Schock is dismissed by some as a mere operetta singer that sings a couple wagner parts but I also really like his Walther, beautiful golden voice and his prize song is one of the very best with warmth and ardor for his beloved Eva (Grummer). I am a bit torn about whether Franz is a top tier Sachs which any reference meister must have, I will have to revisit this to refresh my memory

As some have said the Kubelik with good stereo sound and really solid cast with no obvious weak spots is a universal version that will appeal to many, I would say it is the "best stereo version".......but do any of the individual performances really knock you out or reach reference level...or is it just on balance all things considered the "safe choice" as best, hhmmmm :)
I think Janowitz is equal to Grummer or Schwarzkopf, my picks for top Evas, and Konya is only matched by Heppner as Walther. Stewart isn't my favorite Sachs, but he's very good.

I find Greindl as Sachs or Gurnemanz or any non-sinister character completely unconvincing. He has ruined many a Parsifal and Meistersinger for me.
 

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I have been a fan of this meister for some time now owning the Myto release, I have heard some people say Griendl is too dark & heavy voiced for Sachsy, but I really think he does a fine job....he is supposed to be the older wiser character especially compared to young Walther. For me also Grummer is the Eva to beat, such a pure sweet tone to capture the youthful innocence and enchanting good nature of our darling Eva, much to admire about this version for sure

Anyone know if there is a substantial difference in sound quality on the Myto vs the Orfeo?
 

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Anyone know if there is a substantial difference in sound quality on the Myto vs the Orfeo?
I own the Orfeo, and from what I remember from the samples I've heard of the Myto I feel like the sound quality on the Orfeo is definitely superior. Of course it's also more pricey. :lol:

Regarding Greindl, I'm with DA. He may be a gruff sounding Sachs, but he knew how to shape and contour his voice and I think he manages the part very well indeed. It's not like he's singing the role with the same kind of menace as he did with Hagen.
 

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I own the Orfeo, and from what I remember from the samples I've heard of the Myto I feel like the sound quality on the Orfeo is definitely superior. Of course it's also more pricey. :lol:

Regarding Greindl, I'm with DA. He may be a gruff sounding Sachs, but he knew how to shape and contour his voice and I think he manages the part very well indeed. It's not like he's singing the role with the same kind of menace as he did with Hagen.
Anyone know if there is a substantial difference in sound quality on the Myto vs the Orfeo?
The cheaper 60 Meister Myto is still quite good sounding Chefty, if you have the 60 Kempe Ring Myto it is basically same sound quality level...... Orfeo does have the nice booklet however and authorized direct access to Bavarian Radio tapes

I have heard some people say Griendl is too dark & heavy voiced for Sachsy
I find Greindl as Sachs or Gurnemanz or any non-sinister character completely unconvincing. He has ruined many a Parsifal and Meistersinger for me.
My bait to bring out HFT worked like a charm ha ha.......:)
I remembered a long time ago when mentioning that meister he didn't care for Greindl's Sachs
 

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By the way, there are a trio of classic recordings with Paul Schoffler; I'm surprised none of them appear here, I'd put all three of these just behind the Kubelik as among the most satisfying recordings

Abendroth/Schoffler/Scheppan/Suthaus
Bohm/Schoffler/Seefried/Dermota
Knappertsbusch/Schoffler/Guden/Treptow
 
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