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I don't like Levine, who puts me to sleep. Maybe his live Bayreuth version has more life in it, but I'm not eager to find out. I don't return to the '51 Kna any more because neither Modl nor Windgassen pleases my ear. I can take her opposite Vinay in the Krauss, a fine version overall. The Gui is for Callas. The '62 Kna is the one I tend to recommend as a library basic, but among studio recordings the Kubelik stands out. If I were buying CDs I'd get the Kubelik, the '64 Kna for Vickers, and the Solti for Christa Ludwig's Kundry, Gottlob Frick's Gurnemanz, and magnificent sound (the act one transformation and temple scene never sounded better).
Very much agree about the Solti.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I don't like Levine, who puts me to sleep. Maybe his live Bayreuth version has more life in it, but I'm not eager to find out. I don't return to the '51 Kna any more because neither Modl nor Windgassen pleases my ear. I can take her opposite Vinay in the Krauss, a fine version overall. The Gui is for Callas. The '62 Kna is the one I tend to recommend as a library basic, but among studio recordings the Kubelik stands out. If I were buying CDs I'd get the Kubelik, the '64 Kna for Vickers, and the Solti for Christa Ludwig's Kundry, Gottlob Frick's Gurnemanz, and magnificent sound (the act one transformation and temple scene never sounded better).
Gosh, i guess i really love this opera. i love both Levine's.
i like the Philips one best.
i like Parsifal slow. It sounds best to me that way.
I bathe in it. :)
 

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Gosh, i guess i really love this opera. i love both Levine's.
i like the Philips one best.
i like Parsifal slow. It sounds best to me that way.
I bathe in it. :)
You would have loved the Met performance I saw at the Met in 1992. It started at 6:00 and didn't finish until well after midnight. Much slower than even Levine's two commercial recordings.

I keep the Solti mostly for Ludwig's Kundry, probably the best on record. But the rest of the cast is seriously flawed, particularly Kollo and Fischer-Dieskau. The latter never really had enough voice for Amfortas, and by the time this was recorded, his light baritone was even thinner than it was when he sang the role at Bayreuth. Frick is a fine Gurnemanz, but the recorded competition - Hotter, Moll, Weber, Pape, and Robert Lloyd - is pretty stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
^^^^^ I could see a 5 hour Parsifal with intermissions stretching it that long
 

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Listening to the 1954 Bayreuth recording with Greindl in majestic form as Gurnemanz. The rest of the cast are pretty impressive too. Even Frau Mödl is in good voice before the problems that plagued her in later years. I think even Woodduck would be seduced by this Kundry!;). As good a Parsifal as you would like to hear in excellent mono sound. Recommended.

Parsifal- Windgassen
Gurnemanz -Greindl
Kundry - Mödl
Amfortas - Hotter
Titurel - Adam
Klingsor - Neidlinger
Conductor - Knappertsbusch
 
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Listening to the 1954 Bayreuth recording with Greindl in majestic form as Gurnemanz. The rest of the cast are pretty impressive too. Even Frau Mödl is in good voice before the problems that plagued her in later years. I think even Woodduck would be seduced by this Kundry!;). As good a Parsifal as you would like to hear in excellent mono sound. Recommended.

Parsifal- Windgassen
Gurnemanz -Greindl
Kundry - Mödl
Amfortas - Hotter
Titurel - Adam
Klingsor - Neidlinger
Conductor - Knappertsbusch
What label is that on? :angel:
 

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I have Knappertsbusch from ‘51 and ‘62, and Barenboim. After reading this thread I realize how few I really own :lol:

I’m pretty satisfied with the ones I have so far, but I was thinking that my next Parsifal might be Kubelik’s. But, I can’t find the CD anywhere. Is it OOP?
 

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I keep the Solti mostly for Ludwig's Kundry, probably the best on record. But the rest of the cast is seriously flawed, particularly Kollo and Fischer-Dieskau. The latter never really had enough voice for Amfortas, and by the time this was recorded, his light baritone was even thinner than it was when he sang the role at Bayreuth. Frick is a fine Gurnemanz, but the recorded competition - Hotter, Moll, Weber, Pape, and Robert Lloyd - is pretty stiff.
You've sent me back to Solti's recording to compare your judgment to my memories and present perception. Spot-listening, I like it a bit more than you do.

Though not a fan of Fischer-D's ventures into heldenbariton territory - or even of his voice in general - I have to say, listening again, that I like him more than I did originally, and that his eloquence in Amfortas's monologues overcomes my reservations. I can't recall any singer finding such a wealth of nuance in the words and music, and he supplies an exemplary legato line as well. These are virtues of a great Lieder singer, and I'm much moved by what I hear. As with F-D's Gunther in the Solti Gotterdammerung, Amfortas emerges as noble but also oversensitive and weak - exactly the character Wagner gives us.

Zoltan Kelemen is another singer who hasn't the vocal fulness and heft of such great predecessors as Hermann Uhde and Gustav Neidlinger, but I have to say that his Klingsor is very effectively neurotic, perverse rather than merely nasty, making good use of a voice that's naturally brittle and edgy. Good character casting, reminiscent of Gerhard Stolze's Mime.

It was Kollo's rather colorless, unheroic voice that was for me the main disappointment of the recording. Listening now, I still find it so. He's an intelligent artist, and his intentions are good; he just needs more voice. I might prefer him to Peter Hoffmann, who, together with the mediocre Dunja Vejzovic (sp?) makes Karajan's cast, to my mind, more seriously flawed than Solti's. A weakish Parsifal is a liability, but a weakish Parsifal and a dismal Kundry together pretty much screw the whole second act.

Solti's major failing is in shaping and sustaining momentum over Wagner's long, conversational passages. That can be felt here, but where there's a clearly marked formal structure, e.g., in the temple scene and orchestral passages, he does nicely. The Vienna Philharmonic and choirs play and sing splendidly, and Decca's engineering fully captures the beauty of the score.
 

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It was Kollo's rather colorless, unheroic voice that was for me the main disappointment of the recording. Listening now, I still find it so. He's an intelligent artist, and his intentions are good; he just needs more voice. I might prefer him to Peter Hoffmann, who, together with the mediocre Dunja Vejzovic (sp?) makes Karajan's cast, to my mind, more seriously flawed than Solti's. A weakish Parsifal is a liability, but a weakish Parsifal and a dismal Kundry together pretty much screw the whole second act.
I agree with you here - I can't remember the last time I listened to the second act of the Karajan. But I think that the Karajan is much stronger in the first and third acts - he keeps momentum in a way that Solti doesn't, and the presence of Moll and van Dam counts for a lot in those acts.
 

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You've sent me back to Solti's recording to compare your judgment to my memories and present perception. Spot-listening, I like it a bit more than you do.

Though not a fan of Fischer-D's ventures into heldenbariton territory - or even of his voice in general - I have to say, listening again, that I like him more than I did originally, and that his eloquence in Amfortas's monologues overcomes my reservations. I can't recall any singer finding such a wealth of nuance in the words and music, and he supplies an exemplary legato line as well. These are virtues of a great Lieder singer, and I'm much moved by what I hear. As with F-D's Gunther in the Solti Gotterdammerung, Amfortas emerges as noble but also oversensitive and weak - exactly the character Wagner gives us.

Zoltan Kelemen is another singer who hasn't the vocal fulness and heft of such great predecessors as Hermann Uhde and Gustav Neidlinger, but I have to say that his Klingsor is very effectively neurotic, perverse rather than merely nasty, making good use of a voice that's naturally brittle and edgy. Good character casting, reminiscent of Gerhard Stolze's Mime.

It was Kollo's rather colorless, unheroic voice that was for me the main disappointment of the recording. Listening now, I still find it so. He's an intelligent artist, and his intentions are good; he just needs more voice. I might prefer him to Peter Hoffmann, who, together with the mediocre Dunja Vejzovic (sp?) makes Karajan's cast, to my mind, more seriously flawed than Solti's. A weakish Parsifal is a liability, but a weakish Parsifal and a dismal Kundry together pretty much screw the whole second act.

Solti's major failing is in shaping and sustaining momentum over Wagner's long, conversational passages. That can be felt here, but where there's a clearly marked formal structure, e.g., in the temple scene and orchestral passages, he does nicely. The Vienna Philharmonic and choirs play and sing splendidly, and Decca's engineering fully captures the beauty of the score.
And what are your thoughts on Gottlob Frick's Gurnemanz? Solti's Parsifal was the first recording of this great opera I ever listened too, and while I've always been in awe of the orchestral passages and the choral singing, I've always feet slightly let down by Frick's singing. I still find it good, even more when I remember that he was then 66 years old, but Gurnemanz being one of my favourite vocal part, I prefer singers with more steadiness and vocal heft to portray him. Maybe Frick could have better displayed these qualities in a recording done earlier in his career, and it is a shame he didn't have the chance to .
 

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Solti - This first appeared in the 1970s, and David Hamilton (excellent reviewer for the old High Fidelity magazine) had a comparison - Solti with the forgotten Karl Muck, esp. in the (Preiser's) reissue of Muck in Act III. ... " On rehearing Muck's Act III after several years, I was surprised to find the first scene a bit restless ... However, beginning with the Transformation this reading takes on an intensity that remains - despite the primitive sound (really not that bad, at all ... my note) - simply overwhelming. the Berlin chorus (trained by Hugo Rudel, the Wilhelm Pitz of his day) projects its words with great force, the orchestral tone still comes through as something special (e.g., the silvery trumpet sound that Bostonians of sixty years ago still recall as a Muck trademark), and Bronsgeest is an Amfortas of the London (George, that is) stamp in power and eloquence. Pistor musters something close to Melchior's sense of ecstatic transport despite his obviously inferior resources, and Muck wraps it all up in the final pages, where the momentum never flags yet the playing stays calm and serene; the translucence of sound and texture has not been obscured by the passage of forty-five years." (High Fidelity, August/1973) ....
 

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... Also, from the same review ... "Mostly, what makes it so imposing is Muck's pacing; at every moment, the tempo is, so to speak, CONSCIOUS OF WHERE IT HAS COME FROM AND WHERE IT IS HEADING (my caps). With Solti, the same scene is unfailingly beautiful (and I hope every reader will understand what a remarkable achievement that is), but the funeral chorus is less vehement, and Amfortas' prayer to his father becomes almost narcissistic, sacrificing headway for pathetic effect. By this point, we have lost the thread of the intensity (never as great as Muck's to begin with), and the build-up of Amfortas' final death wish has a long way to climb. Then, lacking the further build-up of a truly masterful tenor monologue, the clinching meditation of the final pages simply does not have nearly as much tension to unravel, does not make such a powerful catharsis as with Muck (or Knappertsbusch)." .... After almost 50 years since this review, I don't think many would disagree, but am sure that the Solti is one of the better ones, after all.
 

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And what are your thoughts on Gottlob Frick's Gurnemanz? Solti's Parsifal was the first recording of this great opera I ever listened too, and while I've always been in awe of the orchestral passages and the choral singing, I've always feet slightly let down by Frick's singing. I still find it good, even more when I remember that he was then 66 years old, but Gurnemanz being one of my favourite vocal part, I prefer singers with more steadiness and vocal heft to portray him. Maybe Frick could have better displayed these qualities in a recording done earlier in his career, and it is a shame he didn't have the chance to .
Sure, he's past his prime. I'm not too bothered. He portrays the character very sensitively. Ludwig Weber was past his best in 1951, as was Hans Hotter in 1962, but they gave fine performances too.
 

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... Also, from the same review ... "Mostly, what makes it so imposing is Muck's pacing; at every moment, the tempo is, so to speak, CONSCIOUS OF WHERE IT HAS COME FROM AND WHERE IT IS HEADING (my caps). With Solti, the same scene is unfailingly beautiful (and I hope every reader will understand what a remarkable achievement that is), but the funeral chorus is less vehement, and Amfortas' prayer to his father becomes almost narcissistic, sacrificing headway for pathetic effect. By this point, we have lost the thread of the intensity (never as great as Muck's to begin with), and the build-up of Amfortas' final death wish has a long way to climb. Then, lacking the further build-up of a truly masterful tenor monologue, the clinching meditation of the final pages simply does not have nearly as much tension to unravel, does not make such a powerful catharsis as with Muck (or Knappertsbusch)." .... After almost 50 years since this review, I don't think many would disagree, but am sure that the Solti is one of the better ones, after all.
I remember that review well, and recognize and agree with every word of it.
 

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OffPitchNeb - Any, more thoughts about Kurt Moll, in the '85 Parsifal? I'm sure that Vickers "held his own", so to speak, although maybe not quite a match for "the exceptional one"/Melchior, at the latter's best ... I don't know. As for Gurnemanz, I still disagree with David Hamilton's review of the Muck/1927 version of Act III. Hamilton mentioned that Ludwig Hofmann was a bit "hectoring", but I heartily disagree, after many times of listening. Bronsgeest & Pistor were OK, in their ways ... but it's HOFMANN, allied with those great tempos/continuances of Karl Muck, who really carries the day, so to speak. This is one of the great recordings of Wagner, even in it's "small" part or portion, of even the many excellent ones that were recorded, in days gone by. ... Still, Moll has an excellent reputation, and I have a small number of his very-fine recordings. Thanks.
 

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Woodduck - David Hamilton was one of the best, wasn't he? His reviews were not just opinions, but BACKED-UP with a very-solid knowledge of vocalisms, techniques ... past, and always SPECIFIED why the "old guys/old girls" were so excellent ... as the latter (Lehmann, Melchior, Tito Schipa, etc., etc.) established many of the standards of how singing should be DONE.
 

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Well, Itullian, hope you find a Parsifal that you'd like, the best. Considering the many recommendations, after your initial post, I don't think you can go WRONG, with any of them -eh?
 
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