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Winterreise voice?

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It's the voice and singing that turned me off of this work, but I just happened to listen to Hans Hotter's 1942 version, and I thought it was great.
Everyone in this thread, especially Josquin13, had good comments and succeeded in mentioning just about every significant historical recording I'm aware of and then some -- except for the inimitable Hans Hotter. Though, I'm only familiar with his version with Gerald Moore, and you're talking about a much earlier one, I suspect. Hotter supposedly declined significantly later in his career, so the earlier one is worth checking out. Thanks.
 

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Yes, Hotter was very fine in his Winterreise's ... although his voice DID decline, even more, in later years. Sometimes, he could sound HOLLOW, and that's why I still object to some of his recordings - as in Wagner's Parsifal. There are probably almost NO singers who could sing Die Winterreise, these days, with the true focus and "memorableness" of former singers, but maybe someone can. Geez, can we imagine if the late Fritz Wunderlich could've sung the cycle, before his career was cut-short? ... Anyhoo, thanks for the excellent comments, and we'll go, further.
 

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Yes, Hotter was very fine in his Winterreise's ... although his voice DID decline, even more, in later years. Sometimes, he could sound HOLLOW, and that's why I still object to some of his recordings - as in Wagner's Parsifal. There are probably almost NO singers who could sing Die Winterreise, these days, with the true focus and "memorableness" of former singers, but maybe someone can. Geez, can we imagine if the late Fritz Wunderlich could've sung the cycle, before his career was cut-short? ... Anyhoo, thanks for the excellent comments, and we'll go, further.
I see Hotter recorded Winterreise with Gerald Moore for EMI in May 1954 at the age of 45, whereas the earlier version, for Deutsche Gramophon with Michael Raucheisen, was recorded in 1942 and 1943. So potentially that's enough of a time difference to matter. I'll check it out. As for Fritz Wunderlich, I have to agree. His elegant and persuasive Dichterliebe on DG (also with Beethoven and Schubert) is one of my all time favorite lieder records. Two very different, but both memorable, singers.
 

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I see Hotter recorded Winterreise with Gerald Moore for EMI in May 1954 at the age of 45, whereas the earlier version, for Deutsche Gramophon with Michael Raucheisen, was recorded in 1942 and 1943. So potentially that's enough of a time difference to matter.
There are at least four commercial Hotter recordings of Winterreise, plus a couple of broadcasts. On the earliest 1942/43 version with Raucheisen, he still sounds like a baritone (and at the time, he was still singing Verdi baritone roles), and vocally, it's certainly the best of them. In addition to the EMI version with Moore (1954ish), there's a stereo version with Erik Werba on DG that I like a lot; by the time of this recording (1961), he'd largely moved on to bass roles and there are fairly significant transpositions, but he's vocally reasonably steady. The last version was with Hans Dokoupil, but was released only in Japan, as far as I know. Although it's worth hearing if you have a chance, I don't think that it adds a lot to Hotter's Winterreise legacy.

Vocally, Hotter's best days were clearly during WW2, and there was a pretty precipitous vocal decline through the 50's, but he still had good days on which he gave some impressive performances.

As for Fritz Wunderlich, I have to agree. His elegant and persuasive Dichterliebe on DG (also with Beethoven and Schubert) is one of my all time favorite lieder records. Two very different, but both memorable, singers.
Had Wunderlich lived to perform Winterreise, I suspect that it would have been vocally immaculate, but interpretively superficial. He was a fabulous vocalist, but not a particularly imaginative or deep interpreter of Lieder.
 

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Had Wunderlich lived to perform Winterreise, I suspect that it would have been vocally immaculate, but interpretively superficial. He was a fabulous vocalist, but not a particularly imaginative or deep interpreter of Lieder.
I know what you mean, but the sheer beauty and elegance of his voice carries the day for me, especially in early romantic or classical repertoire. The late romantic era brought an exciting, dramatic style of singing (and playing) that can make the earlier style seem ho-hum. But I enjoy the earlier style too. Call it HIP for the era of Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, and Mendelssohn.

As a flute player, it was interesting to follow the career of another famous superstar who, oddly enough, and despite his prodigious virtuosity, was a proponent of that early romantic style that had already long been superseded by the 1920s, when he was born: Jean-Pierre Rampal. All through his career, reviewers praised his elegance, purity of tone and technique, but often called his interpretations shallow, superficial, one dimensional and lacking in emotion, most often with baroque and classical repertoire, ironically.

In the violin world, Jacques Thibaud is an example of the earlier style surviving into the early age of recording. But Jascha Heifetz and his Russian colleagues and their aggressive style came to dominate in the 20th century. Ironically, Heifetz was a student of Leopold Auer, apparently a proponent of the elegant early romantic style, though he made few recordings and only very late in his life and career.

All of which is to say, I appreciate what Wunderlich had to offer as a lieder singer.
 

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fluteman - Nice post, esp. about Heifetz and Thibaud (and the note of Auer, as a teacher). Also, thanks for the note 'bout Jean-Pierre R ... one of the great, classical, flutists. BTW, I also like the late Doriot Anthony Dwyer/flutist, esp. in a recording of Debussy's "Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp", with Burton Fine and Ann Hobson; the tempos are exquisitely-judged, and the playing is almost magical. ... ANYHOO, if you're happy with Wunderlich, in Winterreise, then so BE it. I don't think any singer, anymore, could match Hotter, or even the flaws of Wunderlich, in this music, in those past recordings. It would be remarkable, to be proven-wrong, about this ... so maybe it could happen, one could hope.
 

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Bill Kasimer - Yes, it's certain that hardly any singer could achieve the best, in Die Winterreise, at almost any age ... considering the demands. Well, excuse me for going into the "could be" category", but one can only imagine if Jussi Bjorling was "let loose" in this cycle, with his exceptional intonation, optimistic tendencies, and the great, finishing touches (so to speak) that he exhibited, in almost all of his recordings and/or recitals. Well, the "optimistic tendencies" might not JIBE with the dour, Schubert cycle ... but I should think that JB would make all of his great intentions INTO the best ... of such a cycle, in it's results. OK, just an opinion or two, and thanks.
 

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At the time of his death, Wunderlich was IMO mostly an opera singer. AFAIK his lieder repertoire was Die Schöne Müllerin, Dichterliebe and around 20 songs as fillers/encores.
It is speculation in any case but this focus could have shifted later on but one can obviously also take this small lieder repertoire as an indication that he would never have become mainly a lieder singer.
 

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fluteman - Nice post, esp. about Heifetz and Thibaud (and the note of Auer, as a teacher). Also, thanks for the note 'bout Jean-Pierre R ... one of the great, classical, flutists. BTW, I also like the late Doriot Anthony Dwyer/flutist, esp. in a recording of Debussy's "Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp", with Burton Fine and Ann Hobson; the tempos are exquisitely-judged, and the playing is almost magical. ... ANYHOO, if you're happy with Wunderlich, in Winterreise, then so BE it. I don't think any singer, anymore, could match Hotter, or even the flaws of Wunderlich, in this music, in those past recordings. It would be remarkable, to be proven-wrong, about this ... so maybe it could happen, one could hope.
I like Ian Bostridge with Schubert but he is already yesterday's news -- my generation, for gosh sakes. I don't know who, if anyone, has taken his place at this point. In another thread, I'm being roasted for suggesting anyone still knows how to teach singing, much less sing.

As for the flute, and in particular Debussy's great trio, the Boston Symphony Chamber players made numerous superb recordings for DG in the 1970s, of which the Debussy trio you mention is one, iirc.
 

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At the time of his death, Wunderlich was IMO mostly an opera singer. AFAIK his lieder repertoire was Die Schöne Müllerin, Dichterliebe and around 20 songs as fillers/encores.
It is speculation in any case but this focus could have shifted later on but one can obviously also take this small lieder repertoire as an indication that he would never have become mainly a lieder singer.
Would have listened to him sing the phone book.
 

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I am looking very much forward to this one.
Most of all Benjamin Appl are going yo record it, now that is a treat .:angel:
 

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As anyone listened to Christa Ludwig's recording of the work? I have read Ralph Moore's survey and he writes of the additional wobble which has crept into her vibrato. Now, I have never heard Christa Ludwig wobble and I would like to know if there is any truth to such a declaration.
 

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As anyone listened to Christa Ludwig's recording of the work? I have read Ralph Moore's survey and he writes of the additional wobble which has crept into her vibrato. Now, I have never heard Christa Ludwig wobble and I would like to know if there is any truth to such a declaration.
As far as I can recall SixFootScowl has the recording.
 
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I have not heard Ludwig in Winterreise but it is a rather late recording (1986, when she was 58, she retired 1994).
I attended her final Met performance (Fricka in a matinee Walküre in April, 1993), and her singing was excellent by any standard. I've also heard the Winterreise recording; while it isn't among my favorites (among women, I prefer Fassbaender and Coote), there's absolutely nothing wrong with Ludwig's vocalism.
 
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