Help Needed: Wagner recordings

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bombasticDarren
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Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Hello

Come the new year I will be in the market for second, comparison recordings of Wagner's great operas. I already have duplicates of The Ring and Tristan. Currently I have the following recordings:-

Die Fliegende Hollander - Sinopoli
Tannhauser - Sinopoli
Lohengrin - Barenboim
Die Meistersinger - Jochum
Parsifal - Thielemann

Before I posted this thread I had a quick scan on Amazon and have earmarked the following sets for purchase:-

Die Fliegende Hollander - Klemperer
Tannhauser - Konwitschny
Lohengrin - Kempe
Die Meistersinger - Karajan
Parsifal - Knappertbusch

I have to admit that cost is an issue, and that has guided the shortlist somewhat. But, what performances do you think I should look out for? I am happy to be guided on this one and appreciate the expertise available on CMG
Last edited by bombasticDarren on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stenka razin
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Re: Helped Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by stenka razin » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:24 pm

Darren, you have some great recordings lined up for your next Wagner purchases. Here are my thoughts, my friend:

1-Lohengrin-Kempe-A truly great recording with the one and only Elisabeth Grummer. Hearing her will make you extremely happy and Kempe conducts beautifully.****++-Yes

2-Parsifal-Knappertsbusch- The 2nd Bayreuth Parsifal from Knap is outstanding, but the much earler 1st Knap Bayreuth with almost the same cast is extraorordinary. Buy either for a trip to the top of Everest.****++YES

3-Die Meistersinger-The earlier Karajan EMI is a lovely recording and much better than his later DG.***1/2-Borderline Yes

4-Die Fliegender Hollander-Klemperer is superlative in this famed EMI recording and his dreamy cast is fabulous.****Yes

5-Tannhauser-Konwitschny was usually inebriated when he recorded, according to critics, but, this historic recording has Grummer and that is enough. The performance also has a sterling Fischer-Dieskau and a not so sterling Hans Hopf. Hopf is the main drawback. But, if you can excuse his bellowing, Konwitschny leads a very fine rendition.*** Maybe


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Mel
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bombasticDarren
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Re: Helped Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:30 pm

^^ that's a very heartening response Mel, thanks :D

You are sceptical about the Konwitschny Tannhauser, so do you have a view on which recording I should get to gaurantee satisfaction :?:

stenka razin
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Re: Helped Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by stenka razin » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:39 pm

Darren,

I have many Tannhausers. But, I will recommend Solti's blazing Vienna Phil Decca set with Dernesch and Ludwig leading the way. Rene Kollo is not my favorite Wagernian, but at least he can sing the role much better than Hans Hopf.***1/2


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Mel 8)
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Re: Helped Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:40 pm

stenka razin wrote:...I will recommend Solti's blazing Vienna Phil Decca set...
I am very glad that you said that Mel as I was veering in that direction myself :wink: :D

Bro
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by Bro » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:42 pm

Definitely get the Klemperer 'Die Fliegende Hollander'. That is one I would recommend, even for those who do not like Wagner. I acquired the Knappertsbusch Parsifal (the early mono one) on Lp many years ago and, unfortunately, it didn't do anything for me but Kna has become a favorite conductor of mine, so maybe today I would see it differently. I do have a live performance with Clemens Krauss which I very much like. Also, if you don't mind dated sound, the excerpts, with Karl Muck conducting, are indispensable.

Bro

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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by josé echenique » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:28 pm

The Klemperer Flying Dutchman is an essential purchase. Maybe Klemperer was rejuvenated by the delectable Anja Silja, but Klemperer conducts as a conductor half his age, and Theo Adam is a grand and tragic cursed man. That certainly is my Flying Dutchman of choice, and it´s much better recorded than the Fricsay in DG.
The Kempe Lohengrin can´t be faulted, except perhaps by Jess Thomas himself. I much have preferred the gorgeous sounding Sandor Konya of the lackluster Leinsdorf RCA recording, but it´s impossible to have everything, and to compensate you have vintage performances with Grümmer, Ludwig and Fischer-Dieskau.
Kempe conducts a luminous, and exalted Lohengrin that has stood well the test of time.
The Karajan Meistersinger is another recording I like a lot. The most interesting thing about it is hearing Herr von Karajan conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle, and achieving magical results. Theo Adam once more is a rich sounding, generous Sachs. Sure he is no Schoeffler or Hotter, but he IS Theo Adam and that is a lot.
Helen Donath is a light weight but lovely Eva, and the EMI sound is excellent. An equally marvelous contemporary recording that demands serious consideration is the Kubelik in Calig, recorded by DG in 1968 but never issued until a few years ago. This is a GREAT Meistersinger. Kubelik conducts a genial, very human performance, certainly warmer than Karajan´s. His singers are all excellent, but Sandor Konya stands out as one of the finest von Stolzing´s ever. The young René Kollo is good for Karajan, but Konya is so much more special for Kubelik. Gundula Janowitz is a radiant, heavenly Eva, and has more voice than Helen Donath. Overall, I´ll incline for Kubelik, but there are many great things in the Karajan Meistersinger to rule it out, so....choices, choices....

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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by THEHORN » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:39 pm

Stenka, I agree with you on the whole about the various recordings, but the second karajan Meistersinger is
also on EMI . The DG Meistersinger is is conducted by Eugen Jochum, and is also highly recommendable , with Fischer-Dieskau as Sachs and a relatively young Domingo as Walther .
I also like the second karajan meistersinger , which is his only recording with the Staatskapelle,Dresden more than you do . I haven't heard the legendary Kubelik/Munich recording , which many rave about, but very much want to.
Christian Thielemann was supposed to record De Meistersinger for DG with Bryn Terfel a few years ago, but unfortunately, the project was scratched by DG for some reason . Too bad .

John F
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by John F » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:06 pm

I'm sure you'd be happy with the recordings on your to-do list. Nonetheless, a few suggestions.

The Kempe "Lohengrin" is superbly cast and conducted. I can't say that for the Konwitschny "Tannhäuser," because of the unfortunately cast Hans Hopf in the title role, the dull Marianne Schech as Venus, and unimpassioned conducting; Solti's cast is stronger and his conducting of the Paris version is much more alive. Like stenka razin, I like Karajan's 1951 Bayreuth "Meistersinger," unevenly cast (Hopf again, younger and less coarse) but full of theatrical vitality. Of the two Knappertsbusch Bayreuth "Parsifals" issued commercially, the later one with Hans Hotter as Gurnemanz and Kna not quite as slow is my choice. For the "Dutchman," the singing of the title role is crucial and for me Theo Adam in Klemperer's recording just doesn't cut it. The greatest Dutchman I've heard is Hans Hotter, but the 1940s Munich broadcast recording is defaced by a horrible Senta (conductor Clemens Krauss's wife). There's a remarkable Bayreuth Festival performance on records, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch with George London and Leonie Rysanek in the lead roles, that outdoes the commercial recording conducted by Antal Dorati in tension and excitement.
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:33 pm

Sinopoli's Tannhauser...Klemperer's Duchman...Knappersbusch's Parsival...Solti or Kempe for Lohengren...Karajan's Meistersinger...
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absinthe
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by absinthe » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:41 am

Definitely:

Die Fliegende Hollander - Klemperer
Die Meistersinger - Karajan

stenka razin
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by stenka razin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:07 am

John F wrote:I'm sure you'd be happy with the recordings on your to-do list. Nonetheless, a few suggestions.

The Kempe "Lohengrin" is superbly cast and conducted. I can't say that for the Konwitschny "Tannhäuser," because of the unfortunately cast Hans Hopf in the title role, the dull Marianne Schech as Venus, and unimpassioned conducting; Solti's cast is stronger and his conducting of the Paris version is much more alive. Like stenka razin, I like Karajan's 1951 Bayreuth "Meistersinger," unevenly cast (Hopf again, younger and less coarse) but full of theatrical vitality. Of the two Knappertsbusch Bayreuth "Parsifals" issued commercially, the later one with Hans Hotter as Gurnemanz and Kna not quite as slow is my choice. For the "Dutchman," the singing of the title role is crucial and for me Theo Adam in Klemperer's recording just doesn't cut it. The greatest Dutchman I've heard is Hans Hotter, but the 1940s Munich broadcast recording is defaced by a horrible Senta (conductor Clemens Krauss's wife). There's a remarkable Bayreuth Festival performance on records, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch with George London and Leonie Rysanek in the lead roles, that outdoes the commercial recording conducted by Antal Dorati in tension and excitement.

Another rave for the Dorati/London/Rysanek Dutchman now on Decca CDs, originally RCA on LP. You have not heard the real Senta until you hear Rysanek. She is the real deal and she will give you a powerful shock in her no holds bar super performance. By the way, I heard Rysanek's Senta under Karl Bohm at the Met in January, 1965 and still remember her sensational interpretation. Leonie was one of the titans of opera. 8)


Regards,
Mel 8)
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by rogch » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:36 pm

I think Solti's Parsifal is very underrated. This was the record that opened my ears for Wagner and i still think it is one of the best. Haitink on DVD is very impressive, they should release it on CD too although the stage performance is quite good.

How about Tristan and Isolde? The Furtwängler recording on EMI is legendary of course. I also have Karajan's studio recording on EMI but that one is too heavy handed. The always underrated Jiri Belohlavek does a good job in a Glyndeborne production, but this is also only available on DVD. It is a DVD worth having though.
Roger Christensen

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bombasticDarren
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by bombasticDarren » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:44 pm

^^ This is all helpful stuff, thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I have swapped the Konwitschny for Solti in Tannhauser in my Amazon basket, but I can still be swayed :wink:

rogch: rest assured, I have my eye on the Furtwangler Tristan; but it may have to wait a while :roll:

Jared
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by Jared » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:48 pm

bombasticDarren wrote:^^ This is all helpful stuff, thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I have swapped the Konwitschny for Solti in Tannhauser in my Amazon basket, but I can still be swayed :wink:

rogch: rest assured, I have my eye on the Furtwangler Tristan; but it may have to wait a while :roll:
So, when we start the New Year listening resolutions thread.... :wink:

bombasticDarren
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Re: Help Needed: Wagner recordings

Post by bombasticDarren » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:17 pm

Jared wrote:
bombasticDarren wrote:^^ This is all helpful stuff, thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I have swapped the Konwitschny for Solti in Tannhauser in my Amazon basket, but I can still be swayed :wink:

rogch: rest assured, I have my eye on the Furtwangler Tristan; but it may have to wait a while :roll:
So, when we start the New Year listening resolutions thread.... :wink:
Maybe next New Year.... :wink:

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