Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

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Lance
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Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

Post by Lance » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:05 pm

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DGG 479 7348, 14 CDs, plus booklet
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According the the back of box blurb:
"As a tribute to the great German-born Austrian soprano Gundula Janowitz celebrates her 80th birthday on August 2, 2017, this DGG edition showcases the "voice from heaven" in legendary recordings. Janowitz was Herbert von Karajan's favourite lyric soprano, and her legendary Mozart and Richard Strauss recordings are still unsurpassed. Presented here is an outstanding recording career ranging from opera to oratorio and Lieder plus a short interview from 1969 released here on CD for the first time. Her divine interpretations made people cry, to quote Hugo Sarbach: 'Gundula Janowitz's voice takes your breath away and rips you heart wide open.'"

I have enjoyed the voice of Gundula Janowitz over the years. This birthday edition reproduces the original jackets, but be careful, other repertoire is included beyond what the original covers say. There's much more in the boxed set that you may be lead to believe. While I admired Janowitz's voice, I was never entirely satisfied with the high end of the voice and its rather quick vibrato. Nevertheless, it is a stunning instrument.

Here, we have four CDs of Schubert lieder with pianist Irwin Gage. Insofar as opera recordings go, only the primary excerpts are given as fillers on some of the CDs ... not complete opera recordings, and I am satisfied with that. One can always acquire the complete recordings if one is interested. Telemann's cantata, Ino is included, and main excerpts from Haydn's oratorios as well as other comparable works. Check the above links for a look at the outside box and the back cover giving a quick outline of what's in this excellent edition.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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John F
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Re: Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

Post by John F » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:18 am

Her voice was certainly unique for its purity of tone and evenness of production. She did indeed sing the Voice from Heaven in Verdi's "Don Carlo," though not when Karajan conducted the opera in Vienna and Salzburg. Janowitz's very distinctive timbre was ideal for certain lyric soprano roles - Pamina, Micaela, Sophie - and at the beginning of her career she sang a flower maiden in "Parsifal" at Bayreuth and Vienna. She was also ideally suited to the solos in Bach's choral works. But the timbre was all wrong for the roles she "graduated" to, such as Leonore ("Fidelio") and the Marschallin, and was pretty neutral as an interpreter of Lieder, so as time went by I'm afraid I lost interest in her.
John Francis

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Re: Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

Post by maestrob » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:35 pm

GJ was and still is my favorite interpreter of Brahms's German Requiem, and Strauss's Four Last Songs. She could, in spite of her slightly different vocal production, spin out the longest line imaginable, even at HVK's slow tempi. Unfortunately, like John, I lost interest in her because her voice was not suited to her later roles, and her fast vibrato put me off.

I'm glad this set has been made available, though: she was a serious artist who deserves to be heard by the younger generation. I do wish DGG had included the complete Brahms Requiem with the exquisite singing of Jose Van Dam, but that can be found elsewhere I'm sure.

John F
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Re: Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

Post by John F » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:26 am

Brahms's German Requiem, definitely. Haven't heard her recording of the 4 Last Songs, because of her shortcomings as a Lieder singer, but maybe I should. My first choice is still Lisa Della Casa with Böhm and the Vienna Philharmonic, with Schwarzkopf's first (mono) recording as a second choice. But I've never heard a bad performance of this music.
John Francis

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Re: Gundula Janowitz Edition - finally here!

Post by maestrob » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:28 pm

John F wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:26 am
Brahms's German Requiem, definitely. Haven't heard her recording of the 4 Last Songs, because of her shortcomings as a Lieder singer, but maybe I should. My first choice is still Lisa Della Casa with Böhm and the Vienna Philharmonic, with Schwarzkopf's first (mono) recording as a second choice. But I've never heard a bad performance of this music.
I have. Anna Tomova-Sintov was a Bulgarian soprano who succeeded in the Boccanegra Amelia at the MET under Levine, and in Mozart roles. However, her voice did not have the necessary height for Strauss's tessitura on the recording HVK made with her late in his career. Also, I would avoid Eschenbach's recording with Fleming in Houston: they did much better together in a TV broadcast with the Philadelphia Orchestra from Carnegie Hall. MHO, of course.

While we're talking about good recordings, I would highly recommend Lucia Popp w/Tennstedt, a surefire winner.

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