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"Mr. Leinsdorf achieved what was by all odds his best “Walkuere.” The score held together better than ever before under his direction. The second half of Act I, as it swept to the concluding measures, had line and continuity, and was not a series of chopped episodes which inadequately anticipated the climax. The accompaniment of Wotan’s narrative, an orchestral passage apparently simple to the point of bareness, was given a rare measure of salience. Orchestra and cast were infected with the conductor’s enthusiasm. The long applause and repeated curtain calls demonstrated the audience’s satisfaction." - New York Times, First night review, 1940
This legendary 1940 Metropolitan Opera performance of Die Walküre, which was broadcast live by NBC, has been XR remastered by Andrew Rose from fabulous transfers of new source material. The results of this, combined with careful and painstaking restoration of the 75 year old acetate discs, are superlative - one of the truly great live performances and casts in quite astonishing sound for its era: the so-called Golden Age. In addition are two recordings of the stars, Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, talking about their experiences as singers and in opera, broadcast during the performance interval as part of a fund-raising drive.
WAGNER Die Walküre
Siegmund - Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde - Marjorie Lawrence
Hunding - Emanuel List
Brünhilde - Kirsten Flagstad
Wotan - Julius Huehn
Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra
Conductor Erich Leinsdorf
Stage performance broadcast live in 1940
PACO125 (3hr 28:56)
This collection brings together eight recordings by Bruno Walter which have seen scant, if any, availability in the CD era. All stem from studio sessions for US Columbia, and range from among his earliest recordings in America (Brahms) to one of his last of the pre-stereo era (Schubert 5th). Some have seen limited CD reissue by Sony in France and Japan (Schubert 8th, Dvořák) or Japan only (Brahms), while the remainder have never had an “official” CD release.
The reasons for the unavailability of these recordings generally involve remakes in improved sound. The Mozart Jupiter and Così Overture, both stemming from the same 1945 session, are a case in point. This was the second of four commercial recordings Walter would make of the symphony; he had previously recorded it with the Vienna Philharmonic, and would go on to remake it with the New York Philharmonic on tape in 1956, and with the (West Coast) Columbia Symphony Orchestra in stereo in 1960. While the latter two have stayed intermittently in the catalog, this earlier version was forgotten.
The final recording was Walter’s first of two versions of the Dvořák Eighth. He would go on to remake it in stereo with the West Coast CoSO in 1961, but would not eclipse the tremendous vitality of this electrifying version.
MOZART Symphony No. 41, ‘Jupiter’
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 5
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8, ‘Unfinished’
J. STRAUSS II Emperor Waltz
BRAHMS Song of Destiny
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8
Bruno Walter conductor
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
PASC452 (2hr 18:46)
“The work of the partners in this sonata is particularly apt, neat, gracious, without the least sentimentality: with perhaps, as I suggested, even a trace of dryness that does not at all connote dullness: rather it is the opposite of sweetness, as in wine. There is a curious little inward withdrawnness in the finale, I feel: very typical Brahms, musing happily, self-contained, always solitary, yet the philosopher who cannot demand love, only offer it sullenly.”
Georg Kulenkampff, star German violinist whose glittering career had included the première of the Schumann Violin Concerto, was just months away from death caused by sudden illness. Georg Solti, entering the Decca recording studios where he'd make his name for the next half century for the very first time. It was as if a baton of greatness was handed from one to the other, to be carried forward into superstardom.
It was a magical moment of temporal crossover. The three Brahms Violin Sonatas were among the handful of recordings they made together in the radio studios of Zurich, Switzerland in 1947 and 1948 - they include Kulenkampff's last and Solti's first recordings. And in these new XR-remastered transfers they sound every bit as beautiful as you might hope - and expect.
BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 1
BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 2
BRAHMS Violin Sonata No. 3
Georg Kulemkampff violin
Georg Solti piano
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