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"With a performance of blazing intensity in the second act, Leonie Rysanek and George London gave "The Flying Dutchman*' the size of a near masterwork at the Metropolitan Opera House last night ... with an interpretation as rapt and electric as this in its most eloquent moments it could become a fixed ornament of the repertory. Miss Rysanek and Mr. London were not the only vital contributors to a vivid performance. In the pit there was the young American conductor, Thomas Schippers, who brought immense conviction to his task. There were other fine singers in the cast, and the sets and costumes as well as the staging were in the spirit of the work."
- The New York Times, 1960
it has been said that for two decades Leonie Rysanek virtually "owned" the role of Senta in Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman). Well if that is the case then here's where it began: at New York's Metropolitan Opera House at the dawning of the 1960s.
There were six performances of Wagner's first mature opera at the Met between January and March 1960, and the fourth of these was broadcast live on radio by NBC - it is this broadcast performance which can be heard here in fine sound quality culled from two excellent source copies and XR remastered by Andrew Rose for Pristine.
As an added bonus there's also a performance of the prelude to Verdi's opera La Traviata, which was played in tribute to the much-loved baritone Leonard Warren, whose untimely death on stage the previous evening at the Met had shocked and stunned opera-goers in New York.
WAGNER Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman)
VERDI La Traviata - Prelude to Act 3
Dutchman - George London
Senta - Leonie Rysanek
Orchestra & Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera
Thomas Schippers, conductor
Live recording, 1960
PACO136 (2hr 23:48 - 2CD)
"The Philadelphians are obviously at home and happy in this wonderful exhibition of rhythmic energy and architectural proportioning .. it is possible, and I am glad, to praise it for the breadth of the interpretation, the massiveness of the richest writing (e.g., in the second movement) and the joyousness of the abounding life that informs the playing ... Everyone will enjoy the athletic grace and rude health of the Scherzo, the recording of which gives perhaps the best glimpses of delicacy in the whole work. I feel sure the conductor has the right spirit for this, and that if we could hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about those strings of his, we should rise out of our seats and cheer."
- The Gramophone, 1929
Leopold Stokowski is not usually associated with the Viennese Classical repertoire; yet, there were certain composers and works to which he returned time and again throughout his career. Beethoven's Seventh Symphony was a work he recorded three times. The present version is his first, and is prefaced by a discussion of themes by the conductor. For Schubert’s “Unfinished”, Stokowski and his Philadelphians were returning to a work they had previously set down acoustically almost exactly three years earlier (Pristine PASC 441). The new electrical process better conveys the burnished sheen of the strings in a swiftly-flowing reading which alternates lyricism with explosive outbursts.
"In Beethoven’s wonderful glorification of the power of “the legs of music”, no orchestra worth the name could fail to rise to its finest powers of nervous energy and illumination. It is clear, even from the necessarily somewhat distorting medium of these records, that the Philadelphians have expended on it much of that brotherly love which is explicit in their name, and implicit in their reputation"
- The Gramophone, 1927
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 'Unfinished'
SCHUBERT Moment musicale
SCHUBERT Rosamunde - Ballet music
Leopold Stokowski conductor
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Studio recordings, 1927
PASC483 (74:03 - 1CD)
"A vital, controlled and incisive 1948 Das Lied von der Erde from WaIter, with Kathleen Ferrier making her American debut."
Kathleen Ferrier's classic 1952 Vienna recording of Das Lied von der Erde with Bruno Walter and Julius Patzak is rightly regarded as one of the great recordings of the 20th century. Just four years earlier the contralto (billed at the time as a mezzo-soprano) appeared for the first time in the United States singing Mahler's Das Lied with the New York Philharmonic - conducted by one Bruno Walter. If the opening night produced mixed results - Ferrier was recovering from a cold - this second performance three nights later, broadcast across the country, was most certainly a great success. This new restoration and remastering brings great strides forward in sound quality for this essential, historic performance.
"It is fascinating to hear her three [sic] years earlier [than her Decca recording] already entirely inside her part and indeed, in some respects – listen to the final pages of the second song or ‘Trunk’ne Welt’, the aching ‘ewigs’ in the finale – even more emotionally overwhelming in a live performance than she was to be in the studio. The finale, as you would expect, reaches great heights of eloquence. In spite of having just recovered from a cold, Ferrier is in glorious voice...
[Walter's] interpretation hardly altered over the years. Why should it when it remains the most convincing, most immediate ever committed to disc? Listening to it once more, I again thought: yes, of course, this is exactly how Mahler wanted to hear the score – taut, devoid of unwanted sentimentality yet flexible as regards perfectly judged rubato, and infinitely moving and scrupulously observant of the composer’s markings"
Kathleen Ferrier - mezzo-soprano
Set Svanholm - tenor
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Bruno Walter, conductor
Live recording, 1948
PACO137 (58:20 - 1 CD)
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