Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gluck, Toscanini, NBC|
Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (Act II)/ Beethoven: Abscheulicher! (from "Fidelio")
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
"Inathentic" But Toweringly Dramatic Gluck!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For some years during the sixties and seventies, this 1952 broadcast performance of the second act of Gluck's "Orfeo" was one of the rarest Toscanini items, after the original Red Seal issue (LM-1850) was deleted, and before the German Victor release (AT-127) was imported to the USA. B. H. Haggin found that the original domestic issue of the "superb broadcast performance" had "flawed sound"; the German issue was even thinner and more artificial. The present CD is probably the best that we shall ever be able to hear (in fact, in its first release ever, critic Robert C. Marsh stated emphatically that the sound was "extremely good.")We find from the CD (and recalling our old "2S" pressing of the LP) that it is rather strident, with extreme coloration of the upper midrange: due, no doubt, to the telephone equalizers used for the "linecheck" recording. There are high frequencies far beyond the "network radio quality" of some other Toscanini material, but they are not realistic, due to the phase distortion present. Yet, the broadcast balances were good, and the clarity of detail is readily apparent. "Orfeo" was one of the conductor's big "set pieces" at the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, earlier in the century, and his own orchestration is used here, with a dramatic tam-tam stroke applied during the climax of the "Dance of the Furies": a thrilling moment. Merriman is eloquent and powerful; the choral direction is superb; and the production has life and vigor, if not totally surpassing the overall impression of the earlier 1945 NBC live concert (in poorer sound, not generally available.)The scena "Abscheulicher!" from Fidelio was re-made in Carnegie Hall in 1945, with Rose Bampton recording the section of the opera which she so badly "fluffed" in the live 1944 broadcast (where she hit the final climactic high note hideously off pitch.) The re-recording was no doubt effected so that some day the complete opera broadcast could be issued; it was indeed released as a "single" during the 78 rpm era, and with the complete opera in the mid-fifties, and again on the Gold Seal Toscanini Collection (Vol. 54). One marginally prefers the old 1929 recording of the "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Gluck with the PSNY under Toscanini (Vol. 66); but this 1946 shellac version is grave and eloquent, too."