Search - Sir Thomas Beecham, Wilhelm Strienz, Helge Roswaenge :: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute - Prima Voce Series) / Beecham, Strienz et al

Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute - Prima Voce Series) / Beecham, Strienz et al
Sir Thomas Beecham, Wilhelm Strienz, Helge Roswaenge
Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute - Prima Voce Series) / Beecham, Strienz et al
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #2

Thomas Beecham's Magic Flute is among the most famous opera recordings ever made. It has been available for more than 60 years, most recently on CD transfers from EMI, Pearl, and Nimbus. The last of these, first issued in ...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
Thomas Beecham's Magic Flute is among the most famous opera recordings ever made. It has been available for more than 60 years, most recently on CD transfers from EMI, Pearl, and Nimbus. The last of these, first issued in 1991, appeared in a luxurious box set with complete libretto (including the spoken dialogue, omitted on the recording itself); the current release is identical except that it is in a slim package with a plot summary but no libretto. The reasons for the longevity of this recording are not hard to find. Producer Walter Legge assembled about as good a cast as could be persuaded to come to Berlin for the 1937-39 recording sessions, and they are all fine singers who understand and are totally committed to the music. But what stands out most are the inspired playing of the Berlin Philharmonic, always crisp and expressive (once you get used to the desiccated quality of the 1930s monaural sound), and the conducting of Beecham, who brought to the work a combination of wit and nobility that has not been surpassed. There are modern recordings in much better sound (for example, the version by Georg Solti), but none offer more musical insight than this one. --Alex Morin
 

CD Reviews

One of the great recordings of all time!
William Supon | Cedartown, GA USA | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With good reason, this recording of Mozart's sublimely silly masterpiece has never been out of the catalog since it was released in the late 1930's. The singers are mostly an outstanding group--Tiana Lemnitz, Helge Rosvaenge, Gerhard Hüsch...(who is arguably the finest Papageno ever put on wax, vinyl, tape, or aluminum backing). What makes it such a wonder, however, is Sir Thomas Beecham's leadership, at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic. Beecham, more so than any other conductor, knows how to strike the right balance between the slapstick silliness of some scenes and the gloriously solemn atmosphere of others. What truly makes Sir Thomas' interpretation unique is that he makes both aspects of the opera part of a whole--conceived in Mozart's own dualistic mind. I can think of no other better performance of this masterpiece."
Grandfather of all recorded "Magic flutes"
Sasha | at sea...sailing somewhere | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Constantly in print since the time of its first release,this beautiful recording have a perfect balance between sonoric,weighty moments of drama and crispy,almost champaigne-bubbly giddines of a fairy tale.Its a testament to a Mozart talent as a composer to spread his magic around absurdly fantastic libretto by Schikaneder and to a Beecham to get everything just right at the time when audience was exposed to fashion of Sibelius and Strauss,while "Magic flute" itself languished unperformed,strange as it sounds now.It was producer Walter Legge who gently pushed Beecham in this project,convincing him that musicians in places like Salzburg,Vienna,Munich and Berlin have better historical awareness and tradition to perform this piece and once the wheels were set in motion,everything went assuredly and smoothly,the whole opera recorded in seven days.What strikes me interesting here is the fact that such a magical music was done in Berlin 1937. with all the darkness of war approaching (Tauber and Kipnis,being jewish,couldnt participate in this recording) and still the participants were so focused and commited as their lives depend on music. Before mentioned champaigne-bubbliness of a piece is very,very endearing and makes for heart-warming listening experience,no wonder this 1937. recording overhsadows many of later recordings in stereo - they might have added dialogue (Beecham refused to have dialogue in his recording,rightly arguing that it doesnt improve on repeated home listening and I completely agree with him) but gentleness,affections,magic and beauty are all here."
Fake Stereo
horsdumonde | 07/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When I first listened to this, I was disappointed at the odd sound quality, which sounded like fake stereo. But then I remembered reading something somewhere about how Nimbus transfers 78s--I read they play them on an old gramophone and place a stereo microphone in front of the horn. I don't know if this is what they in fact did with this recording, but I can attest that whichever method they used, the result is a recording which sounds like you're in a large empty room with hardwood floors, listening to a gramophone in the corner. It's not bad, but it's unexpected. I'm listening to it at the moment in headphones, which is especially strange..."