Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Hans Pfitzner, Robert Heger, Wiener Staatsopernchor und Orchester|
Robert Heger recorded "Palestrina" twice...the other one shi
Gregory E. Foster | Portland, ME, USA | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1951 Robert Heger recorded Pfitzner's "Palestrina" with Jules Patzak in the leading role, and Hans Hotter as Borromeo, from Munich. It is a very good recorded performance.
However, again in 1964, he did it again, this time with a cast that perhaps stuns one to read through, and think about...all these singers together, in one performance, singing and interacting together...and, luckily, once again recorded for posterity's sake. Take just a moment, and reflect on the unbelievability of the cast, listed below!
Fritz Wunderlich, Gerhard Stolze, Gottlob Frick, Walter Berry, Robert Kerns, Gerhard Unger, Hans Braun, Otto Wiener, Christa Ludwig, Sena Jurinac, Gundula Janowitz, Lucia Popp, and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus, all under the inspired leadership of Robert Heger. Imagine to have been there!
This performance is legendary, and, indeed, has certainly never been equaled since. Here we have the young Fritz Wunderlich in the title role, his voice perfectly secure and rock-solid...even through the fiendishly-impossible held high C at the end of Act 1...sure to amaze you with his awesome musicianship and sure-footedness that still today, 44 years later, remains unrivalled! The rest of the cast, also, is in outstanding form. It is a recording to treasure, another of those seemingly very rare coincidences when everything and everyone somehow comes together in total alignment and balance...a testament to how great the art of opera can be, and certainly also to Pfitzner's most beloved work, indeed his masterpiece. How fitting for this Central Work in the twentieth-century German repertoire!
Now, for the somewhat saddening news... The sound here is typical 1960's broadcast quality, so don't expect what you are commonly used to these days. However, all things considered, this is truly a worthy investment. I would rate the sound at a 6.5 to 7 out of 10...at times it's really quite good, and at others there is that "veil" that those of us who are used to historical recordings are familiar with. Do not despair, and give it a good listen...you will find it greatly rewarding, and will, indeed, love this marvelous set.
For those who are familiar with the Kubelik and the Keilberth, as great as they are, you will be more richly rewarded with this performance.
This set seems to be about ready to be cut from the catalogue, I believe, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to locate, and the prices are beginning to soar. Thus, if you are a lover of this great Pfitzner masterpiece, or are curious about this production/recording, I heartily urge you to seek out a copy soon, for as we have all seen of late, once these recordings are cut, they are seemingly "gone forever"...today's recorded music moguls look at hard dollars, not great art as the means...sad, isn't it.
For those who I have convinced to sample this great recording of this great work, I say to you "Enjoy, it's worth the cost, and worth the search to find it!""