Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard [Classical] Wagner, Georg Solti, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|
Wagner: Die Walküre, Act 3 / Solti, Flagstad
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Fascinating historical document
Michael K. Halloran | 01/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording was made just about a year before Solti and producer John Culshaw started on their now-legendary "Ring" recording for Decca. On this album, which might easily be regarded as a testing ground for the later project, the formidable Kirsten Flagstad takes the role of Brunnhilde.Flagstad was in her early 60's when this recording was made, but aside from a few slightly hollow-sounding notes, you'd never know it. Nobody could sing Wagner like this woman, and believe me, she really does SING this music. No shrieking, belting, or bellowing for Madame Flagstad -- just pure, rich, dark, tone: this is what Wagner singing is all about.Otto Edelman is disappointing here. He simply doesn't have the vocal heft or dark beauty of tone one expects from Wotan. He is always intelligent and musical, but there are better recorded Wotans.Marianne Schech may not have the loveliest voice, but she is dramatically alive here in her brief contribution as Sieglinde.One or two voices aside, the Valkyries are a strong group, and I must single out Claire Watson's Helmwige for her fabulously secure singing of the opening "Ho-jo-to-ho" -- she doesn't scoop up to those perilous B's and C's but attacks them assuredly and fearlessly.Solti conducts well, if pressing a bit at times, and the Vienna Philharmonic plays beautifully. The sound is excellent, bright and detailed, typical of Decca's high standard. Notes on the recording are included, as well as a complete text. This is a valuable issue for those who want to hear the legendary Flagstad in one of her signature roles in excellent stereo sound."
Michael K. Halloran | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kirsten Flagstad not only has a enormous voice, her voice is very beautiful. She is amazing down here. She can hold her breath like no one else can!! There's one passage here where she holds and holds her breath and that is so thrilling. I compared it with Birgit Nilsson's passage on the Solti set. Birgit Nilsson only held the note for a short time. The effect is very different. Flagstad makes it very thrilling. I also recommend Act 1 Walkure unde Knappertbusch 1957 with Decca in superb Decca stereo. Flagstad sings Sieglinde in that recording. Although "matronly", she sings absolutely gorgeously and it's worth owning just to hear her beautiful voice."
Much more than a test
J. H. Gaulard | London United Kingdom | 01/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cracking Act III of "Die Walkure" is usually dismissed as a "rehearsal" prior to the big recording of "The Ring" by Sir Georg and the Wiener Philharmoniker. This is too bad because as an "individual" performance, this is as good as it gets. We have the unique opportunity of hearing the legendary Kirsten Flagstad in one of her signature roles in full, glorious stereo sound. Nitpickers usually complain about her being 62 at the time of the recording and being way past her prime. Well I challenge anybody, bar on the occasional high note (probably twice in the whole Act), to assert that this is a voice past her prime. 40 year-old would-be Wagnerian sopranos would die to sing the part like this. So let us be silent and listen to goddess Kirsten in pure awe, please. This set is also very welcome for the still very committed and enchanting Sieglinde of Marianne Schech, 10 years after her first Sieglinde with Solti in Munich (Act I published by ORFEO, I also reviewed it). Otto Edelmann is a very professional Wotan although he is not as inspired as a Hotter of a London in the part. The eight Walkuren make for a beautiful ensemble and feature two surprise "guest-stars", Grace Hoffman and Claire Watson - who would both become famous singers.
The Vienna Philharmonic plays majestically well and Solti races through the score with the enthusiasm of a twenty-year old. But those who believe that Solti is just all noise and rhythm, beware! The way he and his orchestra accompany Flagstad in her duet with Wotan is extremely poetic and beautiful. Listen how Vienna and Flagstad hold this beautiful phrase together "ihm innig vertraut" (towards the end of track 9).
But as always with Solti, you will find ample dynamics, brasses raging, winds mourning the pain of Brunnhilde and her father, strings full of colors, and a final coda that is simply one of the very best in the discography. A definite Act III only comparable in quality to the Karajan from Bayreuth in 1951 (but in mono sound, EMI).