One of the greats.
Good Stuff | 01/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember when this recording was first released on LP. Some of the critics, obviously desperate to find something to complain about, opined that Solti's approach was too hard driving. Some also felt Crespin's voice was just too big for the part, having been used to some of the great Marschallin's that had gone before (Schwartzkopf, Reining, etc.). I thought they were idiots then, and my opinion hasn't changed over the years.
Regine Crespin was one of the great dramatic sopranos of the post war years. Sadly, I never saw her Marschallin. However, I did see her Sieglinde (opposite Vickers - now there was a performance!). Even the recording at hand, good as it is, doesn't quite catch what was so incredible about Crespin on stage. The voice was unique. It was huge, of course. But it had a certain vulnerability, for lack of a better word, about it. It might be a French trait. I don't know. But it was just about the most mesmerizing voice I've ever heard on stage. And you can ask just about anyone who heard her live. It's always the same. You will get a response that borders on rapture.
So this is a recording without weakness. And the new remastering seems to me, at least, to have made the whole thing slightly cleaner, slightly smoother sounding. But make no mistake about it, those fabulous dial twirlers, the Decca engineers, got full measure of the analogue medium here. In fact, it took the advent of the CD and current remastering techniques, I think, to do their work, and Mr. Solti and his artists' work, justice.
By-the-way, what a shame they haven't duplicated the original American LP box's cover, which was silver, with a rose, silver, of course, embossed on it in relief. Very elegant."