1930s Gotterdammerung from Covent Garden
postupano | Arlington VA | 02/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The attraction of this set is the combination of Leider,Melchior and Beecham in a more-or-less complete live recording of Gotterdammerung Act 2 made at Covent Garden in May 1936. The detailed booklet explains that not all of the original recording materials survived, so that bits and pieces of other historical recordings have been added to stitch together a complete performance. The bulk of Act 2 is from May 14,1936 with interpolations from May 29 of the same year. In addition, bits of recordings by Bodansky (Met 1936) and Furtwangler (La Scala 1950) are cobbled in to fill in the missing material. As a result, Hagen is sung by Weber for most of the act, with List assuming the role beginning with "Ha! Dieser war es" to the end. As could be expected, the sound quality varies quite a bit from scene to scene, but audiophiles are not this set's target audience.
Disc one begins with the end of Gotterdammerung Act 1, from Hagen's Watch through the end of the act. This is also from May 14,1936 with the "concluding moments" featuring Melchior's Siegfried taken from a June 1,1937 performance. Act 2 begins with track 7 and concludes with track 12 on disc two. The remainder of disc 2 is filled out by Leider studio recordings from 1927 conducted by Blech which have been frequently included in other collections of her work. They include Brunnhilde's supplication to Wotan from Die Walkure Act 3 with Schorr as Wotan and two excerpts from the conclusion of Siegfried Act 3 with Rudolf Laubenthal.
Hardcore Wagnerians will probably have to pick this up to check it out as a document of Leider and Melchior onstage."