One of the most passionate Tristans ever
Erik Aleksander Moe | Oslo, Norway | 02/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before buying this one, I bought the Hamburg 1949 recording recently released by Archipel and wasn't entirely content with it, Paula Baumann wasn't too good there, so I bought this one after listening to the excerpts I have heard on the net. And it was not a disapointment at all.Max Lorenz is even better here than on the 1949 performance, so secure, passionate, tender. Everything one could ever want from a Tristan. His delirium scene in act 3 is nothing like I have ever heard before (and I have 9 other Tristan recordings, 3 with Melchior). His interpretation is different from Melchior's. I like both performers in the role. Lorenz doesn't take these liberties that Melchior has become famous for.Paula Buchner is also glorious as Isolde. She sings the role much rawer that Flagstad. Flagstad sang it with an extremely beautiful voice, while Buchner may not have the beauty of Flagstad's voice, but she portrayls the role less nobly and more like a woman torn. She allows Isolde to display more raw emotions.The supporting cast is nothing less than great either. Jaro Prohaska sings Kurnewal with all glory of the character. Margarete Klose sings Brangäne as gloriously as ever before. And Ludwig Hofmann is a passionate Marke.I was very happy to listen to the complete third act the opera for a change (it being my favorite act in the opera). I have always been a little disappionted with that all the performances with Melchior was cut so much, but Melchior sang the part so magnificently, that I can forgive him. The sound is very good, although in low-fi mono, but without much noise. There is, however, at the end of the third act a little distortion in the sound, but only a little, and it disappears in the middle of Markes lines right before Isolde's liebestod, sung magnificently by Buchner."
At the top of a crowded field.
Alan Montgomery | Oberlin, Oh USA | 02/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To many, Tristan und Isolde means only one recording: Furtwängler, with Flagstad and Suthaus. It is a powerful recording. I own it, and the Flagstad with Melchior on Naxos. As a Tristan-aholic, I also own Nilsson/Windgassen and Nilsson/Vickers. I learn things from each. (I even own a curse/duet LP with Flagstad and Svanholm.) Considering the price, I wasn't sure I should buy this. I had highlights from this performance on 2 LPs on BASF label, and they were persuasive.
But nothing prepared me for the amazing, blazing interpretation here. Robert Heger is speedy, yes, but never unduly so. I wasn't following the score, so I don't know if the traditional cuts were taken, but the acts just poured out in heated passion. Max Lorenz has the bite (but not the croon) of Vickers, the interpretative strengths of Windgassen (and some of his oversinging mannerisms), and the stamina of Melchior. All combine to make the best Tristan I've heard. But Tristan is nothing without a perfect match for his Isolde. Paula Büchner is that Isolde. Similar in voice to Flagstad and blazing like Nilsson, her achievement here is as stunning as any on records. Add to these Prohaska and Klose, in absolute prime, and you understand why nearly $60 dollars is NOT too much. The sound is clean and vibrant. (Think of the sound on the best 78s from the 40s and 50s.) It is superb hi-fi for its day, and holds up well against recorded interpretations taken down years later. This is a must for all Wagnerians who think you've already heard the best singers for these roles. You haven't heard the best recorded performance until you've heard this one."