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Volume 16 Issue 10 - July/August 2011

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • Festivals
  • Quartet
  • Concerts
  • Trio
  • Orchestra
  • Musical

Old Wine, New Bottles |

Old Wine, New Bottles | Fine Old Recordings Re-ReleasedThe high point of the 1964 ViennaFestival must surely have been the soldoutperformance in the MusikvereinGrosser Saal on June 14 of Mahler’s Das Liedvon der Erde with Josef Krips conducting theVienna Symphony Orchestra and soloists FritzWunderlich and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.The Austrian Radio’s original tape cannotbe found but the copy from the Krips familyarchive provided the source for this uniqueand extraordinary performance now availableon DG (4778988, mono).In addition to his fame as a superb Mozartinterpreter, Josef Krips, a fine Mahlerian,had a complete intimacy with the Mahlerscore and directs a total performancewithout the swooning, heart on the sleeveemotions that inhabit many others. Thisattentive, stoic reality, most telling and decisivewhen the soloists and conductor are incomplete accord, leads to exquisite passageswhen the conductor seems to be listening toand heeding the soloist. Listeners familiarwith other versions will be taken aback tohear such astonishing gravitas from bothsingers, especially if you know the languageor are following the translations provided.Wunderlich is more fervent than he is inthe Klemperer version recorded in Londonduring the same year, fully comprehendsthe texts, and totally conveys their determination.Fischer-Dieskau, too, is markedlyexpressive in all his songs. The final song,Der Abschied, The Farewell, is a profoundlymoving experience the equal of which I havenot heard from Fischer-Dieskau, KathleenFerrier, Christa Ludwig or anyone else.Fischer-Dieskau is quoted as saying thatof all his performances of this work, thisstands out as the very finest. What a convergenceof talent that was and how fortunatethat the Krips tapes have been faithfullyrestored by the Emil Berliner Studios inBerlin generating a CD that is clear as a bell,articulate and dynamic. It matters not that itis monaural.BRUCE SURTEESARTHAUS has released a Winterreise sung byFischer-Dieskau with Alfred Brendel live inSiemensvilla, Berlin in 1979 (DVD 107229).Even though pianist and singer have eachperformed and recorded this cycle manytimes, both together and with others, thisstudio production, without an audience,is very special. Their combined insights,eagerly shared between the two as seen inthe 56 minute rehearsal sequences, producea memorable experience.Also, check out thesuperlative, musthaveVerdi Requiemrecorded live in theLiederhalle, Stuttgarton November 2, 1960with Hans Mulley-Kray conductingthe SWR RadioSymphony Orchestra,The StuttgartBach Choir, TheStuttgart SingingTeachers’ AssociationChoir, with MariaStader, ElizabethHoffgen, Wunderlich,and Gottlob Frick(DG 476638, 2CDs). It is uniquely communicative,being more a requiem mass thanan operatic outing. Try your local classicalspecialist or get it from Amazon.de.The Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidachemade but a few recordings in the late 1940sand early 1950s at which time he wasregarded as something of a firebrand. In1946, awaiting the return of the bannedFurtwangler, he was elected acting chiefconductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, thenan orchestra in disrepair. He remained until1954, hoping to follow Furtwangler as chiefconductor but Karajan won out and was appointedto the position for life. Celibidachemoved on, refusing to record, believing,rightly so, that no one performance can everbe definitive. He did, however “authorize”some videos for general distribution. Afterhis death many live performances wereissued on CD. AUDITE has a set of all theCelibidache performances recorded bythe RIAS, Berlin between 1948 and 1957(AUDITE 21.406, 3CDs). The orchestrasare the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO) and theRIAS Symphony (RIAS) and the repertoireis quite unusual. There is an unidiomaticRhapsody in Blue (RIAS) from 1948 withGerhard Puchelt, piano, played in the mannerof a nebulous English movie soundtrack.(The conductor went on to be an ardent fanof Gershwin’s music.) Ravel’s RapsodieEspagnole (BPO)from 1948 is interestingbut clearly anon-French performance.Four performancesfrom 1949with the BPO are aperfect fit: Busoni’sViolin Concerto,Op.35 with SiegfriedBorries; Cherubini’sAnacreon Overtureand Hindemith’s1945 Piano Concertowith GerhardPuchelt. Alsothere is the worldpremier of ReinhardSchwarz-Schilling’s Introduction and Fuguefor String Orchestra, and Harold Genzmer’s1944 Flute Concerto with Gustav Scheck(BPO) from 1950, followed by a surprisinglyfine reading of Copland’s AppalachianSpring with the BPO. Finally, there are threeworks by Heinz Tiessen (1887-1971), theconductor’s former teacher, recorded live onOctober 7, 1957 with the Radio SymphonyOrchestra, Berlin. Heard are The HamletSuite, Op.30, The Salambo Suite, Op.34aand the Symphony No.2 Op.7. Some ofthe pieces in this collection may be new tocollectors but are well worth investigating,particularly the Tiessen works. The soundthroughout runs from good to very good.The sophistication of old Havana andthe freshness of a tropical breeze.$ 14 99Available at Grigorian 70 Yorkville Ave, Toronto 416 922 6477/ 210 Lakeshore Rd. E., Oakville 905 338 236070 thewholenote.comJuly 1–September 7, 2011

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