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Richard Strauss Four Last Songs

Discussion in 'classical' started by gustavm, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Ponkbutler

    Ponkbutler pfm Member

    The earlier Schwarzkopf recording is much less mannered and her voice fresher and fuller.
  2. Del monaco

    Del monaco pfm Member

    I'll have a listen and see if her younger self changes my mind.
  3. Errol

    Errol pfm Member

    I have this issued by the World Record Club (New Zealand pressing) played it for years. One day in my never ending search of 2nd hand vinyl I came across a British EMI labelled pressing. Joy! thought I, but I was to be disappointed it was not a patch on the sound quality of the WRC pressing, even though the EMI looked pristine, and was heavier, with no surface noise. The WRC LPs pressed in NZ came with a poor reputation but comparing a few other recordings at the time they sounded excellent as well. Perhaps the WRC were a lot closer to the original masters than we in NZ thought.

  4. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Popp/Tennstedt- now there's another beautiful version.
  5. Del monaco

    Del monaco pfm Member

    I noticed that Bowie loved the Janowitz.Good taste that man!
  6. adamdea

    adamdea pfm Member

  7. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    Any Fishies attending the Isokoski concert tonight?
  8. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    Renee Fleming is performing these in Oxford in the summer. You might like to know.
  9. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    She is wonderful with them.
  10. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    Well, I was a bit disappointed by the LPO/Isokoski. I could hardly hear her above the orchestra in the first song. Maybe she has lost some of her power, or maybe the LPO under Jurowski just played too loud. I have always wondered about the balance in these songs between a huge orchestra (the LPO brought out a monster last night with 8 double basses, 4 flutes etc.) and a single soloist, and on this occasion the balance felt wrong at least from where I was sitting (about 9 rows away from the stage, well to the right). Perhaps the acoustics of the RFH didn't help. Isokoski sang with a lot of emotion, and the 3d and 4th songs in particular were beautiful as Jurowski managed to keep the orchestra quiet enough so we could hear her.

    The other weird thing about the program was that all the other pieces (2 Mozart serenades, very charming) and the modern piece of the evening (Magnus Lindberg's Gran Duo, very good and well done by the LPO wind players) were all for small chamber ensembles. So I don't even get the economics of getting the LPO out in full strength for 4 short Strauss songs just for them to rather overwhelm the singer for 15'.
  11. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 pfm Member

    The economics are obvious and controlling. The huge orchestra needs to play, and get paid. Indeed, they doubtless have a contract that says how many times a year they will do so.

    But the balance issue you bring up is very real. Fixable in the mix for a recording, but for the live audience, can be a tougher problem. I assume the singer's voice was not amplified?
  12. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    No, not amplified. Perish the thought. The symphonic concert hall is the last place where one can hear large scale non-amplified music, and I hope it stays that way.
  13. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Now that should simply not have happened, even if there was an acoustic aberration in your part of the hall. Jarowski conducts there regularly does he not? Some singers do hold their voice back on occasion- if they are having voice problems witha long performance ahead of them. I've heard it happen but only rarely.
  14. Vinniemac

    Vinniemac pfm Member

    Some years ago, I saw Jurowski and the LPO doing Korngokd's opera Das Wunder Der Heliane at the RFH. The singers were lined up behind the huge orchestra, and I felt like quoting Terry Jones in Monty Python's Life of Brian, when he couldn't hear the Semon on the Mount. I couldn't hear a bloody word.

    The only time I've been lucky enough to hear the Four Last Songs live was with Jane Eaglen with the Liverpool Phil. I could hear everything, and Jane Eaglen was (a bit to my surprise) very good indeed.
  15. SteveT

    SteveT pfm Member

    I have a copy of the above with Kiri Te Kanawa. I was young. I was poor. I was just finding my way in the world of classical music.

    What does the panel think would be the definitive version on CD that I should be listening to?
  16. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

  17. Todd A

    Todd A pfm Member

    Janowitz/Karajan or Popp/Tennstedt.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I've merged the two threads as it makes it easier to navigate.

    PS Since the original thread I found a copy of the Norman, so I have that and the Schwarzkopf. Both are excellent in their own way.
  19. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    The earlier one listen to Schwarzkopf's recorded performances ...the less of that Walter Legge -inspired tight over-focus-'cynissssssy-sounding '- vocal production seems to be in evidence.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That cool, restrained and understated nature is probably the thing I really like about the Schwarzkopf record. There is no hint of what I think of as 'over-singing' which can spoil a lot of classical vocal and opera for me (and certainly ruins any 'diva' pop stuff).

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