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Richard Strauss Four Last Songs

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

  1. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    I read once - back in their hey-day , where W.R.C stated that they used new pressing stampers (-issued & provided by the record companies owning the original copyrights of performances )only up to a limit of manufacturing about 350 vinyl pressings., Whereas they stated - main companies (when pressing their own copies) were known to go as far as making 500 copies and more from any single pressing stamper.
    This, possibly explains the situation , you once uncounted.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I suspect you have missed a zero off there! A stamper set can be good for 5000 pressings IIRC.
  3. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    Decades ago, when friends gathered for a classical opera 'jam session', often one or two of the males would do their
    'party trick' and reduce others -present, to laughter.
    A favorite , clasping their chest & stomach momentarily for 'added vocal support'....and -mimicking : letting out 'the said diva's synonymous clasped backside 'cat -scratch howls' .
    To the sharp critical eye: it was equally fascinating to observe the
    Legge visual 'transformation of 'Dame Elizabeth...from someone looking like a frump house frau...(at the very same time period)then identically copying the then newly invented windswept bouffant hairstyle & look , 'the 60's mature glamor image ' created for the popular -song concert artist / entertainer & film star . Marlene Dietrich :D.

    To have seen live - Jessye Norman at her very peak , perform Strauss' 4 Last Songs , , with the Closing Scene from Strauss Capriccio is my benchmark.

    Many a renowned Strauss diva attempts the "4 Songs'" (for example-recently) such as Renee Fleming... though through she do not vocally falter and I admire her to a great deal..i concede .her recent excursion (Decca) shows her late 50's voice is not now suited to the texture of this particular material.
  4. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I can tell you Schwarzkopf is, or rather was every bit as imposing in the flesh as her reputation. I was introduced to her at a reception at the ROH in the 80's. I was in my 20's and it felt like you were meeting Brenda. It was certainly the first time I'd met a prominent member of the Nazi Party.
  5. Music freak

    Music freak pfm Member

    Your comment recalls one, I heard from a often much World -travelled music enthusiast & academic who noted during one Concert, Schwarzkopf gave , he was shocked to witness ..at the end of singing a Prussian themed song ...'things got the better of her'. On the final musical note, she raised her arm and gave a swift but unmistakeable Nazi salute.
  6. Cheese

    Cheese Bitter lover

    Personally I'd rather see a video of this episode before I decide to be shocked :rolleyes:
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I must admit I didn't know about Schwarzkopf's remarkably dubious past. Nazi connections seem to have blighted the careers of quite a few landmark classical musicians. I guess there is an argument some had to go along with it just to survive, it was after all a dictatorship, but some such as Schwarzkopf seemed to go the extra mile.
  8. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    She apparently enjoyed the favours of a significant Gauleiter. My favourite quote about her was from Charles Mackerras- his daughters came into the studio one day when he was recording with her and she said to him "I see your girls don't curtsy".
  9. Vinniemac

    Vinniemac pfm Member

    Wow, that's fantastic. I never warmed to her as a singer, though there's no question she was a great one. Just not to my taste. I remember she once wrote a letter to Gramophone complaining that one of the critics had praised her intelligence rather than her singing.
  10. Buntobox

    Buntobox pfm Member

    Agreed. Janowitz's voice is bell-like angelic perfection.
  11. Gerontius

    Gerontius Forever dreaming...

    Nobody has mentioned Renee Fleming. I bought her recording of these songs, conducted by Eschenbach, a few years ago and found it rather disappointing. It is a full-blooded and expressive performance, but there is too much vibrato and to me that is a distraction.

    I agree with many others here, Janowitz or Schwarzkopf.
  12. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

  13. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    I found this on the BBC website and have just listened to it.
    Although I've heard this extraordinary work so many times, this broadcast left me rather emotional.
  14. ciderglider

    ciderglider pfm Member

    I believe she once appeared on Desert Island Discs, and selected only her recordings of her own performances.
  15. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    I suspect that:-

    a) She was too grand to ever have heard of the programme and didn`t know what it was all about, or,

    b) Virtually all her post war recordings were produced by Walter Legge and she wanted to be reminded of him, she did write (have ghostwritten) a very fond biography of him.

  16. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Entirely true. She and Walter Legge were a marriage made in heaven..
  17. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 pfm Member

    Thanks for posting that.

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