Author Topic: Christa Ludwig  (Read 9927 times)

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Offline Guido

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2012, 07:10:33 AM »
It's interesting what you say about a specific approach for a particular song or role. I never really thought about it with regard to Ludwig as my standby for the Lied von der Erde is the Klemperer with Wunderlich and I liked her very much. I listened to the Ich bin der Welt and you are right about the lack of specificity. Also, is there a vibrato in the voice here? This is something that she would not normally be found in the same sentence with. It could be the fault of the recording though.

ZB

Vibrato? In the one I linked to above? Yes! Lots of it! I've never heard her singing without vibrato - she was hardly one of the HIP vibratoless crew!
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Offline Guido

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2012, 07:14:23 AM »
At what time does the fil di voce in the Maureen Forrester clip appear? The bit at 3:45? Beautiful recording.
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2012, 09:26:21 AM »
At what time does the fil di voce in the Maureen Forrester clip appear? The bit at 3:45? Beautiful recording.

That one, too, but also at 5:50 and 6:45.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2012, 09:33:08 AM »
My favorite for Ich bin der Welt is not Ludwig but José van Dam. He doesn't explode in the middle like Hampton and hasn't the dry delivery of DFD. Depending on one's interpretation of the poem, it is not exactly a farewell to the world as in Lied von der Erde but a paean to solitude, which is exactly what he conveys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuQBg-tS0o8
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2012, 10:31:45 AM »
My favorite for Ich bin der Welt is not Ludwig but José van Dam. He doesn't explode in the middle like Hampton and hasn't the dry delivery of DFD. Depending on one's interpretation of the poem, it is not exactly a farewell to the world as in Lied von der Erde but a paean to solitude, which is exactly what he conveys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuQBg-tS0o8

Thank you for that, ZB. I was in the process of listening to a batch of versions of ich bin der Welt, when I saw your post. This would certainly be one of my favourite versions, though, for me, it doesn't quite eclipse Baker, who seems to me to already have withdrawn from the world, her singing almost other worldly. However I know you have a problem with Baker, so won't labour the point. Van Dam cetainly achieves a similar sense of innigkeit.

I also listened to Margaret Price, a voice I love, but sounding all wrong in this. Thinking maybe this had something to do with the soprano voice, I then listened to Jessye Norman, who does sing the song beautifully, but she sounds almost like a contralto here. That said, I've always prefered Norman singinging in the mezzo register. She has never sounded like a true soprano to me and I don't like her version of Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder at all. Margaret Price (live on youtube), on the other hand, sounds magnificent in them.

Next I listened to Fischer-Dieskau, who, singing in his own language, makes more of the words than anyone else except Schwarzkopf, who sang it under Bruno Walter at his farewell concert. Hers is not an entirely successful version, but she makes it work for the soprano voice much better than Price does, adopting a darker tone for the lower phrases and ethereally floating the higher ones.

Hunt Lieberson would also be a contender if she were singing with orchestra, but, though she is completely inside the song, she is hampered by the piano accompaniment. If anyone knows of a Hunt Lieberson version with orchestra, please direct me to it immediately.

Getting back to Ludwig, I would say that, gravely beautiful though her singing is, all the above singers (save Price) have greater insight into the song, and its meaning.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2012, 10:45:11 AM »
Is that the one Van Dam has on CD with Paul Casadesus?
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2012, 10:49:20 AM »
Thank you for that, ZB. I was in the process of listening to a batch of versions of ich bin der Welt, when I saw your post. This would certainly be one of my favourite versions, though, for me, it doesn't quite eclipse Baker, who seems to me to already have withdrawn from the world, her singing almost other worldly. However I know you have a problem with Baker, so won't labour the point. Van Dam cetainly achieves a similar sense of innigkeit.

I also listened to Margaret Price, a voice I love, but sounding all wrong in this. Thinking maybe this had something to do with the soprano voice, I then listened to Jessye Norman, who does sing the song beautifully, but she sounds almost like a contralto here. That said, I've always prefered Norman singinging in the mezzo register. She has never sounded like a true soprano to me and I don't like her version of Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder at all. Margaret Price (live on youtube), on the other hand, sounds magnificent in them.

Next I listened to Fischer-Dieskau, who, singing in his own language, makes more of the words than anyone else except Schwarzkopf, who sang it under Bruno Walter at his farewell concert. Hers is not an entirely successful version, but she makes it work for the soprano voice much better than Price does, adopting a darker tone for the lower phrases and ethereally floating the higher ones.

Hunt Lieberson would also be a contender if she were singing with orchestra, but, though she is completely inside the song, she is hampered by the piano accompaniment. If anyone knows of a Hunt Lieberson version with orchestra, please direct me to it immediately.

Getting back to Ludwig, I would say that, gravely beautiful though her singing is, all the above singers (save Price) have greater insight into the song, and its meaning.

Hi Tsaras,

I took your suggestions as a listening assignment and here is my homework.

I like Janet Baker very much in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. She is surely head and shoulders above most in this song with the innigkeit you described. The only problem I have here is conceptual. Perhaps those singers who recorded this Lied are somewhat evenly divided.  Some make the ending as trailing off into the sunset but that is not what Kathleen Ferrier does and I agree with her interpretation more.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77JoONFX8U&feature=related

One can be dead to the world's noise (media bombardment, advertising, rat race, acquiring the latest possessions) and have a heaven of life, love and song, even while alone. Probably Buddha would agree.

Ferrier also recorded with Walter but Schwartzkopf's version is so different. Yet, in her restraint captures the spirit in a very individual manner. I doubt if anyone then or now can remotely copy her.

Margaret Price is practically unlistenable. Where Schwatzkopf holds back, she just belts out the end of a phrase because it is comfortable vocally with no regard for the scansion of the word or shape of the phrase as spoken or sung.  Her maudlin fading out towards the end is without rhyme or reason.

ZB
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 10:54:44 PM by zamyrabyrd »
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2012, 03:45:13 PM »
Hope you enjoyed your assignment, ZB.

I can't imagine how I left Ferrier out when searching for recordings of the song, as I have known her version for many years. That said I take the opposite view to you and still prefer Baker in this particular song. I suppose preference depends on one's own view of the song. In Um Mitternacht, though, the roles are reversed, and I prefer Ferrier's deepe, Erda like, pronouncements. The effect is quite spine chilling and remains my favourite version of this song. Janet Baker's version, which I have on disc doesn't appear to be on youtube for you to compare, but, though thoughtful as ever, it doesn't make quite the same effect. Ludwig I again find generalised in her approach.

Here is the link to Ferrier's version of Um Mitternacht[/b. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8HSjNOXkFk


\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2012, 11:24:29 PM »
Hope you enjoyed your assignment, ZB.

I can't imagine how I left Ferrier out when searching for recordings of the song, as I have known her version for many years. That said I take the opposite view to you and still prefer Baker in this particular song. I suppose preference depends on one's own view of the song. In Um Mitternacht, though, the roles are reversed, and I prefer Ferrier's deepe, Erda like, pronouncements. The effect is quite spine chilling and remains my favourite version of this song. Janet Baker's version, which I have on disc doesn't appear to be on youtube for you to compare, but, though thoughtful as ever, it doesn't make quite the same effect. Ludwig I again find generalised in her approach.

Here is the link to Ferrier's version of Um Mitternacht[/b. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8HSjNOXkFk

This is going to sound like heresy, but first the disclaimer - even if one was not familiar with the text, one could not help but be moved by Ferrier's (and Walter's for that matter) deep involvement. But what makes for the spine chilling effect is the vibrato that to me is distracting. I can't really listen to everything she has recorded for that reason. Sometimes it is discreet but here it's really too much like the larynx muscles are tensed up. 
Maureen Forrester had a similar type voice (rare as they are) and always had a settled, even velvet quality, never once giving the effect of straining. Speaking of mezzos and contraltos, probably Forrester was underrated as a singer and interpreter. Her recordings, in my opinion, show how contraltos can and should sing.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline knight66

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2012, 11:31:54 AM »
I think you are right about Forrester, it was a great voice. I do enjoy that Ferrier.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2012, 08:22:45 AM »
This is going to sound like heresy, but first the disclaimer - even if one was not familiar with the text, one could not help but be moved by Ferrier's (and Walter's for that matter) deep involvement. But what makes for the spine chilling effect is the vibrato that to me is distracting. I can't really listen to everything she has recorded for that reason. Sometimes it is discreet but here it's really too much like the larynx muscles are tensed up. 
Maureen Forrester had a similar type voice (rare as they are) and always had a settled, even velvet quality, never once giving the effect of straining. Speaking of mezzos and contraltos, probably Forrester was underrated as a singer and interpreter. Her recordings, in my opinion, show how contraltos can and should sing.

ZB

I went looking for Forrester in the Ruckert Lieder and came across these two songs on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYiiz9f2vgE  I prefer Baker's lighter touch in Liebst du am Schonheit, but Um Mitternacht suits Forrester admirably, though she too is hardly without vibrato. Might it have something to do with the way the voice has to penetrate the rather heavy, brass orchestration? Both Callas and Schwarzkopf, in their masterclasses, talk of the need to vibrate the voice in heavily orchestrated passages.




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Offline Guido

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2012, 06:03:54 AM »
I don't understand these comments about vibrato? It sounds like it's being objected to as an idea. But presumably you're talking about too much vibrato?
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Offline mjwal

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 04:24:42 AM »
I too far prefer Forrester to Ludwig, a singer who has seldom provided me with those frissons and/or insights one expects from the vocal art. Unfortunately, there is far less of the former on record. She also recorded "Ich bin der Welt..." with Fricsay - in fact, I downloaded that and "Um Mitternacht" from the net - I've forgotten the site/link but it wasn't too difficult to find. Irreplaceable. I used to be moved by the Ferrier/Walter of the latter song, but the heavy layer of emotional sincerity Ferrier applied to everything she did - in spades - now tends to repel me. Ludwig is almost the opposite - as has been remarked by others here, her work seems strangely lacking in detailed response to words & music, almost faceless - though yes, she is very fine in Bartók's A kékszakállú herceg vára). But there are no other recordings by her that I would choose for Pleasure, Frissons & Co.
Forrester's is one of the two finest singers of the alto songs of DLvdE, in my estimation, the other being Nan Merriman (but I haven't yet heard Fassbaender).
Sorry for conspiring in the theft of your Ludwig thread, Guido!
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Offline Guido

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2012, 08:32:06 AM »
No its all good! I want to explore all these names!
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Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2012, 08:38:59 AM »
I've got:



But I usually prefer Fischer-Dieskau.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2012, 11:15:40 PM »
I too far prefer Forrester to Ludwig, a singer who has seldom provided me with those frissons and/or insights one expects from the vocal art. Unfortunately, there is far less of the former on record. She also recorded "Ich bin der Welt..." with Fricsay - in fact, I downloaded that and "Um Mitternacht" from the net - I've forgotten the site/link but it wasn't too difficult to find. Irreplaceable. I used to be moved by the Ferrier/Walter of the latter song, but the heavy layer of emotional sincerity Ferrier applied to everything she did - in spades - now tends to repel me.

Totally agree. Actually, I saw Forrester in person giving a masterclass many years ago, an elegant and knowledgable woman.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2012, 12:20:58 AM »
Here's another Maureen Forrester recording.
"He was Despised" (Messiah) in a slow tempo without being maudlin, no vocal tricks or extraneous emoting, just hardhitting understatement:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBrjw539KR8&feature=related

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2018, 09:36:56 AM »
My interview with Christa Ludwig (in German, alas) for Crescendo Magazine:


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/C8St0mt6V6E" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/C8St0mt6V6E</a>

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2018, 09:09:33 AM »
My interview with Christa Ludwig (in German, alas) for Crescendo Magazine:

How nice to see her elegantly coiffed, well made-up and dressed!  Her speaking voice still has a sparkle to it, after all the use over the years, at the age of 90.  Fine lady!
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline king ubu

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Re: Christa Ludwig
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2018, 03:48:55 AM »
My interview with Christa Ludwig (in German, alas) for Crescendo Magazine:

"... aber sonst find ich das sehr schön!"  ;D

cool beans!
Es wollt ein meydlein grasen gan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Und do die roten röslein stan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Fick mich mehr, du hast dein ehr.
Kannstu nit, ich wills dich lern.
Fick mich, lieber Peter!

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