Author Topic: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg  (Read 16845 times)

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Offline rubio

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Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« on: May 25, 2008, 07:34:13 AM »
Which are your favourite recordings for this Wagner opera and why? I have listened to the Kubelik recording on Arts Archive, and for me it's the greatest Wagner recording I have heard so far (I'm not a big Wagner fan, though). The lyricism Kubelik brings out from the score is just what I look for, and the singers Thomas Stewart (Sachs), Janowitz (Eva), Sandor Konya (Walther) and Fassbaender (Magdalene) are top-notch. I also wonder if it's the work itself or the recording that is so great. I have listened to the Ring and part of Tristan earlier.



And how is the Kempe recording? I'm generally a Kempe fan so this is interesting. His new Ring on Testament could maybe tempt me into buying my first complete Ring, but first I would like to see some reviews.

“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Offline knight66

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 07:56:02 AM »
rubio, You happen to have hit on two of the best. The Kubelik is my own favourite. I discovered it by accident years ago in a second hand shop. How anyone could have parted with it is beyond me. It was recorded with the idea of issuing it under the DGG label. However, it was ultimately witheld as Deitrich Fischer-Dieskau signaled his desire to record the part of Sachs. The result was the Jochum version and Kubelik's recording languished in the vaults, as commercially the company could not issue the opera twice in a short period. Rumour suggests DFD insisted the recording should not be issued. I have no idea whether this is true. However, such a splendid performance did lie unlistened to for a long time while a lesser recording was aired.

I am not now clear whether the Kubelik was recorded live, but it was certainly recorded at least an act at a time, so you get the best of the reality of a live performance without the considerable drawback of stage noise that often occurs in this opera.

You have pointed out the excellence of the singers, it is pretty much a dream cast. Thomas Stewart was under appreciated, his is both a beautiful voice and a detailed portrail of the role.

Kubelik manages a warmth and a natural pacing plus detail and he supports the singers beautifully, sticks to them like glue. It is as good as it gets in my opinion.

The Kempe is much admired, Grummer especially is in beautiful voice. Kempe is similar in approach to Kubelik, lyrical, warm, no mauling of tempi. It is an excellent set, the sound is good and I would recommend it.

I have two Karajan recordings, one live from Bayreuth with all the galumphing stage noise, it has lots going for it including a very good cast, but the sound is dry and I can live without the set. It celebrates the opening of the opera house for staged opera after the war. Schwartzkopf is probably the greatest singing asset and Karajan never wallows. He however recorded the piece much later with the Dresden forces and that venerable orchestra provides the most beautiful playing imaginable. The singers Karajan chose are on the young side, Donath perhaps a little lightweight; but the whole performance has a glow to it a flow to it and it makes for a very satisfying listen.

I eventually got rid of the Jochum, there was nothing in it that was not better elsewhere, though I did very much enjoy DFD, however, ultimately, it is the wrong voice for Sachs; not enough natural weight, also the Eva was voiced by a curdled singer and was a considerable drawback.

Rest assured, you have the best.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 08:55:32 AM »
Regarding the fine Kubelik, the mystery surrounding its origins has sparked intense speculation since it first burst on the scene in the early '90's.

We had a discussion on the subject awhile back and since it's still a fascinating tale I repost the discussion for the benefit of any new members who might be interested.

Since the discussion is rather lengthy, the short of it is, even with the passage of time little is known as to just how such a fine recording came to be 'withheld'. About the only thing that is confirmed is that it was originally a Bavarian Radio production made to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the premiere of the work. Bavarian Radio then approached DG about releasing it commercially but were turned down. After that, things get...interesting...



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline knight66

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 08:57:06 AM »
Thanks for that.....I had forgotten the basic circumstances.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline val

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 01:13:22 AM »
My favorite version is the one conducted by Kubelik, with very good soloists (Konya, Janowitz, Fassbänder and even Thomas Stewart), and a splendid direction, full of life and in some moments a beautiful poetry.

In second place, perhaps Jochum, but Placido Domingo is never a credible Walther.

Karajan in Dresde never convinced me. Slow, heavy, it seems he is conducting an oratorio. And Theo Adam has the same conception.

The old version of Furtwängler (I had it on LP, but not complete), has a fabulous Walther, the great Max Lorenz, a terrible sound and a mediocre Sachs (Prohaska)

I never heard the Jochum version of 1949, with Hotter.

The excerpts of Sachs role by Friedrich Schorr are very, very impressive.

Offline rubio

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 11:12:44 AM »
rubio, You happen to have hit on two of the best. The Kubelik is my own favourite. I discovered it by accident years ago in a second hand shop. How anyone could have parted with it is beyond me. It was recorded with the idea of issuing it under the DGG label. However, it was ultimately witheld as Deitrich Fischer-Dieskau signaled his desire to record the part of Sachs. The result was the Jochum version and Kubelik's recording languished in the vaults, as commercially the company could not issue the opera twice in a short period. Rumour suggests DFD insisted the recording should not be issued. I have no idea whether this is true. However, such a splendid performance did lie unlistened to for a long time while a lesser recording was aired.

I am not now clear whether the Kubelik was recorded live, but it was certainly recorded at least an act at a time, so you get the best of the reality of a live performance without the considerable drawback of stage noise that often occurs in this opera.

You have pointed out the excellence of the singers, it is pretty much a dream cast. Thomas Stewart was under appreciated, his is both a beautiful voice and a detailed portrail of the role.

Kubelik manages a warmth and a natural pacing plus detail and he supports the singers beautifully, sticks to them like glue. It is as good as it gets in my opinion.

The Kempe is much admired, Grummer especially is in beautiful voice. Kempe is similar in approach to Kubelik, lyrical, warm, no mauling of tempi. It is an excellent set, the sound is good and I would recommend it.

I have two Karajan recordings, one live from Bayreuth with all the galumphing stage noise, it has lots going for it including a very good cast, but the sound is dry and I can live without the set. It celebrates the opening of the opera house for staged opera after the war. Schwartzkopf is probably the greatest singing asset and Karajan never wallows. He however recorded the piece much later with the Dresden forces and that venerable orchestra provides the most beautiful playing imaginable. The singers Karajan chose are on the young side, Donath perhaps a little lightweight; but the whole performance has a glow to it a flow to it and it makes for a very satisfying listen.

I eventually got rid of the Jochum, there was nothing in it that was not better elsewhere, though I did very much enjoy DFD, however, ultimately, it is the wrong voice for Sachs; not enough natural weight, also the Eva was voiced by a curdled singer and was a considerable drawback.

Rest assured, you have the best.

Mike

Thank you very much for your detailed comments, Mike!
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 02:28:53 PM »


Karajan in Dresden never convinced me. Slow, heavy, it seems he is conducting an oratorio. And Theo Adam has the same conception.



  Oh no! What's wrong with me!  I just can't seem to reach an agreement with my Wagnerian friends and colleagues here on GMG.  PSmith08 and I prefer different Tristan und Isolde recordings.  Sarge and I prefer different Ring Cycles and now this post from Val concerning the Karajan Die Meistersinger in Dresden on EMI.  I love that Karajan recording of Die Meistersinger. Oh what am I to do   :-\? what am I to do   :(?  I feel so alone in my opinions sometimes :'(....(sigh).......

  Well at least we can all agree that we like Wagner's music dramas.

  marvin
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 02:30:41 PM by marvinbrown »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2008, 04:35:10 PM »
  Oh no! What's wrong with me!  I just can't seem to reach an agreement with my Wagnerian friends and colleagues here on GMG.  PSmith08 and I prefer different Tristan und Isolde recordings.  Sarge and I prefer different Ring Cycles and now this post from Val concerning the Karajan Die Meistersinger in Dresden on EMI.  I love that Karajan recording of Die Meistersinger. Oh what am I to do   :-\? what am I to do   :(?  I feel so alone in my opinions sometimes :'(....(sigh).......

  Well at least we can all agree that we like Wagner's music dramas.

  marvin

Marvin, I feel your pain, man. I'm the only person on earth who loves Klemperer's Mahler 7  ;D

Concerning Meistersinger: Kubelik's my favorite too but the Karajans come in second and third.

Sarge
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 05:48:16 PM »
  Oh no! What's wrong with me!  I just can't seem to reach an agreement with my Wagnerian friends and colleagues here on GMG.  PSmith08 and I prefer different Tristan und Isolde recordings.  Sarge and I prefer different Ring Cycles and now this post from Val concerning the Karajan Die Meistersinger in Dresden on EMI.  I love that Karajan recording of Die Meistersinger. Oh what am I to do   :-\? what am I to do   :(?  I feel so alone in my opinions sometimes :'(....(sigh).......

  Well at least we can all agree that we like Wagner's music dramas.

  marvin


Well, don't feel too bad. I tend to prefer oddball choices out of left field. For example, I am really keen on Furtwängler's Meistersinger from Bayreuth, 1943. I know it has some substantial lacunae and the sound is awful (with some of the vocalists not far behind), but there is a heft and a shine to the recording - dimly seen, though clearly there - that no one else has matched. There is a fundamental dignity to Furtwängler's reading, even though the score is light-hearted much of the time, that matches the fundamental truths of the score.

After Furtwängler, I am partial to Fritz Reiner's 1955 Vienna recording on Orfeo, from the reopening of the Staatsoper. It has all of Reiner's trademark precision with a band that knows how to make some beautiful noise. I don't think it has quite the same internal self-awareness and dignity of the Furtwängler set, but it is an idiomatic and powerful account marking a very special occasion.

Of the 'modern' sets, I prefer Barenboim's Bayreuth set. Only then does Karajan enter the equation. His set is beautifully played and reasonably sung (especially Peter Schreier's David), but it hasn't really ever settled as well as Furtwängler or Reiner for me.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 05:42:19 AM »


  I also love this DVD recording, I just felt like mentioning it:

 

  marvin
 

Offline bricon

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 04:38:35 PM »
It appears that there is a “truth that must not be uttered” within this thread, so here goes:

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is not a particularly funny comedy, it is theatrically tedious in places but it does contain some magnificent musical ideas.

Wagner was not suited to write comedies; he should have stuck with dramatic works.

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 06:46:25 PM »
It appears that there is a “truth that must not be uttered” within this thread, so here goes:

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is not a particularly funny comedy, it is theatrically tedious in places but it does contain some magnificent musical ideas.

Wagner was not suited to write comedies; he should have stuck with dramatic works.


Your unutterable truth is best understood in a more-classical definition of 'comedy,' i.e., a play with a happy ending, which Meistersinger has, to be sure.

Offline bricon

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 07:50:22 PM »
Your unutterable truth is best understood in a more-classical definition of 'comedy,' i.e., a play with a happy ending, which Meistersinger has, to be sure.

I am aware that the (“classical”) term comedy doesn’t necessarily mean that a work is funny but the term certainly CAN mean that. Wagner intended Meistersinger to be a comical (ie “funny ha-ha”) opera; in Mein Leben, Wagner refers to his conception of individual scenes within the opera as being “comic” (ie humourous).

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 08:18:02 PM »
I am aware that the (“classical”) term comedy doesn’t necessarily mean that a work is funny but the term certainly CAN mean that. Wagner intended Meistersinger to be a comical (ie “funny ha-ha”) opera; in Mein Leben, Wagner refers to his conception of individual scenes within the opera as being “comic” (ie humourous).

Definitions of humor change with changing times and changing contexts. For all we know, Meistersinger was hilarious to members of the original audiences. Things that were funny in the United States fifty or sixty years ago, i.e., within a couple of generations and certainly within living memory, wouldn't necessarily be funny to someone born in 1986.

Offline knight66

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 09:26:25 PM »
Exactly, there is for instance Charlie Chaplin.....I have never cracked so much as a smile there: complete mystery. In Shakespeare's time his comedies made people laugh. Read through the gate keeper's speech in Macbeth, I defy you to laugh. As funny as a dead seal.

Mike
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2008, 02:00:21 AM »

  Whether Die Meistersinger is very funny or not is beside the point! I suppose it could depend on your sense of humour  :-\??  However, what I find most intriguing about this opera is its sound world.  It has that magical "feel good" quality to it coupled with some of the most beautiful light-hearted music Wagner ever wrote.  The Prize Song and that quintet in ACT 3 along with the overture lift my spirits every time I hear them  0:).

  EDIT: ACT 3 NOT ACT 4 (Sorry Karl!)

  marvin
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 12:33:02 PM by marvinbrown »

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2008, 07:18:37 AM »
Exactly, there is for instance Charlie Chaplin.....I have never cracked so much as a smile there: complete mystery. In Shakespeare's time his comedies made people laugh. Read through the gate keeper's speech in Macbeth, I defy you to laugh. As funny as a dead seal.

Mike

However both Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia can still be very funny in performance. Ditto Verdi's Falstaff, which brims with good humour and high spirits, both somewhat lacking in the much more lugubrious Die Meistersinger. And many of Shakespeare's comedies are still funny. I often find the mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream, for instance, rather tedious and unfunny, but the lovers' tiffs and misunderstandings can still be hilarious. Ditto the repartee between Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. Indeed it was a refreshing experience to hear people in the cinema laughing at the dialogue in Kenneth Branagh's film version, rather than any extraneous added funny business.
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Offline knight66

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2008, 09:42:05 AM »
Yes, I would not argue with any of that, but it is also true that what was funny a long time ago does not always tickle the funny bone now.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2009, 05:23:57 AM »
Has anyone heard the EMI 1993 recording with Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting the Bayerisches Staatsorchester and Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper?

I plan on listening to all of Act I today, as I only had a chance to listen to the Overture and Scene 1, but was already blown away!  :)  The choir Da zu dir der Heiland kam movement that follows the Overture gave me shivers.

 :)

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2009, 10:27:39 AM »
  The  EMI/Sawallsich  version  is  very  fine,and  so  is  the  live Solti/Chicago  version  on  Decca. Many  don't think  much  of  the  earlier VPO  Solti  recording, but  it  has  its  good  qualities  and  the  VPO  plays  beautifully,as you expect it would.
  I  also  admire  the  DG Jochum recording,which actually came out only about a year after the live performances with Jochum at the Deutsche oper.
  Unfortunately, a planned DG recording,also with the Deutsche Oper and under Thielemann with Bryn Terfel was cancelled,apparently for financial reasons.
  There are those who admire the Decca recording with Knappertsbusch and the VPO,which has recently been reissued,but I haven't head it.
 

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