Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 391755 times)

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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #600 on: March 06, 2021, 06:40:14 AM »
Well, I doubt it really qualifies as a "favorite vocal recital", but I've always been curious about Sylvia Sass's pop/disco album. I just found the whole thing on youtube. I'm only to track three, "I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ Superstar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCLxeWBxBLs
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #601 on: March 06, 2021, 07:22:30 AM »
Well, I doubt it really qualifies as a "favorite vocal recital", but I've always been curious about Sylvia Sass's pop/disco album. I just found the whole thing on youtube. I'm only to track three, "I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ Superstar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCLxeWBxBLs

Actually not as bad as I expected, though some of them sound very weird in Hungarian, particularly Total Eclipse of the Heart.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #602 on: May 13, 2021, 05:55:36 AM »
I can add this recording to my favorite vocal recital list (cross-posted from ‘Listening’ thread):

This entire recording:



I had already listened to the various orchesterlieder from this recording but went back and listened to Vier Letzte Lieder and now playing through the recording again. What can I say that hasn’t already been said before about this recording? Not much! Schwarzkopf has an individual feel for these works. In the Vier Letzte Lieder, the closest comparison I can make is Cheryl Studer not in terms of timbre, but the highly personal feeling she puts into the words that somehow transcend everything and make the music about Strauss and not herself. Szell’s accompaniment, like Sinopoli’s, is also on the same lines as Schwarzkopf --- a different perspective, but never about himself. Incredible music-making and the fidelity of this recording is first-rate --- the remastering sounds wonderful.
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Offline Fritz Kobus

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #603 on: May 13, 2021, 11:15:22 AM »

Disk 1, Wagner. Disk 2, Schumann


Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #604 on: May 14, 2021, 12:22:02 AM »
I can add this recording to my favorite vocal recital list (cross-posted from ‘Listening’ thread):

With Strauss's soaringly gorgeous writing for the soprano voice, it is easy to forget that these are Lieder, not mere vocalises, and Strauss no doubt chose the various texts for a reason. I have quite a few different recordings, including two others by Schwarzkopf, but this is the one I always return to. Schwarzkopf can soar with the best of them, but she also brings her deep experience as a Lieder singer to the texts, which quite often go for nothing.

In recent years, I've noticed how critics and contributors tend to prefer versions by such as Isokoski, Janowitz, Te Kanawa, who, however beautifully they sing, are much less specific in their response to the text. Even Jessye Norman, who sings another favourite version of mine, is more generalised in her interpretation of the words.

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

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #605 on: May 21, 2021, 11:44:29 AM »



CD 1 from this box:



I’ve had this box since it was issued, but I still have to plumb its depths. I don’t think I’ve listened to more than 10% of it so far.

So, on to this disc, Callas’ first studio recital from 1949. It’s very short, doesn’t make it to the half hour mark, but suprisingly representative of the singer’s enormous range. One never hears Isolde’s Liebestod sung in Italian these days, but that’s how it was done in those days. I recently heard a version by Germaine Lubin from 1938 sung in French. Wagner was not an aria composer, especially not that late in his career. Mild und leise is as close to a standard aria as we are likely to hear. Having it sung in Italian sort of reinforces that impression. The italian words come out easily and the vowels float beautifully. Despite its not lying high on the voice (it ends on a F#, quite under the climactic ABC notes one usually hears in the soprano range) it is not easy to sing. That concluding leap to a pianissimo F# never comes out easily if one is not named Birgit Nilsson. And so it is with Callas who, even at the start of her career shows a hint of instability on that note. But that doesn’t matter one bit. Her portrayal is immensely affecting, as if singing from the afterworld. Other sopranos give the aria a sense of worldly summation before quietly expiring. Callas gives us a Tod und Verklärung scena, a true transfiguration. It is said that Anna Pavlova gave that sense of sublimity to her dying swan scene. Big goosebump moment here.

In Norma she is in impeccable vocal form, the portrayal of the gaul druidess fully formed and superbly carried out vocally. As Elvira in I Puritani she is even more impressive, the voice liquid and pliant in O rendetemi la speme, strong and valiant in the cabaletta, rising to a stunning high E flat, cutting and brilliant like a laser beam. The note is taken from below, portamento-like, an effect I’ve always loved. It gives it a crunch that is irresistible even if a tad on the vulgar side.


Edit: I found this recension of Callas’ Dolce e calmo in a site devoted to that aria’s most famous interpreters. It’s one person’s opinion of course, but I happen to agree with it !
Quote
Isolde: (In Italian), Isotta, December 1949; RAI Orchestra, Torino, cond. Arturo Basile.
From the beginning, the voice rises, nostalgic and clear, slightly from the chest in the lowest reaches of the music, before deliberately engaging in 'bel canto'. Her gruppetti belong to the coloratura and the singer handles crescendi and effects with great care until she obtains bright G sharps, sorrowfully struck in the timbre. Tempo somewhat slowed down in the medium of the central part, last note less happy, even if held out for a long time. Lurid interpretation of a tragedian, projected audibly over the orchestra despite her youth. In fact, nearer to the character than has been admitted so far
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 02:39:32 PM by André »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #606 on: May 21, 2021, 07:35:33 PM »
With Strauss's soaringly gorgeous writing for the soprano voice, it is easy to forget that these are Lieder, not mere vocalises, and Strauss no doubt chose the various texts for a reason. I have quite a few different recordings, including two others by Schwarzkopf, but this is the one I always return to. Schwarzkopf can soar with the best of them, but she also brings her deep experience as a Lieder singer to the texts, which quite often go for nothing.

In recent years, I've noticed how critics and contributors tend to prefer versions by such as Isokoski, Janowitz, Te Kanawa, who, however beautifully they sing, are much less specific in their response to the text. Even Jessye Norman, who sings another favourite version of mine, is more generalised in her interpretation of the words.

Sorry for the late replay, but I think that’s a good point, Tsaraslondon. She seems to not worry about showboating her voice (and it is magnificent), but she’s more concerned with the way she phrases the words and brings out all of the lovely nuances that these words encapsulate. I do like Isokoski, Norman and Janowitz a lot and think highly of their performances, but Schwarzkopf is in a completely different class altogether. By far, my favorite of all the ones I’ve heard so far. A distant second-place would be Cheryl Studer (w/ Sinopoli). I love this performance also for its individuality and the way Studer is able to hang onto certain words and her phrasing is beautiful. That kind of yearning quality is what I think Studer excels in.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 07:37:24 PM by Mirror Image »
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Online ritter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #607 on: June 10, 2021, 12:01:32 AM »
Watching this wonderful, Spanish-infused recital by Marianne Crebassa and pianist Alphonse Cemin, held at La Scala in Milan 4 days ago (I don't know how long the video will be available on YouTube):

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ms1kRFVTpWM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ms1kRFVTpWM</a>
The program is really attractive, including four of the lovely Canciones castellanas by Jesús Guridi (pity there's a glitch in the video in my favourite of this group, Como quieres que advine), an extraordinary rendition of Debussy's Trois chanons de Bilitis, some Falla, Berlioz's Les nuits d'été, some Ravel and two arias from Carmen. Mme. Crebassa had already made a very, very strong impression on me in her recording of the piano version of Shéhérazade and the Bilitis songs (with Fazil Say), and this is confirmed here.

I understand a CD of a similar program has already been (or will soon be) recorded.

Recommended!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 12:05:06 AM by ritter »
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Offline JBS

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #608 on: June 21, 2021, 04:45:15 PM »
Re: Schwarzkopf recordings of Strauss's Four Last Songs.

The new Warner set devoted to Dennis Brain includes a recording of Mrs. Legge singing the Four Last Songs with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Karajan. It's a live recording in mono from a June 20, 1956 London concert. Remastering dates are shown as 1990 and 2014, but the only CD release of this recording I can find seems is in the EMI Icon box devoted to Schwarzkopf.

Does anyone know of any other CD issue?

(It is not in the EMI Karajan Remastered set. Nor should it be confused with another recording she made with the Philharmonia conducted by Otto Ackerman.)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #609 on: June 21, 2021, 05:10:11 PM »
Re: Schwarzkopf recordings of Strauss's Four Last Songs.

The new Warner set devoted to Dennis Brain includes a recording of Mrs. Legge singing the Four Last Songs with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Karajan. It's a live recording in mono from a June 20, 1956 London concert. Remastering dates are shown as 1990 and 2014, but the only CD release of this recording I can find seems is in the EMI Icon box devoted to Schwarzkopf.

Does anyone know of any other CD issue?

(It is not in the EMI Karajan Remastered set. Nor should it be confused with another recording she made with the Philharmonia conducted by Otto Ackerman.)

If you can’t find it, it’s more than likely the first time it’s appeared on disc.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #610 on: June 22, 2021, 12:57:29 AM »
Re: Schwarzkopf recordings of Strauss's Four Last Songs.

The new Warner set devoted to Dennis Brain includes a recording of Mrs. Legge singing the Four Last Songs with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Karajan. It's a live recording in mono from a June 20, 1956 London concert. Remastering dates are shown as 1990 and 2014, but the only CD release of this recording I can find seems is in the EMI Icon box devoted to Schwarzkopf.

Does anyone know of any other CD issue?

(It is not in the EMI Karajan Remastered set. Nor should it be confused with another recording she made with the Philharmonia conducted by Otto Ackerman.)

It was first issued by EMI in 1990 on this disc



and I see it is also in this 2014 box



Incidentally, I don't prefer it to either the Ackermann or the Szell studio recordings. Karajan changes the order of the songs, placing September last. It's also the fastest of the three performances.

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

Offline JBS

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #611 on: June 22, 2021, 04:36:59 PM »
It was first issued by EMI in 1990 on this disc



and I see it is also in this 2014 box



Incidentally, I don't prefer it to either the Ackermann or the Szell studio recordings. Karajan changes the order of the songs, placing September last. It's also the fastest of the three performances.

Thank you. I managed to look through the contents of the Karajan set twice, yet still missed it!

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #612 on: July 07, 2021, 10:01:36 AM »
As some may have noticed, I have been having a concentrated spell of Berlioz listening.

I finished off by listening to all ten of my recordings of his gorgeous song cycle Les Nuits d'Eté, which I then reviewed on my blog. You can read my conclusions by clicking on the following link, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.com/2021/07/07/berliozs-les-nuits-dete/
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #613 on: July 07, 2021, 10:58:49 AM »
Excellent recension, TL !

I haven’t heard Lieberson. Should remedy to that…

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #614 on: July 07, 2021, 02:23:04 PM »
Excellent recension, TL !

I haven’t heard Lieberson. Should remedy to that…

Thank you. Hunt Lieberson is a late discovery of mine. Now one of my favourite singers.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #615 on: July 08, 2021, 01:30:41 AM »
As some may have noticed, I have been having a concentrated spell of Berlioz listening.

I finished off by listening to all ten of my recordings of his gorgeous song cycle Les Nuits d'Eté, which I then reviewed on my blog. You can read my conclusions by clicking on the following link, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.com/2021/07/07/berliozs-les-nuits-dete/

Thanks for your thoughtful review. I have most of the versions you review and could probably find things to argue with but not very much of significance. I enjoy the Davis multi-voice  version more than you seem to have done though agree about Frank Patterson. Baker/Barbirolli and Davis/multi are the ones I have listened to most over the years (I have both on LP). I will have to look out the Hunt Lieberson recording.

I heard the Baker/Giulini performance live; it was a bit on the slow side but still a wonderful experience.

When the work was surveyed on BBC R3 Buiding a Library the top choice was Brigitte Balleys/Herreweghe. It is an interesting performance but I can't help thinking the reviewer was trying to be different in passing over the usual suspects.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #616 on: July 08, 2021, 01:39:54 AM »
Thanks for your thoughtful review. I have most of the versions you review and could probably find things to argue with but not very much of significance. I enjoy the Davis multi-voice  version more than you seem to have done though agree about Frank Patterson. Baker/Barbirolli and Davis/multi are the ones I have listened to most over the years (I have both on LP). I will have to look out the Hunt Lieberson recording.

I heard the Baker/Giulini performance live; it was a bit on the slow side but still a wonderful experience.

When the work was surveyed on BBC R3 Buiding a Library the top choice was Brigitte Balleys/Herreweghe. It is an interesting performance but I can't help thinking the reviewer was trying to be different in passing over the usual suspects.

I know what you mean. I've heard the Baileys/Herreweghe performance, and it's certainly interesting, but I just can't take to Baileys' peculiar vocal production.

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

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #617 on: July 08, 2021, 05:05:31 AM »
My own favourite Nuits are from Measha Brueggergosman (on DGG) and Suzanne Danco (Decca).

Brueggergosman ticks all the boxes with her luxuriant singing, effervescent personality and perfect diction. Danco is special, an über cool vocal production that is certainly an acquired taste, but god, the way she sculpts phrases in the marble of her voice is unique !

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #618 on: July 14, 2021, 12:55:28 PM »
I haven’t heard Lieberson. Should remedy to that…

+ 1
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #619 on: July 20, 2021, 10:36:12 AM »
Of all the performances I’ve heard of Les nuits d’été, I have to say my favorite is the Gens on Erato:



Some may not like Gens’ lighter voice or feel that perhaps her performance lacks the kind of heft this work needs or whatever kind of criticism you want to give the performance, but I for one believe this to be one of the strengths of her performance. Her delivery is, most of all, heartfelt. She soars with ease over the Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Lyon, but it’s important to note that the accompaniment from Louis Langrée is not without mentioning. He soars with Gens in all the right places and lays back when he knows it’s appropriate. He doesn’t overpower Gens and this is something that I think is important to understand, especially in an orchestral song cycle or concerto.

Some other favorite Les nuits d’été performances and a few brief notes:



I rate Hunt Lieberson (or is it just Lieberson?) quite highly. The only negative is the audio quality, but it’s a live recordings and there are some moments of instability in the fidelity and sometimes an audience member coughs rather loudly to where it’s a bit of a distraction, but Lieberson carries the day with her gorgeous voice. Her range was phenomenal and, like Gens, I felt every note she sung.



I won’t say a whole lot here as this is a well-regarded classic for a reason. Baker could sing Foster's Swanee River and I’d be there in the front row. The woman had a set of glorious pipes on her. Everything sounds well-articulated and her partnership with Barbirolli was always special. A bonafide classic without a doubt.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 10:37:56 AM by Mirror Image »
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