GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: Manish on October 27, 2007, 09:34:57 AM

Title: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Manish on October 27, 2007, 09:34:57 AM
I love Strauss's Four Last Songs and so far have heard 4 different versions: Janowitz/Karajan, Norman/Masur, Schwarzkopf/Szell, and Studer/Sinopoli.  I think my favorits is probably the Janowitz/Karajan.  I really like Janowitz's singing. 

Are there any other versions out there I should consider?  What are everyone else's favorite?
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mark on October 27, 2007, 10:02:08 AM
Good topic. I know little about these works, so I'm watching this thread with interest. :)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Harry on October 27, 2007, 10:19:55 AM
I love Strauss's Four Last Songs and so far have heard 4 different versions: Janowitz/Karajan, Norman/Masur, Schwarzkopf/Szell, and Studer/Sinopoli.  I think my favorits is probably the Janowitz/Karajan.  I really like Janowitz's singing. 

Are there any other versions out there I should consider?  What are everyone else's favorite?

For me that would be Janowitz/Karajan, absolute mesmerizing. :)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Expresso on October 27, 2007, 10:47:03 AM

Quote
I love Strauss's Four Last Songs and so far have heard 4 different versions: Janowitz/Karajan, Norman/Masur, Schwarzkopf/Szell, and Studer/Sinopoli.  I think my favorits is probably the Janowitz/Karajan.  I really like Janowitz's singing. 

Are there any other versions out there I should consider?  What are everyone else's favorite?

You already have the most important recordings from these songs. My personal favourites are the ones sang by Janowitz  and Schwarzkopf.
Maybe you should also listen to Schwarzkopf/Ackerman and Della Casa/Bohm.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 27, 2007, 11:42:43 AM
I have all three of Schwarzkopf's recordings , 1953, live 1956 and 1965, with, respectively, Ackermann, Karajan and Szell. I also have Popp/Tennstedt and Janowitz/Karajan.

I have to say, that, though I enjoy all these recordings, it is the Schwarzkopf/Szell recording I like best, as, for me, they get right to the heart of these songs as no others do. With Strauss's gorgeous writing for the soprano voice, it is all too easy to forget that these are Lieder, and to ignore the texts and just revel in the sheerly beautiful sounds, provided by a Te Kanawa, a Fleming, or indeed a Janowitz. I also feel the more mature Schwarzkopf better suited to the songs than the young one. After all, these are Autumnal songs, and the voice of youth doesn't seem quite right somehow. Certain phrases in Swhwarzkopf's later recording are now so firmly etched into my memory, that they spoil me for all others and Schwarzkopf and Szell seem to be completely at one in their vision. Two places stick out for me, Schwarzkopf's voicing of the words langsam tut er die mudgewordenen Augen zu in September, where Szell matches her tone perfectly in the orchestra. The other is in the final song, Im Abendrot. The way Schwarzkopf sings the words so tief im Abendrot has an almost cathartic release, not matched in any of her other recordings (nor by any other soprano), and superbly seconded by the rich carpet of sound Szell provides for her. Ist dies etwa der Tod, asks Schwarzkopf/Eichendorff, and as the orchestra creeps in with the quote from Tod und Verklaerung, one can only assume that it is. For me it is one of the classic discs of all time, and would definitely be one for my desert island.

Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mark on October 27, 2007, 12:17:46 PM
I have all three of Schwarzkopf's recordings , 1953, live 1956 and 1965, with, respectively, Ackermann, Karajan and Szell. I also have Popp/Tennstedt and Janowitz/Karajan.

I have to say, that, though I enjoy all these recordings, it is the Schwarzkopf/Szell recording I like best, as, for me, they get right to the heart of these songs as no others do. With Strauss's gorgeous writing for the soprano voice, it is all too easy to forget that these are Lieder, and to ignore the texts and just revel in the sheerly beautiful sounds, provided by a Te Kanawa, a Fleming, or indeed a Janowitz. I also feel the more mature Schwarzkopf better suited to the songs than the young one. After all, these are Autumnal songs, and the voice of youth doesn't seem quite right somehow. Certain phrases in Swhwarzkopf's later recording are now so firmly etched into my memory, that they spoil me for all others and Schwarzkopf and Szell seem to be completely at one in their vision. Two places stick out for me, Schwarzkopf's voicing of the words langsam tut er die mudgewordenen Augen zu in September, where Szell matches her tone perfectly in the orchestra. The other is in the final song, Im Abendrot. The way Schwarzkopf sings the words so tief im Abendrot has an almost cathartic release, not matched in any of her other recordings (nor by any other soprano), and superbly seconded by the rich carpet of sound Szell provides for her. Ist dies etwa der Tod, asks Schwarzkopf/Eichendorff, and as the orchestra creeps in with the quote from Tod und Verklaerung, one can only assume that it is. For me it is one of the classic discs of all time, and would definitely be one for my desert island.



Already own the '53, but you've convinced me to add the Szell to my list for next month. ;)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 27, 2007, 12:35:03 PM
Already own the '53, but you've convinced me to add the Szell to my list for next month. ;)

I don't think you'll be disappointed. The contribution of the orchestra and Szell can't be ignored, and, of course, it is in much better sound than the 1953. It certainly repays repeated listening, especially when following the texts.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: The new erato on October 28, 2007, 12:40:16 AM

Maybe you should also listen to Schwarzkopf/Ackerman and Della Casa/Bohm.
I was scrolling down to recommend these two when I saw your post. Casa is my favorite of all.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Que on October 28, 2007, 01:07:46 AM
I see nobody has mentioned the (historical) recording by Sena Jurinac conducted by the eminent Fritz Busch!!  :o
This major omission is hereby corrected... ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61R7ZN051NL._SS500_.jpg)

Q
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Siedler on October 28, 2007, 01:46:58 AM
No talk of the wonderful Isokoski recording with Berlin RSO and Janowski, either!
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a6L-qK7-L._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mark on October 28, 2007, 05:45:52 AM
]
No talk of the wonderful Isokoski recording with Berlin RSO and Janowski, either!
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a6L-qK7-L._AA240_.jpg)

Really?

this is my favorite; beautiful singing and a great band...

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Last-Songs-Orchestral/dp/B000062TDA/ref=sr_1_11/105-7946974-5419611?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193518584&sr=1-11
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Siedler on October 28, 2007, 12:31:26 PM
Ok I missed that post because I didn't click the link.  :-[
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mark on October 28, 2007, 01:28:21 PM
Ok I missed that post because I didn't click the link.  :-[

;)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: knight66 on October 31, 2007, 11:31:45 AM
I am not at home just now, so cannot provide the kind of detail I would like to. However, most of the post here are not saying much beyond..I like this version. Could people take some trouble to explain what they get from the performances they treasure, it considerably adds to interest.

The first version I had was the Schwartzkopf Szell one, the pace is not allowed to lag and the singer digs into the words colouring them. There is regret especially in the final song and the overall sound picture is very well enginered. The next version I took to was Jessye Norman with Kurt Masur. This became instantly famous and much admired, though for some reason critics seem to have changed their minds and now suggest it is overblown and generalised. I don't accept either. There is detail, but not the hyper-detail of Schwartzkopf. Norman's voice is a superb instrument in this version. Her breath control while she pours out her evenly produced tone is exceptional. Next on my list has been the Janowitz with Karajan. here the voice is used much more as an instrument and although she is indeed singing the words, the meanings are not so evident, but the sound is entirely seductive. The pacing feel leasurely as against Szell and the orchestral detail is more submerged in a slightly generalised sound picture. I am not conveying the beauty of this disc, as it is the one I most often return to.

I have a number of other versions, one I especially like is Auger with Previn. He is an excellent accompanist and Auger delivers her silvery, pure tone most beautifully also making the words register.

Now folks, lets here what it is you are enamoured with; or what you don't like about some of these versions.

Mike
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: marvinbrown on October 31, 2007, 03:29:18 PM
No talk of the wonderful Isokoski recording with Berlin RSO and Janowski, either!
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a6L-qK7-L._AA240_.jpg)

  Glad to see that someone has mentioned this recording.  This is the recording that I have and I love it, although for some reason the Schwartzkopf on EMI seems to be "the" recording to get. 


  marvin
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 31, 2007, 08:57:40 PM
I was scrolling down to recommend these two when I saw your post. Casa is my favorite of all.

It's Della Casa.

It's ok to omit the 'von' in von Karajan, but not the Della in Della Casa ;). OK, sorry, I know it's nettiquetly incorrect to point to that kind of thing, but it helps to not perpetuate mistakes :).

Personally I prefer Schwarzkof-Ackermann to the later remake with Szell. There's no denying the latter has special interpretive attributes, but the first version finds the soprano in better vocal form, and Ackermann sounds more like the no-nonsense, get-to-the-point kind of conductor Strauss himself was, or Böhm when  Strauss himself considered him one of his most trusted interpreters.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 01, 2007, 01:38:01 AM

Personally I prefer Schwarzkof-Ackermann to the later remake with Szell. There's no denying the latter has special interpretive attributes, but the first version finds the soprano in better vocal form, and Ackermann sounds more like the no-nonsense, get-to-the-point kind of conductor Strauss himself was, or Böhm when  Strauss himself considered him one of his most trusted interpreters.

However, Schwarzkopf herself prefered the later recording. This was her reaction, quoted in Aland Sanders and J.B Steane's Listening with Schwarzkopf.

The earlier version [of the 4 Last Songs], with Ackermann and Karajan, had advantages in what is usually taken as the first of the somgs 'Fruhling'; yet even in this, she argued, the singer is ' the same woman...it's the same person's view of spring, and you don't really want a springlike voice'. In 'September' the voice in those earlier recordings is 'too young for the text', and a much greater depth of feeling is tapped in the final version, the one with Szell.

It again comes down to whether you take note of the texts or prefer to hear the songs as vocalises for voice and orchestra.

Incidentally the above book is a an interesting insight into Schwarzkopf's attitude to her work. She is her own severest critic, often coming down very hard on recordings of hers, that I, and no doubt many others, have come to love. On the other hand she entertains no false modesty, and when she feels something is good (not that often) is not afraid to say so.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Lilas Pastia on November 03, 2007, 03:14:22 PM
This is a bit stretched IMO. I don't think Schwarzkopf's understanding of, and response to the texts was lacking anything in 1953. She wasn't a young chick (38 years old at the time), and intelligent as she was, I think it's wrong to intimate that Schwarzkopf was too young to understand or communicate the dramatic essence of the poems. By the same reasoning, one would firmly come down in favour of Fischer-Dieskau's later recordings of Winterreise (and the later, the better)... and yet, there's no doubting that even enhanced verbal acuity and dramatic instincts have to be taken with histrionic mannerisms and a somewhat worn vocal makeup. Same thing with Callas' Normas and Lucias.

If Schwarzkopf expressed a preference for her later recording (and she has every right to let the world know), it's probably because in her opinion the balance of advantages weighed in that direction. Mind you, if she had expressed a preference for the earlier one, many would have pointed out that a remake was an error. This is not the kind of thing an hypercritical and very proud person like her would have admitted graciously.

My personal opinion of the Schwarzkopf-Szell version is that a certain radiance is missing, replaced by heightened feelings of longing and regret. Vocally, there's no denying that she is not on the same level as previously. OTOH, Szell's conducting is pure magic. So there you have it: both versions have their qualities, but for me the earlier one works better.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: longears on November 03, 2007, 03:26:22 PM
This is a desert island piece for me.  I have several recordings.  My favorites are the first three you mentioned, Janowitz/Karajan, Schwarzkopf/Szell, and Norman/Masur, with Auger/Previn and Isokoski/Janowski right in there.  Wish there were a Janowitz/Janowski!
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 05, 2007, 12:31:40 PM
Same thing with Callas' Normas and Lucias.




And, here we differ too. I actually much prefer Callas's 2nd Norma, feeling that her greater understanding of the role has its rewards, and, to be honest, though the top of the voice has hardened, the middle register is now more beautiful. Admittedly, it is harder to ignore the vocal frailties in the second Lucia di Lammermoor, but, the greater depth she brings to the role still has its own rewards and her passage work is actually smoother, at least in the middle and lower registers.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Lilas Pastia on November 05, 2007, 04:40:30 PM
I'm not saying I prefer one to another, merely that the vocal wear cannot be ignored, let alone disguised as 'increased artistry'. There are roles in which Callas rediviva is a down and out letdown compared to her younger self, but in the case of Lucia and Norma it could be swinging either way.

As for E.S. I tend to prefer her earlier less self-conscious artistry to the later artsy but fallible vocalism (runs for cover ;))
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2007, 01:38:32 AM


If Schwarzkopf expressed a preference for her later recording (and she has every right to let the world know), it's probably because in her opinion the balance of advantages weighed in that direction. Mind you, if she had expressed a preference for the earlier one, many would have pointed out that a remake was an error. This is not the kind of thing an hypercritical and very proud person like her would have admitted graciously.




Belatedly replying to one of your earlier points.

Actually, if you read the book I mentioned earlier Listening with Schwarzkopf, you will find that this is not at all the case. She is as critical of some of her later recordings as she is of her earlier ones. The book was written after Walter Legge had died, and often she disagrees with some of the choices he made as to what she recorded, and when. Often, indeed, she will prefer an earlier version of a song or selection of songs. She comes over as totally pragmatic and realistic, if, admittedly, a tad hypercritical. Does she come across as proud? Well occasionally, but only when she feels the pride is warranted, which is not that often. The hypercritical side will usually find fault somewhere. She is also generous in her praise of certain colleagues - Ludwig and Callas especially.

Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Lilas Pastia on November 07, 2007, 08:25:58 PM
I didn't read the book :-[, but your comments make me want I could get it here. Schwarzkopf is certainly one of the most important singers of the past century. Not only for her singing per se, but for her attitude toward her art. In that regard she was uncompromising, unimpeachable and inspirational.

I can certainly see her point - and admire her unselfishness - when praising Ludwig ans Callas, two singers who put Art before Voice.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 08, 2007, 02:25:45 AM

I can certainly see her point - and admire her unselfishness - when praising Ludwig ans Callas, two singers who put Art before Voice.

I should also have mentioned Irmgard Seefried, who also comes in for a great deal of praise, Schwarzkopf often comparing herself unfavourably to her colleague.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Que on November 08, 2007, 10:18:32 AM
I should also have mentioned Irmgard Seefried, who also comes in for a great deal of praise, Schwarzkopf often comparing herself unfavourably to her colleague.

And I think she was actually right...
Which doesn't mean I don't have any appreciation for Schwarzkopf BTW.

Q
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: matti on November 08, 2007, 02:23:04 PM
Speaking of Schwarzkopf, I'm sure many of you are familiar with her (clips of) masterclasses presented on Youtube. I think they are pretty special. In case someone has not found them yet, here is one them, and after clicking this one you'll find the rest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7ar4biNNZ4
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Scion7 on March 18, 2012, 02:08:07 PM
(http://vierletztelieder.com/wp-content/uploads/SylviaSass-1-1022x1024.jpg)

Nice LP cover, anyway.  :)

Won't replace Schwarzkopf/Szell, of course.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2012, 10:39:15 PM
This is a new one on me. I always thought her voice was aimed at the heaviest Verdi roles and am surprised she recorded this Strauss. I imagine it was made some number of years ago.

Mike
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 25, 2012, 02:54:46 AM
This is a new one on me. I always thought her voice was aimed at the heaviest Verdi roles and am surprised she recorded this Strauss. I imagine it was made some number of years ago.

Mike

You can hear then on youtube, and they are not bad actually. I remember she also did a disc of Wagner arias, coupled with the Wesendonck Lieder, which was also surprisingly successful. I say surprisingly, because every time I heard her live she never really lived up to her recordings. A Covent Garden Norma (with a superlative Agnes Baltsa as Adalgisa) was little short of disastrous, and I don't think she ever appeared there again. The best thing I ever heard her do was a concert performance of Turandot at the Barbican, when the original, longer, Alfano ending was performed for the first time.



Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: mjwal on April 30, 2012, 08:07:36 AM
This is a reaction to those posts that discuss the various Schwarzkopf recordings and the Norman. Firstly, the latter is sort of beautiful vocally, if without much individual response to the words, but the orchestra plays like toffee. Secondly, where Masur makes a treacly trudge of the intro to "Im Abendrot", Szell whizzes over it, neglecting the emotional power of the glorious counter-melody. And here Sch. is definitely "performing" the part rather than singing it properly (rather the weird thing she makes of Schumann's Liederkreis Op.39 than this bodge). So of Schwarzkopf's various versions I prefer her live recording with Karajan/Philharmonia (1956). Of all the recordings I have heard in whole or in part in recent years, the one that puts the cream in my coffee, despite the imperfect orchestral rendition, is Teresa Stich-Randall with Ansermet/Suisse-Romande (1961), which has a quality of untrammelled soaring ecstasy. A great pity that Elisabeth Grümmer's version came a bit too late (recorded with a distinctly under-par radio orchestra in 1970).
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: KevinP on April 25, 2022, 08:40:38 PM
Ten-year bump.

This is a work I've of course been aware of and heard a few times, but it's only now that I'm digging into it.

A few years ago, I went through a spurt of buying box sets by various singers, so I've amassed a few different versions already and just ordered two more.

Have:
Schwarzkopf (Ackerman and Szell)
Te Kanawa
Lucia Popp
Leontyne Price
Janowitz

Ordered:
Jessye Norman
Isokoski

Price was never mentioned in this thread, I don't think, but I think it holds its own with the best of them. Te Kanawa and Popp don't have any real problems but I don't think they'll be ones I frequently reach for. (Not bad recommendations to start with though, as you could become familiar with the work and then work up to the top shelf.)

Just listened to Martina Arroyo's on YouTube. It may not give the best ones a run for the money, but it's still pretty darn good.

Very early days for me, and some of the ones I have have only been listened to once, so some changes-of-mind are not unlikely.

Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Jo498 on April 25, 2022, 10:36:12 PM
Get Della Casa/Böhm (?). It's mono, but good sounding mono from the early 1950s and used to be available on a single disc (Decca historic/legends or some such series) with other Strauss. She is as accomplished as Schwarzkopf but more beautiful voice and more "natural" singing.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Que on April 25, 2022, 10:38:31 PM
Get Della Casa/Böhm (?). It's mono, but good sounding mono from the early 1950s and used to be available on a single disc (Decca historic/legends or some such series) with other Strauss. She is as accomplished as Schwarzkopf but more beautiful voice and more "natural" singing.

Seconded.  :)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: LKB on April 26, 2022, 12:33:09 AM
I'll seek that one out, thanks.  8)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2022, 12:33:43 AM
Get Della Casa/Böhm (?). It's mono, but good sounding mono from the early 1950s and used to be available on a single disc (Decca historic/legends or some such series) with other Strauss. She is as accomplished as Schwarzkopf but more beautiful voice and more "natural" singing.

My problem wuth this version is Böhm's fast speeds. Della Casa's voice is beautiful of course and she was an ideal Strauss singer, but the tempi are just too fast. Norman's version with Masur is perhaps at the opposite extreme but, all in all, I prefer it.

Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: André on April 27, 2022, 03:48:18 AM
I’ve recently purchased the Szell Warner box in part because it contains the 4 Last Songs (Schwarzkopf of course). While I have heard that version a good number of times over the radio, I’ve never listened to it in the comfort of my listening room. I note that it is considerably slower than her previous take under Ackermann, a version I like a lot. Will report.  :)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2022, 08:43:23 AM
Ten-year bump.

This is a work I've of course been aware of and heard a few times, but it's only now that I'm digging into it.

A few years ago, I went through a spurt of buying box sets by various singers, so I've amassed a few different versions already and just ordered two more.

Have:
Schwarzkopf (Ackerman and Szell)
Te Kanawa
Lucia Popp
Leontyne Price
Janowitz

Ordered:
Jessye Norman
Isokoski

Price was never mentioned in this thread, I don't think, but I think it holds its own with the best of them. Te Kanawa and Popp don't have any real problems but I don't think they'll be ones I frequently reach for. (Not bad recommendations to start with though, as you could become familiar with the work and then work up to the top shelf.)

Just listened to Martina Arroyo's on YouTube. It may not give the best ones a run for the money, but it's still pretty darn good.

Very early days for me, and some of the ones I have have only been listened to once, so some changes-of-mind are not unlikely.

Which Lucia Popp performance are you referring to? She's done two: one with Tennstedt on EMI and the other with Tilson Thomas on Sony (in which she's not in her best voice here, but it is a touching performance given she was terminally ill and passed away not too long after this recorded performance). I'm probably in the minority with my opinion of Norman/Masur. This performance is just so languid and lethargic. Masur, who is quite a fine conductor in his own right, and Norman, who is one of my favorite sopranos of all-time, lack the kind of forward momentum I believe this piece requires in order to be interesting and, more importantly, successful. My desert island Vier letzte Lieder is Schwarzkopf/Szell. For me, the stars were aligned in this performance. Everything is well-paced and, while some here may object to Schwarzkopf's phrasing and "mannered" way in singing, I believe she's genuine in every word she sings and sings with all of her heart. As for a more recent performance that impressed me was from Sandrine Piau on Alpha:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODg3NDEwNy4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE2MjM5Mjc2MTV9)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2022, 08:48:37 AM
Which Lucia Popp performance are you referring to? She's done two: one with Tennstedt on EMI and the other with Tilson Thomas on Sony (in which she's not in her best voice here, but it is a touching performance given she was terminally ill and passed away not too long after this recorded performance). I'm probably in the minority with my opinion of Norman/Masur. This performance is just so languid and lethargic. Masur, who is quite a fine conductor in his own right, and Norman, who is one of my favorite sopranos of all-time, lack the kind of forward momentum I believe this piece requires in order to be interesting and, more importantly, successful. My desert island Vier letzte Lieder is Schwarzkopf/Szell. For me, the stars were aligned in this performance. Everything is well-paced and, while some here may object to Schwarzkopf's phrasing and "mannered" way in singing, I believe she's genuine in every word she sings and sings with all of her heart. As for a more recent performance that impressed me was from Sandrine Piau on Alpha:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODg3NDEwNy4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE2MjM5Mjc2MTV9)

I'm curious about this performance. I like Piau in Handel, but I would have thought the voice wasn't big enough for these songs.

A version I'm looking forward to is that of Elsa Dreisig, who has already recorded them with piano, thouh in her recital called Morgen the songs are split up and dotted throughout the programme. It works very well for the programme she has put together.

(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/morgen.jpg)
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2022, 08:53:25 AM
I'm curious about this performance. I like Piau in Handel, but I would have thought the voice wasn't big enough for these songs.

A version I'm looking forward to is that of Elsa Dreisig, who has already recorded them with piano, thouh in her recital called Morgen the songs are split up and dotted throughout the programme. It works very well for the programme she has put together.

(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/morgen.jpg)

You and I are of different minds when it comes to many vocal performances, so I'd imagine the Piau isn't up your alley. The reason I say this is because of your past opinion on Véronique Gens' performance of Berlioz's Les nuits d'été --- a performance which I absolutely loved the minute I heard it.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2022, 09:26:13 AM
You and I are of different minds when it comes to many vocal performances, so I'd imagine the Piau isn't up your alley. The reason I say this is because of your past opinion on Véronique Gens' performance of Berlioz's Les nuits d'été --- a performance which I absolutely loved the minute I heard it.

But you do like the Schwarzkopf/Szell, which would also be my desert island choice.

Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2022, 09:53:54 AM
But you do like the Schwarzkopf/Szell, which would also be my desert island choice.

Sure, but my point is our tastes don't always coincide and since Piau has a lighter voice in Vier letzte Lieder, then it would stand to reason that the performance may not to be to your taste.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: KevinP on April 27, 2022, 09:16:29 PM
Which Lucia Popp performance are you referring to? She's done two

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91WJg4IHsUL._SL1500_.jpg)

Whichever one is in this box, which I can't access right now.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: MusicTurner on April 27, 2022, 09:36:20 PM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91WJg4IHsUL._SL1500_.jpg)

Whichever one is in this box, which I can't access right now.

Discogs says Tennstedt/LPO about that box. There's at least a Tilson Thomas and a Solti live too, both lesser known.

Should I grab one right know, I'd probably take Margiano/De Waart on Brilliant Classics. Generally, she has a silvery, lighter voice. Among the others, I also have Norman/Masur, Janowitz/Karajan, Kanawa/Davis, Sass/Lukacs, Schwarzkopf/Szell etc. But IMO, probably none are perfect throughout, and they all have flaws. I don't think I have a Popp - maybe one will pop in later.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mirror Image on April 28, 2022, 05:49:47 AM
Discogs says Tennstedt/LPO about that box. There's at least a Tilson Thomas and a Solti live too, both lesser known.

I think you're wrong about the Popp/Solti. Was it commercially available? I've never even heard of it. But Popp/Tennstedt and Popp/MTT definitely. I own both.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: MusicTurner on April 28, 2022, 05:59:23 AM
I think you're wrong about the Popp/Solti. Was it commercially available? I've never even heard of it. But Popp/Tennstedt and Popp/MTT definitely. I own both.

It exists at least as a DVD release from Decca-Unitel, 'Sir Georg Solti - The Maestro'. Can also be seen/heard on you-t.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Brewski on April 28, 2022, 06:49:25 AM
My faves, with a pretty wide range. There are very few recordings that I've not liked (and now can't even think of any). When I'm not satisfied, it's not usually the singer, but the conductor's phrasing and tempi, e.g., too fast.

Janowitz / Karajan (my intro to the piece)
Fleming / Thielemann
Popp / Tennstedt
Norman / Masur
Isokoski / Janowski
Schwarzkopf / Szell

--Bruce
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: KevinP on April 28, 2022, 10:36:07 PM
Have:
Schwarzkopf (Ackerman and Szell)
Te Kanawa
Lucia Popp
Leontyne Price
Janowitz

Ordered:
Jessye Norman
Isokoski

I'm glad I didn't listen to the advice here and order the della Casa recording. Turns out I have a copy in the 55-disc Decca Sound box. Each disc is a different singer and I can never remember what's in it. Will be spinning this tonight.

CTRL-f also revealed a second (or more accurately, first) Janowitz.

In a way I miss the days of knowing everything I have; in another, it's fun to discover things already on your shelves.
Title: Re: Strauss' Four Last Songs / Vier Letzte Lieder
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2022, 05:22:12 AM
It exists at least as a DVD release from Decca-Unitel, 'Sir Georg Solti - The Maestro'. Can also be seen/heard on you-t.

No wonder I never heard of it. I thought you were talking about a CD recording. :-\