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Subject: question
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 30 Jul 2017 01:53:17 -0400
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Will someone please be so kind as to answer the following question:
     In the opening of Act II of "Die Walkure", is Brunnhilde's ultimate high note a top B or a 
top C???  I'm referring to the Battle Cry, of course.  Helen Traubel simply didn't own a high 
C from the very beginning, and though Flagstad took them regularly from 1935 to 1941, she 
stopped taking them after her return in 1947).  Yet both of them appeared in many Ring 
performances in the late 1940s and Flagstad did the 1950 Furtwangler Ring as well as a 
complete Ring at the Met as late as 1951, as did Traubel.  Later, of course, these notes were 
never an issue or problem for Birgit Nilsson.
     Were transpositions made for them?  John Culshaw cited Flagstad's refusal to sing a 
complete recorded Walkure in 1957 (and instead recorded Act I and Act III separately, the 
results of which were critically acclaimed.  Culshaw also cited Flagstad's recalcitrance about 
Isolde's lightning top Cs in Act II of Tristan Und Isolde (those two infamous notes that could 
have been left out altogether, but which Schwarzkopf "dubbed in").  He then said that since 
she no longer had a top C, a complete Walkure in 1957 was impossible.
     But are those Battle Cry notes in the opening of Walkure Bs or Cs??  If they're written as 
Cs, they were obviously transposed one step down.  If they're Bs, then they were sung as 
written.  Culshaw's statements confused me.
     I tend to think they're Bs because I can't imagine Wagner being transposed downwards 
in the 1940s.  
     I hope I'm making sense here.

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