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Subject: "Tristan" Recordings
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Wed, 3 Jan 2018 18:14:01 -0500
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I agree with comments on the "Tosca" thread, that the Furtwangler "Tristan" is very special.  
I find Suthaus quite good, if not on the exalted level as Flagstad and the conductor.

But for the most satisfactory recording of "Tristan" over all - singing, sound, conducting, 
drama, excitement - I keep coming back to the Bohm/Nilsson/Windgassen recording from 
Bayreuth in the mid-60s.  There is a thrill in that live performance (compilation of 
performances and rehearsals, actually) that is really something.  After all, the musicians 
had been performing in that production together for several years.  And while I would give 
Flagstad in her prime the edge over Nilsson, vocally - richer voice - the latter is just 
flattening in that Bohm recording. 

I also love the Keliber recording with Margaret Price and Rene Kollo.  Yes, it is a product of 
the recording studio - no way Price could have sung the role in performance - but what a 
lyrical, passionate Isolde she is for the mikes!  Great conducting, too. 

I have never cared much for the Solti studio recording with Nilsson.  Solti's conducting is all 
wham-bam energy with little depth (an example of what Wieland Wagner once referred to 
as "Solti and his orgasms every other bar").  The tenor, Fritz Uhl, is unsatisfactory and is on 
the recording because, weak though he is, he was the best Decca could find under pressure.  
The recording was made at Nilsson's insistence.  Decca begged her to put it off until they 
could get Windgassen, who was unavailable, but she insisted and refused to continue with 
the Ring unless they did "Tristan."  Resnik was suffering from a bad head cold and sounds 
like it.  Finally, I have never liked what Culshaw and the recording team did with the voice-
orchestra balance.

MDW

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