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Subject: Re: "Tristan" Recordings
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 3 Jan 2018 22:10:58 -0500

text/plain (50 lines)

On Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 9:02 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I am surprised no one has mentioned the two superb Tristan recordings with
> Flagstad and Melchior from Covent Garden in 1937.  They were recorded by
> EMI and I believe one was conducted by Reiner and one by Beecham.

Bob Rideout already mentioned it and I am glad he did.

There are other CD issues that do not mix these two performances from
London. Reiner conducted it in 1936 and Beecham in 1937. The Beecham '37
live recording has two Branganes (Klose and Branzell) and two Kurwenals
(Janssen and  Schoeffler) because different acts were recorded on 2
different nights. The rest of the cast is the same on both occasions.
Though Beecham is mostly known for his Mozart, Haydn, Delius, etc., this
recording shows him as a superb Wagnerian conductor and, of course,
Flagstad and Melchior are beyond magnificent. If they only had Kipnis
instead of  Sven Nilsson for King Marke (who, while not great, was still
very good), it would have been the most perfect cast IMO (both Branganes
and Kurwenals were brilliant).

I don't have Reiner from 1936 but it benefits from the Naxos remastering
which I wish it had been done with Beecham as well (though the sound on
Arkadia is quite fine to my ears; that said, I recognize that my audio
threshold is not that high). I heard it once on a copy from the library.
Kalter as Brangane is not nearly as good as either Klose or Branzell for
Beecham though List was an improvement for King Marke but, again, I wish it
had been Kipnis, the greatest King Marke IMO in those days.

I agree with those who enthusiastically wrote about Furtwangler's studio
set with Flagstad, but I would also wholeheartedly add this Beecham live
set to that pantheon.

And one more vote for the De Sabata-Callas-Di Stefano-Gobbi TOSCA as the
most perfect studio recording that I've ever heard.


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