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Subject: Re: Favorite non-opera vocal works?
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 1 Mar 2018 15:52:02 -0800
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Leider had that fresh, free, spinning sound. The studio recording of the opening of Act 2 of “Walküre” with Schorr conducted by Blech remains my mental reference of how Brünnhilde’s “Hojotoho” should sound - the big but flexible sound, portamenti as written touching the high Bs and Cs just right with a real trill.

Going into the 1930s, her top voice suffered serious losses. I’d heard she’d suffered some damage after pushing through an indisposition. But the core of the voice remained magnificent.

A friend of mine, now departed 30 years ago (yikes!) heard all of the greats from the mid 1910s through the mid 1980s. He felt Flagstad’s singing was more perfect (at least at the time of her Met debut when she was easily popping out high Cs) but that Leider was the much greater overall performer. He felt Leider was one of the greatest singing actresses he had ever experienced, on a par with Chaliapin. He thought Callas a great musician and vocal interpreter, but didn’t think her in this class as an actress.

Callas came to my mind because of the almost terrifying intensity you hear in Leider’s voice (along with some distinctly un-bel canto sounds) in that 1938 “Götterdämmerung.”

The song recordings Leider did in the early 40s show there was still impressive middle voice material then. Personally, I have an easier time enjoying a singer who loses a few notes at the extremes but whose middle voice remains intact than the other way around.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Mar 1, 2018, at 12:58, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Personally, I prefer Leider to them all, with the possible exception of
> Lubin who had a glorious femininity.  Leider had a warmth that Melchior
> noted.  He preferred her to Flagstad.  Her career was also cut short as she
> was forbidden to be on stage after 1938/39 as she refused to abandon her
> Jewish violinist husband.  She sent him off to exile in Switzerland and
> remained in Germany to care for her elderly mother.  Flagstad vocally is of
> course supreme.  I would however add one other soprano to this select
> list.  Despite the lack of an International career, a late start and
> somewhat early exit, vocally, Helen Traubel, even within the limits of her
> top (something she shared with most voices of her type - even Flagstad
> after a certain point) was the equal of the others.  She deserves far more
> credit then she is given today.  Leider was also so versatile.  A
> magnificent Verdi singer and of course, she left that beautiful recording
> of Gluck's Ah si la liberte from Armide.  Traubel had desires beyond
> Wagner, but Johnson needed  her as Brunnhilde and Isolde and at the Met in
> those days, versatility wasn't always rewarded or encouraged.
> 
> Donald
> 
> On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 1:40 PM, Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> Recorded excerpts of the 3 and 11 March 1933 Metropolitan performances of
>> "Tristan und Isolde" with Melchior and Leider are posted on YouTube.  A CD
>> devoted to all the surviving excerpts of those performances has been issued
>> by Christian Zwarg not (as I had thought) on his Truesound Transfers label
>> but under the auspices of the Frida Leider Gesellschaft, hence the CD's
>> catalog number FLG 11031933.  That CD is available from Norbeck, Peters &
>> Ford (go to their online site, search Frida Leider, and scroll down to
>> locate the CD).  Zwarg's transfers are excellent, but there is only so much
>> he could do with these recordings, which are as one reviewer wrote
>> "primitive" -- as the YouTube postings demonstrate.  Although I personally
>> prefer recordings of stage performances, and collect and treasure transfers
>> of the really primitive 1901-1903 Mapleson cylinders, the 1933 Leider
>> "live" recordings from the Metropolitan seem superfluous (except perhaps to
>> Leider and or Wagner "completests") given that we have her superb and
>> superbly recorded studio recordings, and the much better recorded excerpts
>> of stage performances of Gotterdammerung (the 1934 Bayreuth snippet with
>> Lorenz and the 1938 Covent Garden performances).  Zwarg-Frida Leider
>> Gesellschaft have also issued (FLG 193434) excerpts of Leider in Die
>> Walkure at the Met in February 1934 and the sound is only slightly more
>> listenable than the Tristan excerpts -- but at least that CD (also
>> available from Norbeck Peters) has the 1934 Gotterdammerung snippet and
>> excerpts of Die Walkure with Leider, Muller and Bockelmann (Bayreuth 6
>> August 1934).  It is understandable to want to seek out anything the
>> survives of Leider because she was the greatest of Wagner sopranos, being
>> approached only by Flagstad and perhaps Lubin, and having no subsequent
>> equals.
>> 
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "william kasimer" <[log in to unmask]
>>> 
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2018 8:49 AM
>> Subject: Re: Favorite non-opera vocal works?
>> 
>> 
>> On Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 10:19 PM, RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Politics and her personality aside (which, granted, are two enormous
>>>> obstacles).  Melchior is reported to have stated that she was the
>>>> greatest
>>>> of all the Isoldes that he sang opposite.  I seem to recall that there
>>>> are
>>>> very dim/poor live excerpts of the two of them in those roles from about
>>>> 1932 which I used to own.  Among the singers in their prime during the
>>>> 1930s,I have found her voice to be exquisite and and superb.
>>>> 
>>> 
>> On Wed, 28 Feb 2018 22:33:02 -0500, Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> 
>> Perhaps
>>> you're thinking of Leider, who recorded parts of the Act 2 duet with
>>> Melchior in 1929. It's a studio recording, and it's neither "dim" nor
>>> "poor."
>>> 
>> 
>> If I recall correctly, among the first Met broadcasts were some Tristan
>> excerpts with Leider
>> and Melchior.  I've never heard them (I'm not sure if they've ever been
>> issued
>> commercially), but I'm guessing that these are the recordings to which Ray
>> refers, not the
>> studio recording of the Liebesnacht.
>> 
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