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Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Box set


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Product details

  • Orchestra: Richard Strauss, Schsische Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Albrecht Peter^Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Karl Bhm
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (5 April 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000060O5G
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,795 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

DGG 463668 2; DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON - Germania; Classica Lirica

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
This recording of Rosenkavalier earned a lot of bad press when it was originally available, mainly due to the casting of Marianne Schech as the Marschallin, and a recording balance which favours the voices rather too much.
I have lived with this recording on tape for the last decade, and am overjoyed to finally have it available on CD. Schech is in fact a very moving Marschallin: the tone is rather unsteady at times, and the voice occasionally lightweight (though she was a Wagner singer, and a Chrysothemis, so the lightening of tone is clearly intentional) - but what this gives is a lovely sense of vulnerability.
Beyond Schech are the real glories of the set: Seefried's Octavian is impetuous and vivid; Streich's Sophie absolutely perfect. And above all, Bohm's conducting of the Dresden Staatskapelle is totally magical.
I speak as one who finds the Schwarzkopf/Karajan version rather over-precious, and like my Rosenkavalier with more fervour and lively humanity: and I find those qualities in the DG set - and at an excellent price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
This recording of Rosenkavalier earned a lot of bad press when it was originally available, mainly due to the casting of Marianne Schech as the Marschallin, and a recording balance which favours the voices rather too much.
I have lived with this recording on tape for the last decade, and am overjoyed to finally have it available on CD. Schech is in fact a very moving Marschallin: the tone is rather unsteady at times, and the voice occasionally lightweight (though she was a Wagner singer, and a Chrysothemis, so the lightening of tone is clearly intentional) - but what this gives is a lovely sense of vulnerability.
Beyond Schech are the real glories of the set: Seefried's Octavian is impetuous and vivid; Streich's Sophie absolutely perfect. And above all, Bohm's conducting of the Dresden Staatskapelle is totally magical.
I speak as one who finds the Schwarzkopf/Karajan version rather over-precious, and like my Rosenkavalier with more fervour and lively humanity: and I find those qualities in the DG set - and at an excellent price.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
At Last! 24 Aug. 2002
By Sean Coxen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've been waiting many years for this "Rosenkavalier" to appear on CD; it has long been my favorite despite some imperfections.
When this recording first appeared in the late 1950's, it was not greeted with deafening enthusiasm. First of all, it came hard on the heels of two classic sets -- Kleiber's 1955 and Karajan's 1957 releases. Second, it offered an unglamorous Marschallin plus a distictly un-Viennese flavor (most of the musicians are Dresden-based, though the main singers are more redolent of Munich), nor did it field a supporting cast peppered with star turns and clever references to Straussian performance history. This seems to be the magic recipe, for Decca followed it again to the letter and released another classic headed by Solti in 1970.
It seems a shame that a "standard recipe" would overshadow Bohm's excellent offering when it gives so much pleasure. Bohm's incandescent, bouyant conducting of the superb Dresden Staatskapelle imbues the score with plenty of 'Schwung' and zero 'Schmalz', exactly right. His cast is also brilliant. Marianne Schech is not the steadiest or most sensuous of Marschallin's, but she is often a touching one who makes much of the text, especially at the end of Act 1. Here, she reveals an inner sadness, yet there is not a trace of self-asorption, an indulgence that ruins many an otherwise fine Marschallin. In Act 3 she is womanhood itself. Her tone may require some patience, but the patience will pay off.
The remainder of the cast needs no special defense: Irmgard Seefried is arguably the loveliest of Octavian's, and surely the most impulsive; Rita Streich wins us over with a delightful, impeccably sung Sophie; Fisher-Dieskau shatters convention by making Faninal a dashing figure, really singing the part without sacrificing any of its theatrical impact; and Kurt Bohme's Ochs, so much admired by Strauss himself, proves one of the definitive portayals: his big gruff voice exhibits a remarkable agility in both the tough musical demands and rich comic inflections required of the part. The capable supporting cast includes Gerhard Unger and Sieglinde Wagner, a superb pair of plotters, and Rudolf Francl, an adequate Italian Singer. The score is presented note-for-note complete.
It should also be noted that the early stereo sound is not the equal of DG's other stereo efforts of similar vintage, but this can be easily overlooked once the listener becomes involved in so fabulous a show.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
the best-ever Rosenkavelier recording 27 Mar. 2010
By Eric Zuesse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you want a Rosenkavelier that bubbles along with joy and that captures the touching quiet passages in a way that conveys the compassion and the ripe 1910 Vienna character of this work, then there really is no other recording that's even worth considering.

What especially distinguishes this performance above all others is the steady pulse and the waltz swing/sway from start to finish. Thus, unlike in any other recording, this opera is fully engaging throughout. Bohm conducts with vivacious grace. All of the soloists are superb, and the Dresden Staatskapelle (an orchestra which Strauss and Bohm both loved) plays like a slightly brighter-sounding version of the Vienna Philharmonic.

There's nothing of the sentimentality of Solti's conducting, and little of the dark character of the Karajan-Vienna or of the Krauss-Munich performances. Bohm's great advantage over the Karajan-Philharmonia is a steadier tempo, and a more Viennese lilt.

Strauss's favorite conductors of his music were Bohm and Krauss; and I think that this Bohm recording would be the one that he would listen to the most-often. Perhaps the reason Bohm never recorded another performance of the work is that this one was too good. Nobody could out-do it; not even Bohm.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Nice, but an outdated recording aesthetic 18 Feb. 2012
By F. Rupert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I read the other respectful, enthusiastic reviews carefully and do agree with them regarding the singers, Böhm, and the high level of the orchestral performance. I have owned this Rosenkavalier since the 1960s on LP, when as a poor college student I bought it from the cut-out bin at my local record emporium (I was too poor to buy Karajan/Schwarzkopf at full price in 1966!).

However, the others do not mention what for me knocks two stars off the rating, namely the dated, 1950s sound. In another Amazon review I called the sound "singers glued to their microphones." By this I mean close miking of the cast, yielding a dryish acoustic and little feel for stage action. This approach yields dry, disembodied voices singing well, but divorced acoustically from the orchestra. If the performance is really exceptional, such as the Böhm Così Fan Tutte from the 50s, I can overlook this approach. This Rosenkavalier is not, IMHO, in that class. The 1957 Karajan Rosenkavalier doesn't suffer from what I described just now. It sounds like a performance, and it's a classic. Had DGG hired the engineers that did the Karajan Rosenkavalier and hauled them over to East Germany to do this Rosenkavalier, I think it would be a classic, too. As it is, it's an interesting historical version but not a frontrunner. I think the lukewarm reviews others mention do stem basically from this problem of recording acoustics.

Since the London blockbusters of the early 60s (e.g. Solti's Salomé, Elektra, Ring, 1959 Tebaldi La fanciulla del West, etc) an aesthetic has established itself which gives space and reverb to the singers, a feeling for stage action, and a sense of the singers projecting out and over the pit. In short, a live performance sans people clomping around the stage, orchestral booboos, coughing and sneezing, and whatnot. From what I hear, virtually all recording companies doing opera since then have adhered more or less to this approach.

My view is that this is an interesting view by a famous Strauss conductor, but not the most enjoyable version out there.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Betwitxt and between, but well worth a listen 9 April 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When DG did their special series of Strauss operas conducted by Bohm, they passed over this studio effort in favor of a starry live performance from Vienna. The five-star reviewer here has given an honest advocacy of a version that has long been an also-ran. He puts the best possible light on the style, which is rather sharp and brisk rahter than meltingly Viennese.

The Marschallin, Marianne Schech, is a sesoned professional who knows the part inside out, but her homely soprano sounds about the same age and timbre as Seefried's Oktavian, itself a soprano instead of the expected mezzo -- there's a lack of differene between the two singers. Schech is often the more "masculine," that is, sharp, impulsive, and edgy. That said, this is a very appealing Rosenkavalier for all the reasons given by its advocate. It's treasurable, for one thing, to have the Sophie of Rita Streich, the preeminent German coloratura of the Fifties. The recorded sound is vintage LP-era analog (allowing for some microphone shatter when the voices press hard), and overall I felt comfortable inside this assured reading, so redolent of a lost era in German opera houses.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Sonic disaster 31 Oct. 2012
By William Kasimer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I owned this recording on LP, and found the harsh sound virtually unlistenable. I assumed that it was bad vinyl, or that the previous owner (I bought the LP's used) had somehow abused it. So when I finally got around to buying this on CD, I expected that the sound would be much improved.

Alas, that's not the case. I put on the beginning of the second act, and was horrified that it sounded no better than my LP's. Not only are the voices much too close, but they are distorted and there's an unpleasant, harsh glare to the sound in general. I lasted about five minutes, checked a variety of other spots, and came to the conclusion that the entire recordings is essentially a sonic ruin.

It's a pity, because the cast, particularly Seefried and Streich, seems pretty strong in the passages I was able to tolerate long enough. I'm pretty tolerant about suboptimal sonics; I have no difficulty listening to transfers of acoustic 78's, live recordings, and all sort of other items that feature problematic sonics (including the old Kleiber Rosenkavalier), and am almost always able to enjoy the music. In this case, though, the sound is truly intolerable.

If you want a Rosenkavalier recording, look to Solti Rosenkavalier (24BT) or Kleiber Der Rosenkavalier: Heritage Masters.
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