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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has any opera recording received more reissues than this?, 1 Nov 2001
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart - Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (Audio CD)
This famous recording, now more than sixty years old, must have been reissued more times than any other recorded version of any opera. Is this due to the incomparable Beecham magic? I heard one famous conductor, who recorded the opera himself, say that he didn't fully discern the particular pulse, nor the mixture of gravity and sparkle in the music until he listened to this Beecham recording.
Those who know and have lived with this recording will need no urging to enjoy this inexpensive and preferred new transfer. To others, looking perhaps for a first purchase of a great Mozart opera, I should provide a few cautions. Firstly, no spoken dialogue is included. Secondly, the sound quality, even for a studio recording in the period 1937-1938, is often poor and never more than passable. The beautiful music for the three "ladies" and the three "boys" fares particularly badly, and no modern transfer has been able to clarify it. Thirdly, the political situation existing in Berlin at the time meant that several of the singers selected by Beecham - Richard Tauber as Tamino, Alexander Kipnis as Sarastro, and Herbert Janssen as the Speaker - could not risk their lives by accepting. Their replacements, or a least two of them, are not impressive as regards style and steadiness.
Erna Berger's Queen of the Night somehow posed no problem for the recording equipment. A long-kept secret was the fact that the take to be finally selected of her first aria was made in Beecham's absence.
Music lovers have always ranked highly the singing of Gerhard Hüsch as Papageno. I sometimes wonder, however, whether the opera's librettist and first Pagageno, Emanuel Schikaneder, ever intended that this bird catcher looking for a mate should sound like an aristocrat.
In short, there is much here that no one should miss hearing, but some inadequacies are to be expected.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is beauty in the world....., 5 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mozart - Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (Audio CD)
Sir Thomas Beecham travelled to Germany in 1937 and 1938 to record this version of Mozart's opera.Many are eternally grateful that he did- including myself. It was originally issued on an hernia-inducing nineteen 12" record set. It would have been energy sapping playing that lot in one sitting but people were willing to suffer for their art in those days. Thanks to modern technology we now have this classic performance on two little discs. Whenever I feel jaded and things are looking bleak I just put these discs on and life is worth living again. Those chords in "March of the priests" -beautiful! Erna Berger as queen of the night lending her coloratura to "Die holle rache kocht in meinem herzen"- WOW!!! These fleeting moments are captured to be wondered at again and again on this excellently remastered issue. Do yourself a favour.....
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Mozart - Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute)
Mozart - Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) by Sir Thomas Beecham (Audio CD - 2000)
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