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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cream of the crop, 7 May 2009
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Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gurre-Lieder (Audio CD)
The Santa Fe listener is quite right when he says that many people will not even be aware of this stupendous 2001 recording; when I reviewed those available a while back I certainly did not know of it and if I had, I would, as I do now, unhesitatingly endorse it as the first choice set, even above the Ozawa version. The Munich orchestra sounds like the greatest band in the world and Levine performs miracles with them, drawing out the sound monumentally without ever losing tension: the blazing, climactic last mega-chorus is a lulu. The two main soloists are the finest yet, but although Meier is very fine as the Wood-dove she does not eclipse Troyanos, Fassbänder and, most arresting of all, Janet Baker. The sound is amazingly full and as the recording was assembled from three consecutive live performances, it retains the frisson of a live event with very few coughs or distracting noises. Veteran retired tenor Ernst Haefliger takes the rôle of the Speaker - he recorded it twice that year, in this and then in the Craft recording - and gives us a highly stylised, vividly characterised, Sprechstimme account of the poem, but he sounds too old and quavery for my taste. The other smaller parts are fine, although I confess that I am always a little bored by both the Bauer and Klaus-Narr episodes; the glory of this piece lies in the long-breathed, emotionally highly wrought outpourings of Waldemar, Tove and the chorus, sung to perfection by this distinguished ensemble. Heppner sings both heroically and tenderly and is suitably distraught upon Tove's death, and it's worth hearing Voigt for her top B at the end of "Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick" (track 10) alone. My other little gripe is that despite giving us a fairly fat, thirty-page booklet, there is no libretto, and it is instead stuffed with padding like photos, biographies and a mini-history of the orchestra. But that doesn't matter; this is a great performance; buy it.
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Gurre-Lieder
Gurre-Lieder by Heppner/Voigt/Münchner Philharmoniker (Audio CD - 2007)
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