Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment: a pedestrian performance with few highlights, 20 May 2013
This review is from: Weber: Der Freischutz (LSO/Davis) (Audio CD)
Perhaps appropriately for an opera which concerns itself with the occult, "Der Freischuetz" does seem somewhat accursed in its recorded versions, all of which are flawed, one way or another. It's high time that that spell was broken, but, sadly, this recording isn't the one to achieve that breakthrough.

It's conducted by the late Sir Colin Davis, with Simon O'Neill as Max, Christine Brewer as Agathe and Sally Matthews as Aennchen. Brewer sings well, in general, although she does have a rather matronly tone. Sally Matthews, too, sounds a bit Wagnerian for her role; Edith Mathis (DG, Kleiber) sounded much more appropriately girlish, without losing any musical qualities. As the protagonist, O'Neill is tuneful, but not entirely ingratiating. Schreier (for Kleiber) is far better, as is Seiffert (Janowski). No-one on the present recording remotely matches Gundula Janowitz, who sings Kleiber's Agathe.

While I don't think that there is any problem with the orchestra here, I do feel that the conducting plods pretty dreadfully. Just about every other conductor of this music seems to have detected more subtlety than Davis. I wish I could be more positive about it, but I really can't. The recording doesn't even have an impressive range, so it compares unfavourably, not just with its digital rivals, but even with the 1970s Deutsche Grammophon recording. The Wolfsschlucht scene isn't very atmospheric, which is a bit fatal, since, despite its being central to the drama, this is possibly Weber's weakest music in the whole opera; it needs to have a bigger impact than it has here. The finale is largely well sung, allowing for some squawks by Brewer, reminding us, superfluously, that she isn't Janowitz, but the recording here, as elsewhere, is hopelessly devoid of depth.

The dialogue is abridged. That may seem no serious loss, since the libretto isn't exactly Shakespeare, but this convoluted plot makes even less sense without the spoken text.

Altogether, this is a pretty big disappointment. Neither of the principals really comes close to matching the best of the earlier performers in the same roles, although the Kaspar is both musically impressive and dramatically dark. The other soloists are inferior to their rivals. While the orchestra and chorus are very capable, they are let down by Jurassic standards of recording and conducting.

Kleiber remains the best buy, for the matchless Janowitz, but Janowski has the best Max, in Peter Seiffert, and is definitely worth hearing, too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

2.5 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
5 star:    (0)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Hants, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,205