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Humperdinck - Hansel und Gretel Double CD

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Conductor: Fritz Lehmann
  • Composer: Humperdinck
  • Audio CD (21 Mar. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B004J80CR0
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 701,413 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture - Munchner Philharmoniker
  2. Suse, Suse Love, What's Rustling in the Straw?
  3. So Right! And Now You Do Not Want More Lawsuits?
  4. Brother, Come Dance With Me
  5. Holla ... Sky, the Mother!
  6. Rallalala, Rallalala
  7. Ho, Ho!...
  8. But Wait, Where Are the Children?
  9. If You Lost in the Forest There
  10. Prelude: Witches' Ride - Munchner Philharmoniker
  11. A Little Man Stands in the Forest
  12. My Cup Is Full...
  13. Gretel! Not the Way I Know More!
  14. I Am the Little Sandman
  15. I Will Evening Going to Sleep
  16. Dream Pantomime - Munchner Philharmoniker

Disc: 2

  1. Prelude - Munchner Philharmoniker
  2. The Little...
  3. Where Am I? Awake Am I? Is It a Dream?
  4. Stay, Stay!
  5. Nibble, Nibble, Gnaw
  6. I Am Rosina Glutton
  7. Stop!
  8. Well, Gretel, Be Sensible and Nice!
  9. On! Awake, My Lad
  10. The Witch Now Dead
  11. Redeemed, Freed, for All Time!
  12. Father! Mother!

Product Description

A welcome back to this famous recording from the vaults of the Yellow Label, with the great Rita Streich and Gisela Litz. An opera based on a childrens tale, but by no means childish! The inherent horror of the tale is painted in Wagnerian colours and the dramatic tension is spine-tingling! Poor Humperdinck! Remembered today for just one work, overshadowed by both Wagner and Richard Strauss (the final indignity came with having his name taken by a 1960s crooner!), he was highly respected by both his colleagues, and assisted Wagner at Bayreuth in 1881-2 working on the premiere of Parsifal. Of his nine works for stage, Hansel und Gretel has remained a firm favourite in opera houses around the world. A skilful blend of Webers Der Freischütz, Wagners Meistersinger and Siegfried, it weaves a magical spell upon the listener. Conjuring up all the childhood fears of what lives in deep in the forest, and things that go bump in the night (this is after all based on a Grimm Brothers tale!), Humperdincks magical score is full of wonderful tunes. The casting of a mezzo-soprano, as Humperdinck intended, rather than a soprano in the part of Hansel, means that there is more differentiation of voice here than in the Columbia (Karajan) discRita Streich is very well cast as Gretel.That admirable artist Res Fischer is a much better witch than Columbia's Else Scharhof, really sings all of her part, instead of mouthing it, and is more sinister. Gramophone

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Top Customer Reviews

By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 21 Mar. 2011
Poor recording quality is the flaw least tolerated by an opera such as this, dependent upon a fairy-tale atmosphere, and unfortunately the 1953 processed mono sound on this reissue is dull and spongy. However, I suspect that the general air of "flatness" about this recording it is not just the result of the recorded sound; this is a dutiful, faithful account which manages almost completely to eschew any sense of magic. The one notable exception to this is Rita Streich's charming, sweetly vocalised Gretel, yet even she seems hardly inspired when it comes to acting - perhaps not surprising given that she is paired with the rather matronly mezzo-soprano Hänsel of Gisela Litz. Neither of the singers playing the parents is especially characterful or distinguished compared with their counterparts on competitive sets and although I am quite taken by Res Fischer's unexaggerated but convincing Witch, she hardly takes the part by the scruff of the neck the way Elisabeth Söderström does for Pritchard or, best of all, Christa Ludwig for Eichhorn; both are far more sinister (whereas Schlemm for Solti is rather hammy). Elisabeth Lindermeier's Sandman is prettily sung with a tone somewhat reminiscent of a young Kiri Te Kanawa and while I concede that casting a boy to sing the Dew Fairy is perfectly legitimate, I still prefer a more ethereal voice than Bruno Brückmann's slightly gusty treble.

The Wagnerian heft of the Witches' Ride and the Dream Pantomime doesn't really come across under Fritz Lehmann's literal direction and it's hard to detect much change in mood or ambience when we enter the dark forest. The key moment when the witch is shoved into her own oven is lively but hardly climactic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x991f7414) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991f7720) out of 5 stars A non-starter 21 Mar. 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Poor recording quality is the flaw least tolerated by an opera such as this, dependent upon a fairy-tale atmosphere, and unfortunately the 1953 processed mono sound on this reissue is dull and spongy. However, I suspect that the general air of "flatness" about this recording it is not just the result of the recorded sound; this is a dutiful, faithful account which manages almost completely to eschew any sense of magic. The one notable exception to this is Rita Streich's charming, sweetly vocalised Gretel, yet even she seems hardly inspired when it comes to acting - perhaps not surprising given that she is paired with the rather matronly mezzo-soprano Hänsel of Gisela Litz. Neither of the singers playing the parents is especially characterful or distinguished compared with their counterparts on competitive sets and although I am quite taken by Res Fischer's unexaggerated but convincing Witch, she hardly takes the part by the scruff of the neck the way Elisabeth Söderström does for Pritchard or, best of all, Christa Ludwig for Eichhorn; both are far more sinister (whereas Schlemm for Solti is rather hammy). Elisabeth Lindermeier's Sandman is prettily sung with a tone somewhat reminiscent of a young Kiri Te Kanawa and while I concede that casting a boy to sing the Dew Fairy is perfectly legitimate, I still prefer a more ethereal voice than Bruno Brückmann's slightly gusty treble.

The Wagnerian heft of the Witches' Ride and the Dream Pantomime doesn't really come across under Fritz Lehmann's literal direction and it's hard to detect much change in mood or ambience when we enter the dark forest. The key moment when the witch is shoved into her own oven is lively but hardly climactic.

With so many satisfying alternative versions available I cannot in all conscience recommend this one, despite its bargain price - unless you are a Rita Streich completist. My personal favourite is the 1978 set conducted by Pritchard with the dream pairing of Cotrubas and Von Stade, closely followed by Solti's recording with Popp and Fassbaender as sister and brother - also made in 1978. If you want a bargain, you could do far worse than the 1971 Eichhorn set with Helen Donath and Anna Moffo as delightful siblings; all three are preferable to this dull re-issue on the Brilliant label and all are by and large far better sung and played.
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