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Top customer reviews
on 27 September 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is a fascinating two CD issue containing some remarkable performances, some not previously issued. There are some operetta selections recorded in 1939. These have appeared before and reveal a very young Schwarzkopf singing with the then well known tenor Rupert Glawitsch. These are enjoyable and surprisingly well recorded though Schwarzkopf's voice is hardly recognisable. There are also some selections from a 1952 live broadcast. The whole broadcast is already available from Golden Melodram in a much better transfer but this selection does include some gems including Handel (from the Messiah), some Puccini (from Madam Butterfly) and some particularly wonderful Korngold (from Die Tot Stadt). There are some live broadcasts from Holland in 1958 and 1960. Schwarzkopf sings Bach's Mein Herz Schwimmt im Blut (not previously released) and Haydn's Scena di Berenice conducted by Szymon Goldberg. The Bach is not performed as it would be today and that is a disadvantage but I think the performance is better than her studio version. She responds well to Goldberg and sings more cleanly and flowingly than on the published version. The Haydn is an exciting piece with a very wide range and Schwarzkopf clearly relishes this with a very exuberant performance. The recording quality is rather harsh with the violins a bit edgy - and the applause is cut off disconcertingly quickly! The newly available 1960 performances are conducted by Giulini. There is an aria from Cosi fan tutte (E'amore un ladroncello) and the concert aria Ch'io scordi di te. This is available in two studio recordings - a rather late version on EMI and a superb earlier version on Testament. The present performance - again rather harshly recorded - is superbly sung and is swifter and more urgent than the other versions and leads to a frenzy of applause. There is also a complete performance of Vivaldi's Gloria - again not in present style but with very fine contributions from Schwarzkopf - and a complete performance of Verdi's Quatro Pezzi Sacri with Schwarzkopf contributing a solo in the final section. But the overwhelming performance on the set is a live recording from 1955 of Luonnotar by Sibelius. The recording is a bit noisy and something goes astray in the middle of the piece but Schwarzkopf is inspired. She produces very dark tone in the low register to capture the brooding mood of the piece and attacks the very highest notes fearlessly. Not to be missed.
on 8 September 2016
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Schwarzkopf enthusiasts of which I have been one since my teens in the 60s should not miss these rarities. Variable sound of course but excellent music making as always with the great Dame.
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