[hint: for ease of navigation, read the review though to the end, then come back and click on the links.]
This inexpensive two-CD set features the only recording of Wagner's "Kinderkatechismus" (WWV 106). Kinderkatichismus was Wagner's 1873 Christmas/Birthday present to his wife (the Siegfried Idyll was her gift in 1870). The original version was a song with piano accompaniment. The following year Wagner scored it for children's chorus with small orchestra, and added an instrumental postlude based on the final bars of Gotterdammerung.
Decca recorded it in 1968 for inclusion in the first mega-box LP release of Wagner's Ring, conducted by Solti. The first CD release was in the 2012 Deluxe CD + Blu-Ray edition of Solti's Ring: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Super Deluxe) Very expensive. This new two-CD set is much more affordable. But it doesn't include the translation, so I copied it from Decca's deluxe edition:
SOLO: Tell me, children, what is it blossoms in May? CHILDREN'S CHORUS: The rose, the rose, the rose in May. SOLO: Do you know, too, what blossoms at Christmas? CHILDREN'S CHORUS: The cosy, the cosy, the cosy Mama Cosima! SOLO: If the rose of May has faded, it blossoms anew in the bosom of Christmas. CHILDREN'S CHORUS: Rose in May, cosy in May, dearest loveliest Cosima!
This recording of the 1874 "Kinderkatechismus" is probably not conducted by Solti. The original LP release and the CD included with the Deluxe version imply that everything is conducted by Solti, but this two-CD set - released the following year - attributes the performance to: "Wiener Sangerknaben + Members of the Wiener Philharmoniker" with no conductor listed. I think the conductor was Ferdinand Grossman (director of the Vienna Choir Boys).
One clue: In 2009 Grammophone Magazine printed an interview with violinist Walter Weller: "The Siegfried Idyll? We did it, my quartet and other orchestra principals! Solti wasn't even in the country at the time!" Yet dozens of witnesses attest to the fact that Solti was there and did conduct. My guess is that, forty years on, Weller confused the 1965 Siegfried Idyll recording session with the 1968 Kinderkatechismus session.
The original 1873 version of "Kinderkatechismus" (WWV 106a) for soprano with piano accompaniment (without the Gotterdammerung quotation), "Geburtstagsgruss an Cosima (Kinderkatechismuss zu Kosel's Geburtstag)" has also been recorded: Faust Lieder
Amazon doesn't allow me to provide links to websites, but if you go to Wikipedia and look up: List of compositions by Richard Wagner you will find the Wagner Catalog with WWV (Wagner-Werk-Verzeichnis) numbers (1-113).
Other Wagner rarities in this two CD set are The Symphony No. 1 in C Major (WWV 23), the Faust Overture (WWV 59) and the Overture to Die Feen (Wagner's first opera) - all conducted by Edo de Waart (but these works have been recorded before). the first two are nice souvenirs of de Waart's tenure with the San Francisco Symphony.
Plus some overtures that have been recorded too many times: conducted by de Waart, Solti and Zubin Mehta.
P.S. If you are interested in obscure Wagner, I have prepared: - a Discography of Wagner Orchestral Works on CD: The Other Wagner - review dated January 22, 2014. - a Discography of Wagner Choral Music on CD: Wagner: Das Leibesmahl der Apostel, etc. - review dated February 12, 2014. - a Discography of Wagner Lieder on CD: Faust Lieder - review dated January 28, 2014 - a Discography of Wagner Piano Music on CD: Complete Piano Music - review dated February 6, 2014.
Handel said that music should make one better – not in some el cheapo moralistic sense with Kumbaya in the air – no, no, no: nor would that go down well with the hell-raisers and inveterate shaggers of the Australian Knappertsbusch Association for whom man lives on bread alone with skirt on the side. Rather, fine music is an invitation to become more blue-blooded than the Duke of Rutland or my good friend Wozza, the Sheik of Scrubby Creek. And there’s no better example of this precept than Jochum’s Prelude and Karfreitagszauber from Parsifal. Recorded in stereo at the close of 1957, how they resonate down the years! In a rare moment of lucidity, the Penguin Guide of old extolled them as sui generis; that I believe: they're Jochum’s zenith as a conductor. One can scare believe that they exist in the world as sound-files: they’re too elemental for that. Today, after picking up a contract, I listened to them on my beloved Sony NW-A as I braved peak-hour in Melbourne. I was amazed by the degree to which they ennobled everything before me, warranted or otherwise, as if signposting the Real in these Shadowlands of ours. Kubelik’s Lohengrin Prelude with the Berlin Philharmonic from 1963 delivers the same outcome, again, by spiritualising everything before it. Kubelik’s Meistersinger Prelude with the Berliners lacks the panache of Karajan’s fabulous account with the same orchestra from 1974. Even so, it’s well worth a listen. Uncle Karl acquits himself well with the Flying Dutchman Overture. Otto Gerdes’ Tannhäuser is a filler but it matters not. This is an embarrassment of riches, coined for you!
1. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, opera, WWV 96~Prelude, Act 1 2. Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d~Siegfried's Rhine Journey 3. Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen, opera, WWV 49~Overture 4. Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), opera, WWV 63~Overture