Thursday, February 02, 2006

New Te Deum!

My copy of the obscure and fantastic Von Karajan recording of Bruckner's Te Deum came this week. It was recorded at the 1960 Salzburger Festspiele, and has the best cast of any Te Deum out there: Leontyne Price, Hildegard Rössl-Majdan, Fritz Wunderlich, and Walter Berry. I bought it for two reasons (three if you count my Bruckner addiction): Wunderlich[!] and it is Von Karajan when he was still good.

I list three major periods in Von Karajan's career: Nazi-approved Furtwängler replacement (1933-1945), brilliant conductor with a good sense of style (1946-1975), and shine-obsessed technician (1975-1989). His early recordings (I am thinking of Die Zauberflöte and his other EMI Mozart sets) are really quite fantastic. Throughout his career, he had some first-rate discs. However, his insistence on a shimmering, "perfect" sound damaged some discs. His orchestral obsession ruined his DG Der Ring des Nibelungen.

However, this Te Deum is nearly perfect. Jochum and Barenboim, the only major competition, are very good. Just not as good.

10 Comments:

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Terry said...

I have found that HvK and I get along very well when I'm not dealing with his later, glossy nature. "Der Rosenkavalier" (despite the fact you don't like Strauss) and "Die Fledermaus" (I don't know if you don't like that Strauss), are both fantastic recordings (and the cast doesn't hurt either). I was expecting the randomness my "Also Sprach" with Karajan has (the random sound changes, etc...thank goodness for Walter Legg on "Rosen.."), but found him quite lucid without being over the top.

Der Fledermaus, 1960, HvK, features a gala scene, where random opera stars show up to sing songs. Birgit Nilsson sing "I could have danced all night". It is frightening.

 
At 12:17 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

What a helpful comment.

I talk about Bruckner, and you talk about Strauss. I think someone is developing what the French call an "idee fixe." It must be that fetid Potomac swamp air,

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Actually, I was connecting it through HvK, and avoiding Bruckner altogether. And I was talking about Richard and Johanne II...it must be the Potomac.

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Keep it on topic.

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Technically, the topic of the blog was Bruckner, but the secondary topic was HvK's conducting style. I chose to comment upon the secondary. Thus, I was "on topic".

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

This isn't quite a democracy, and I am not quite interested in being told what-for.

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Terry said...

Rock and Roll, life happens.

 
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