Wagner: Die Walküre (Excerpts) - Lawrence, Destal, Maison, Kipnis; Busch. Montevideo, 1936. BONUS: Tristan Exc. with Flagstad & Lorenz

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This set of excerpts from Die Walküre features a panoply of legendary singers whose careers came just before the proliferation of recordings. They feature the Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence, while still in her twenties and before she was paralyzed by polio. Lawrence’s voice may have lacked the warmth of Flagstad's, but there is a youthful magnetism that makes her Brünnhilde particularly convincing. Equally youthful sounding is the Wotan of Fred Destal whose oversized voice manages effortlessly both within and without the staff. René Maison delivers one of the most lyrically tender Siegmunds I have ever heard. Fritz Busch somehow manages to evoke all of the fire and drama from Wagner’s orchestration while preserving a lightness one might expect from Rossini. The second disc is comprised of about thirty minutes from Act I of Tristan und Isolde featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Max Lorenz. Even though Flagstad was approaching the end of her career she nonetheless met the demands of this formidable role with ease, and brought an even deeper understanding to the part. Max Lorenz’s robust tenor lacks subtly but delivers when it comes to full-out, thrilling singing. Hans Knappertsbusch leads a surprisingly fleet performance. The quality for both recordings is good for the era.

OD 11208-2

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