Wagner: Parsifal - Aldenhoff, Mödl, Greindl, Nillius; Kraus. Köln, 1949
Listen to a Sample:
If you are someone who has always been turned off by the vocal blemishes that marred many of Martha Mödl's performances, then you will probably be very surprised to hear that there was a time (however brief) in which she could really sing. In fact upon first hearing this recording taken in 1949, I was almost convinced that I was hearing a different singer. Mödl sings with a lyricism which suggests that it is possible that she never really was a dramatic soprano, at least vocally speaking. Dramatically, of course, that is a different matter and never one to hold back, Mödl dives into Kundry with an abandon that would set her apart from almost every other singer who ever sang this role. However, unlike many of her later performances, the top notes all come out and with seeming ease. Bernd Aldenhoff manages to match Mödl's lyricism. A young Josef Greindl sings Gurnemanz and reveals a glamor to his voice which wasn't always present as his career progressed. It is also worth pointing out the the Cologne orchestra plays with a romantic sensibility including the restrained use of portamenti that has all become extinct. The sound is very good.