This composite recording was made November 24-30, December 1-4, 1970 at the Lukaskirche, Dresden.
Though perhaps not the most distinguished recording of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg ever released, this live version from the 1968 Bayreuth Festival led by Karl Böhm certainly has its strong points, chief among them Böhm himself. The great Austrian conductor was justly famous in his time for his radiant Mozart and luminous Strauss and particularly for his incandescent Tristan und Isolde. In this Meistersinger, Böhm catches both the humor and the humanity of the work in a performance of considerable charm and attractiveness.
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Karajan's 2nd recording of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is in some ways a good studio version, but in some very important ways inferior to several others of similar vintage, let alone the great sets of the 1950s. This opera has proven to be especially recalcitrant when the singers are lined up in a row behind music stands.
Staatskapelle Dresden, Herbert von Karajan. For some, the finest Meistersinger recorded; for others, too self-consciously 'chamber' in style. There's enough punch in the big moments, though. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene One: Johannistag! Johannistag! (Lehrlingen, David, Magdalene, Sachs). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Lass seh'n ob Meister Sachs zu Haus? (Pogner, Eva, Magdalene).
By Richard Strauss - Herbert von Karajan & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. 2. Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg, Vorspiel Zum 3. Aufzug (The Mastersingers Of Nuremberg, Prelude To Act 3). By Richard Wagner - Herbert von Karajan & Berlin Philharmonic. 3. Künstlerleben Op. 316, Walzer (An Artist's Life Op. 316, Waltz). By Johann Strauss II - Herbert von Karajan & Berlin Philharmonic.
Herbert von Karajan's first version, recorded at Bayreuth also in 1951 (EMI), is a model of pacing and has a spark of immediacy, but the bronchial audience participation is at best distracting and sometimes positively destructive. Rudolf Kempe (EMI) is sane and sensible, though not as stultifying as Rafael Kubelik (Calig); Georg Solti (Decca) is a little too unremittingly intense, though his version does have Norman Bailey at his peak as Hans Sachs. But the sweep of the music is irresistible. The performance is reissued next week in EMI's Great Recordings series; the new mastering makes it sound better than ever. Key recording: Karajan (EMI 567086 2) (4CDs). Building a classical library.
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