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Schönberg: Gurre-Lieder Import


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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Voigt, Heppner, Meier - does it get any better than this? Aug. 17 2005
By C. EGBUNIWE - Published on Amazon.com
I read reviews of this set and bought it with a few reservations. But the reviewers were wrong. They complained about Levine's measured tempi and claimed that the orchestra never catches fire. This is ridiculous. I'm usually not a fan of Levine's tempi but in this case, he offers a detailed orchestral reading and still manages to generate excitement. The strings are featured heavily but there are many gorgeous moments for woodwinds and the brasses are thrilling (as expected). The Munich Philharmonic Choir does more than just shout for a change and the engineers have worked to give the entire performance a warm glow.

Then the soloists. Heppner is wonderfully heroic, ardent, but always lyrical. No barking, here. Definitely the most satisfying Waldemar I've heard. Deborah Voigt's Tove surpasses the work she did under Sinopoli. Her sound is more golden, more womanly and how she nails that final "kuss"! It shouldn't sound so easy but it does! Waltraud Meier simply astounds. I prefer Tatyana Troyanos's voice in the Ozawa set but few can come close to Meier in terms of creating a sense of drama through the music, and in communicating the inner meaning of text. If only they could get this trio to do Walkure!

All in all, this is the best set in recent years, surpassing the Rattle (the soloists are intelligent but not always up to task, vocally) and Craft sets. The old Kubelik set is probably still my favorite because of the true sense of magic that the engineers create but this set can sit right beside it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The cream of the crop May 7 2009
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
The Santa Fe listener is quite right when he says that many people will not even be aware of this stupendous 2001 recording; when I reviewed those available a while back I certainly did not know of it and if I had, I would, as I do now, unhesitatingly endorse it as the first choice set, even above the Ozawa version. The Munich orchestra sounds like the greatest band in the world and Levine performs miracles with them, drawing out the sound monumentally without ever losing tension: the blazing, climactic last mega-chorus is a lulu. The two main soloists are the finest yet, but although Meier is very fine as the Wood-dove she does not eclipse Troyanos, Fassbänder and, most arresting of all, Janet Baker. The sound is amazingly full and as the recording was assembled from three consecutive live performances, it retains the frisson of a live event with very few coughs or distracting noises. Veteran retired tenor Ernst Haefliger takes the rôle of the Speaker - he recorded it twice that year, in this and then in the Craft recording - and gives us a highly stylised, vividly characterised, Sprechstimme account of the poem, but he sounds too old and quavery for my taste. The other smaller parts are fine, although I confess that I am always a little bored by both the Bauer and Klaus-Narr episodes; the glory of this piece lies in the long-breathed, emotionally highly wrought outpourings of Waldemar, Tove and the chorus, sung to perfection by this distinguished ensemble. Heppner sings both heroically and tenderly and is suitably distraught upon Tove's death, and it's worth hearing Voigt for her top B at the end of "Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick" (track 10) alone. My other little gripe is that despite giving us a fairly fat, thirty-page booklet, there is no libretto, and it is instead stuffed with padding like photos, biographies and a mini-history of the orchestra. But that doesn't matter; this is a great performance; buy it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Best Gurre-Lieder Dec 10 2011
By Aaron - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is hands-down the best recording of Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder on the market. That's all. The RSO and Weiner Philharmonic productions can't compare.


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