WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

The Very Best Of Christa Ludwig


Release Date: 09/02/2003 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 85099   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartVincenzo BelliniGiuseppe VerdiRichard Wagner,   ... 
Performer:  Christa LudwigElisabeth SchwarzkopfMaria CallasElisabeth Grümmer,   ... 
Conductor:  Karl BöhmTullio SerafinCarlo Maria GiuliniRudolf Kempe,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraMilan Teatro alla Scala OrchestraPhilharmonia Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 34 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I've had occasion to register disappointment with several releases in EMI's "Very Best Of ..." series, either because the selections weren't worthy of the singer or because the transfers were inferior. This one, though, is a total success. Everything here is essential. Of course, some selections are more "essential" than others, but Christa Ludwig was an incredibly consistent singer. She must have had off-days, but few of them came when she was near a microphone. And unusual for this series, all selections are drawn from her prime years. The earliest is the "Presentation of the Rose" scene from the Karajan-led complete 1957 recording of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, where her Octavian is partnered by the Read more under-appreciated Teresa Stich-Randall's Sophie; the latest is a 1970 Brahms lieder set with Geoffrey Parsons' apt accompaniments.


The first disc opens with a trio of selections from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and moves on to the "Mira o Norma" duet with Callas from the stereo Serafin set, followed by a convincing "Liber Scriptus" from Giulini's Verdi Requiem. Ludwig is an exemplary Ortrud in a selection from Kempe's Lohengrin, and she's a radiant Schubert/Schumann/Brahms lieder singer in 15 songs, highlighted by a luminous Schubert "Ave Maria" (only the "Erlkönig" slightly disappoints) and Brahms' "Ständchen" and "Vergebliches Ständchen".


Disc 2 is given over to Ludwig's unique collaborations with conductor Otto Klemperer, opening with three arias from his complete St. Matthew Passion, a recording that continues to defy fashion and retain its "classic" status, in some part due to Ludwig's singing, which is full of innumerable beauties and an inner spiritual glow. There's also a powerful "Abscheulicher!..." from their Fidelio, still the best recording of that opera, where this great mezzo takes on a soprano role without missing a beat. An outstanding Mahler set includes an unforgettable "Von der Schönheit" from Das Lied von der Erde. But then, everything on these two discs is unforgettable, or as close to it as anyone has a right to expect, most especially three of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, which make you pine for the two remaining songs in the cycle. Everything's in stereo, so monophobes need not worry. At a two-for-one price, there's no excuse for missing this glorious set.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Così fan tutte, K 588: Ah costati...Smanie implacabili by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
2.
Così fan tutte, K 588: Sorella...Prenderò quel brunettino by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
3.
Così fan tutte, K 588: E amore un ladroncello by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
4.
Norma: Mira, o Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Maria Callas (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Language: Italian 
5.
Requiem Mass: Liber scriptus proferetur by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Italy 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This selection continues with the chorus "Dies Irae." 
6.
Lohengrin: Entweihte Götter! Helft jetzt meine Rache! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is preceded by the dialogue "Elsa! We ruft?.." 
7.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Mir ist..."Rose Presentation" by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Teresa Stich-Randall (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
Language: German 
8.
Fischerweise, D 881 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
9.
An die Musik, D 547 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
10.
Der Musensohn, D 764/Op. 92 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
11.
Ellens Gesang III, D 839/Op. 52 no 6 "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Latin 
12.
Die Forelle, D 550 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
13.
Frühlingsglaube, D 686/Op. 20 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
14.
Der Erlkönig, D 328 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
15.
Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42: no 2, Er, der Herrlichste von allen by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
16.
Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42: no 4, Du Ring an meinem Finger by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
17.
Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42: no 7, An meinem Herzen by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
18.
Deutsche Volkslieder (49), WoO 33: no 33, Och Moder, ich well en Ding han by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1894; Germany 
Language: German 
19.
Deutsche Volkslieder (49), WoO 33: no 34, Wie komm ich denn zur Tür herein? by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1894; Germany 
Language: German 
20.
Songs (8), Op. 59: no 8, Dein blaues Auge by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
Language: German 
21.
Songs (5), Op. 106: no 1, Ständchen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1888; Austria 
Language: German 
22.
Romances and Songs (5), Op. 84: no 4, Vergebliches Ständchen by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1877-79; Austria 
Language: German 
23.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 10, Buss' und reu' by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
24.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 47, Erbarme dich by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Hugh Bean (Violin)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
25.
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244: no 70, Sehet, Jesus die Hand by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Peter Newbury (Oboe da caccia), Sidney Sutcliffe (Oboe da caccia), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: This selection is preceded by "Ach, Golgotha..." 
26.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Abscheulicher!...Komm, Hoffnung by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
27.
Don Giovanni, K 527: In quali eccessi...Mi tradì quell' alma ingrata by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
Language: Italian 
28.
Des Knaben Wunderhorn: no 5, Das irdische Leben by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1893; Hamburg, Germany 
Language: German 
29.
Rückert Lieder (5): no 2, Ich atmet' einen Linden Duft by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
30.
Des Knaben Wunderhorn: no 9, Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1898; Hamburg, Germany 
Language: German 
31.
Das Lied von der Erde: no 4, Von der Schönheit by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908-1909; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
32.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 3, Im Treibhaus by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Arranged: Felix Mottl 
33.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 4, Schmerzen by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Arranged: Felix Mottl 
34.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 5, Träume by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Arranged: Felix Mottl 
35.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Così fan tutte K588 (2000 Digital Remaster), Act 1, Scene 3: Recitativo ed Aria: Ah scostati!... Smanie implacabili (Dorabella)
Così fan tutte (2000 Digital Remaster): Prenderò quel brunettino (Fiordiligi/Dorabella)
Così fan tutte (2000 Digital Remaster): E amore un ladroncello (Dorabella)
Norma (1997 Digital Remaster): Mira, o Norma....Sì, fino all'ore estreme (Act II)
Messa da Requiem (1997 Digital Remaster), II - Sequenza: Liber scriptus - Dies irae
Lohengrin (2000 Digital Remaster): Elsa! Wer ruft?...Entweihte Götter! (Act II)
Der Rosenkavalier (2001 Digital Remaster), ZWEITER AKT/ACT 2/DEUXIÈME ACTE/ATTO SECONDO: Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren (Oktavian/Sophie)
Fischerweise D881 (1991 Digital Remaster)
An die Musik D547 (1991 Digital Remaster)
Der Musensohn D764 (1991 Digital Remaster)
Ave Maria, 'Ellens Gesang III' D839 (Scott, trans. Storck) (1967 Digital Remaster)
Die Forelle D550 (1991 Digital Remaster)
Frühlingsglaube D686 (1991 Digital Remaster)
Erlkönig D328 (1991 Digital Remaster)
Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 42 (1960 Digital Remaster): Er, der Herrlichste von allen
Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 42 (1960 Digital Remaster): Du Ring an meinem Finger
Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 42 (1960 Digital Remaster): An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust
2 Deutsche Volkslieder (Kölnisch) (1991 Digital Remaster): Och mod`r, ich well en Ding han!
2 Deutsche Volkslieder (Kölnisch) (1991 Digital Remaster): We kumm ich dann de Pooz erenn?
8 Lieder Op. 59 (1991 Digital Remaster): VIII. Dein blaues Auge (K. Groth)
5 Lieder Op. 106 (1991 Digital Remaster): I. Ständchen (F. Kugler)
5 Lieder und Romanzen Op. 84 (1991 Digital Remaster): Vergebliches Ständchen (Niederrheinisches Volkslied)
St. Matthew Passion BWV 243 (2001 Digital Remaster): Du Lieber Heiland du...Buß' und Reu (Part I)
'St Matthew Passion' BWV244 (2001 Digital Remaster), PART II: Nr.47 Arie: Erbarme dich, mein Gott (Alt/Solo Violine/Orchester I)
St. Matthew Passion BWV 243 (2001 Digital Remaster): Ach, Golgotha...Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand (Part II)
Fidelio Op. 72 (2000 Digital Remaster): Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?...Komm, Hoffnung
Don Giovanni K527 (1991 Digital Remaster), ATTO SECONDO, Scena seconda: Recitativo & Aria
Lieder aus 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' (1988 Digital Remaster): Das irdische Leben
Fünf Rückert-Lieder (1988 Digital Remaster): Ich atmet' einem linden Duft
Lieder aus 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' (1988 Digital Remaster): Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen
Das Lied von der Erde, 'Song of the Earth' (Hans Bethge) (1998 Digital Remaster): IV. Von der Schönheit (con/bar)
Wesendonk Lieder (orch. Mottl) (1991 Digital Remaster): Im Treibhaus
Wesendonk Lieder (orch. Mottl) (1991 Digital Remaster): Schmerzen
Wesendonk Lieder: Träume (1991 Digital Remaster)
Tristan und Isolde (1991 Digital Remaster), DRITTER AKT/ACT 3/TROISIÈME ACT, Dritte Szene/Scene 3/Troisième Scène: Mild und leise wir er lächelt (Isoldes Liebestod: Isolde)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In