In March last year, JBS looked forward to the transfer to CD of the Schwarzkopf/Karajan Der Rosenkavalier of 1959; and here it is. It really does triumph over them all—even the outstanding 1969 Solti/Decca—and the triumph is, almost entirely, Schwarzkopfs own.
She stands at the centre of it as a Marschallin who incarnates that sense of "the holiest exuberance of life" about which Stefan Zweig wrote of the pre-war years, and which is, in turn," incar nated uniquely in this opera. There is never any sense of mere manner: rather her volatility, dignity, and her ability to catch the evanescent lifebreath of each word and phrase as it is spun into line sets the pace and spirit of the performance as a whole. When sheRead more and the orchestra are alone together for the first time, in "Da geht er hin", there is a tension which I find nowhere else.
Karajan, without the opulent acoustic or playing of the Vienna Philharmonic for DG 25 years later, captures the essential fragility and ambiguity as well as the hedonism of the score, springing into dance under the feet of the dialogue, catching the transparent, Mozartian element of its writing as he has never done since.
-- Gramophone [1/1988] reviewing this set previously reissued as EMI 49354
As to the performance, I have said many times that this would be my first choice as a 'desert island' opera set, and I feel that more than ever with all the principals at their very finest-Schwarzkopf and Ludwig a supreme partnership. For more detail go back to JBS's excellent review in October 1983 of the last re-mastering. Karajan in 1956, as in his recent DG recording, observed statutory cuts, but the truth of Rosenkavalier has never lain in the extra bits of quasi-recitative, and this intensely beautiful, polished yet passionate performance still brings more truth than any rival, one of the supreme achievements of both Karajan and Legge.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [3/1985] reviewing an LP reissue of this recording
Schwarzkopf’s rapturously tragic Marschallin may be the star of Karajan’s intensely emotional 1956 recording, but with Christa Ludwig’s fervent Octavian, Teresa Stich-Randall’s refulgent Sophie and singers of the calibre of Ljuba Welitsch as Marianne and Nicolai Gedda as the Italian tenor, this is luxurious in every sense.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59by Richard Strauss Performer:
Eberhard Wächter (Baritone),
Teresa Stich-Randall (Soprano),
Kerstin Meyer (Alto),
Franz Bierbach (Bass),
Erich Majkut (Tenor),
Gerhard Unger (Tenor),
Harald Pröglhöf (Baritone),
Ljuba Welitsch (Soprano),
Otto Edelmann (Bass),
Paul Kuen (Tenor),
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor),
Anny Felbermayer (Soprano),
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano),
Karl Friedrich (Tenor),
Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Herbert von Karajan
Loughton Girls School Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1909-1910; Germany Date of Recording: 12/1956 Venue: Kingsway Hall, London, England Length: 191 Minutes 28 Secs. Language: German Notes: Kingsway Hall, London, England (12/10/1956 - 12/22/1956)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Fabulous Classic RecordingSeptember 14, 2013By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"The critics have consistently raved about this mid-to-late 1950's era recording featuring Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. As far as I am concerned, you can believe them all- this is without a doubt one of Maestro von Karajan's finest achievements in his long and distinguished career. The singing from every member of the cast is top notch, headed of course by the wonderful work of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf as the Marschallin and Christa Ludwig as Octavian. Richard Strauss' lush, lyrical orchestral scoring provides a perfect foundation for the singers, and one can really the sense the nostalgia in this recording, as Strauss musically reflects on the passing of the Golden Age of Vienna. Do not be concerned about the age of this venerable recording. Its remastering is top notch, ensuring that the sound quality is simply not an issue. Der Rosenkavalier surely must be regarded as Germany's great Romantic opera in the post-Wagner world, and this recording will demonsrate why this is so. Absolutely recommended."Report Abuse