Notes and Editorial Reviews
This, at last, is Karajan's great 1966-9 Schopfung, robustly remastered, and differing obviously from the live 1982 DG Salzburg recording in the presence of the Berlin rather than the Vienna Philharmonic. The change is all-important. The revelatory later version, consistently praised in these columns, here meets its real match. While the glory of the 1982 paradise garden was primarily the obvious beauty of its strings, the BPO brings its entire forces palpably to bear, horns far from diffident, woodwind soloists radiating bright and unexpected shafts of light.
In the Eden of 1982, its seems, all manner of things will be well: in 1969 there is still a sense of threat lurking in the Chaos, a sharper, harder edge to its chords,
real teeth in its leonine attack. This is Karajan at his most inspired: I challenge anyone to find a more literally breathtaking No. 27 Trio, where the particular character of the woodwind, the dry, skeletal strings and the blend of voices convey so elequently the withdrawal and subsequent replenishing of the Divine Spirit.
As for the voices themselves: well, this is the Creation of Fritz Wunderlich, of Gundula Janowitz and of Fischer-Dieskau. Wunderlich's unique sensitivity to the dramatic energy of each vowel and consonant within an effortlessly lyrical line creates unforgettable moments like the shift from sun to moonlight, and the first image of created Man. Wunderlich's death, in mid-recording, means that, here and there, Walter Krenn is a substitute Uriel, cunningly matched in weight and timbre, though expressively distant. Here, the more overtly heroic Francisco Araiza (1982) has the edge.
Where Edith Mathis (1982) is both corporeal woman and archangel, Janowitz, younger and with her characteristic bloom untarnished, brings a truly other-worldly aura to Gabriel. Indeed, she scarcely touches down in the somewhat blurred fioritura passages. The sense of wonder, though, in her steady, eloquent recitatives, the truly healing properties of her rhapsodic ''Heil'', to say nothing of her deliquescent ode to the nightingale, are incomparable contributions to this performance.
Walter Berry's true bass Raphael (he descends to the lowest earth for his ''Gewurm'', as does Kurt Moll for Levine—also DG) is a sober presence in contrast to Jose van Dam's later (1982) and livelier verbal responses and his unique Cousteau-eye view of the deeps. Berry's earthly counterpart is Fischer-Dieskau's Adam. Whereas van Dam focuses on the humility of the Creature, Fischer-Dieskau glories in Adam as Hero, triumphant in his leading forth of Eve, rhetorical in the solemnity of his vow-taking.
-- Hilary Finch, Gramophone [12/1991]
Works on This Recording
The Creation, H 21 no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone),
Gundula Janowitz (Soprano),
Fritz Wunderlich (Tenor),
Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano),
Walter Berry (Bass Baritone),
Werner Krenn (Tenor)
Herbert von Karajan
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
Written: 1796-1798; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1966
Be the first to review this title