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Notes and Editorial Reviews
What is more important, words or music? That's essentially the plot of Richard Strauss' operatic swan song, for which Clemens Krauss fashioned a mildly droll and frankly uninteresting libretto. But if you approach Capriccio as the ultimate valentine to orchestral song rather than music drama, you'll be quicker to appreciate its stylized charm, offhand fluidity, and rarified aura. Of the work's three "official" recordings, the first one still boasts the most cohesive ensemble work, supplest conducting, and a level of singing that you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Even if you already own EMI's 1987 transfer of this classic recording, do consider this sonic upgrade, for it sounds much better. Tape hiss is reduced, yet the
voices and instruments sport more dimension, color, and amplitude.
What delicious, blue-blooded siblings Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Eberhard Wächter make, while Nicolai Gedda's yummy Flamand and the volatile Olivier of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau add vivid fuel to the music's gentle fires. Clarion, the actress, reveals the 30-something Christa Ludwig in her element. Best of all, however, is Hans Hotter. His portrayal of the oafish theater director La Roche offers a thousand lessons in what a singing actor is all about, just like his better-known Wotan. The smaller roles are also cast with distinction, and the Philharmonia Orchestra soars under Sawallisch's lithe, eloquent leadership. Who cares if it's mono? If you love late Strauss, life isn't complete until you add this set to your collection.
-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Reviewing earlier release of this recording
Works on This Recording
Capriccio, Op. 85 by Richard Strauss
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor),
Edward Darling (Tenor),
David Winnard (Tenor),
Anna Moffo (Soprano),
Eberhard Wächter (Baritone),
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Soprano),
Hans Hotter (Baritone),
Rudolf Christ (Tenor),
Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano),
Dermot Troy (Tenor),
Karl Schmitt-Walter (Baritone),
Edgar Fleet (Tenor),
Wolfgang Sawallisch (Spoken Vocals),
Dennis Wicks (Bass),
Ian Humphries (Tenor),
John Hauxvell (Bass),
Geoffrey Walls (Bass),
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone),
Leslie Fyson (Bass)
Written: 1940-1941; Germany
Date of Recording: 1957-58
Venue: Kingsway Hall, London, England
Length: 134 Minutes 55 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Legendary Recording!! April 14, 2012
By r. corrado (virginia beach, VA) See All My Reviews
"It doesn't get any better.I have the TeKanawa recording,and outside of the beauty of voice vs.Schwarzkopf this is the recording to own. Sawallisch really has his pulse on this music.I must say that the role of LaRoche are equal on both recordings.But on this recording we have the bonus of the young and unspoiled Anna Moffo.Everyone should treat themselves to this rendering of Capriccio. Gedda in the year of his Met debut which I attended is magnificent,as is Ludwig. The whole cast in their prime. Worth every penny. R. Corrado"