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Knappertsbusch - Vienna Festival 1963 (Die Walküre Act 1) / Watson, Uhl, Greindl

Knappertsbusch / Watson / Uhl / Greindl / Vpo
Release Date: 02/17/2004 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: CLHK63  
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Josef GreindlClaire WatsonFritz Uhl
Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"...the conductor confirms his mastery in creating long paragraphs, persuading an orchestra that obviously respects him, to produce a concentrated, saturated sound and creating an organic whole...the music-making is god-like." - GRAMOPHONE

Wagner: Die Walkure
Wiener Philharmoniker, Knappertsbusch
Soloists: Claire Watson – Sieglinde; Fritz Uhl – Siegmund; Josef Greindl - Hunding

Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Running Time: 72 minutes
Booklet Language: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish French and Italian
Recording Date: 21st May 1963
Read more /> "Nobody today, not even Goodall, can match Knappertsbusch's combination of line and emotional power" Gramophone

Another classic performance from the Vienna Philharmonic and Hans Knappertsbusch, this time performing Wagner, a speciality of the celebrated conductor.

During the first years of his conducting career Knappertsbusch took part as assistant in the Bayreuth Festival, directed by Siegfried Wagner, and had thus experienced Wagner tradition and culture from close by. After appointments in Bochum, Leipzig and Dessau Hans Knappertsbusch succeeded Bruno Walter in 1922 as Musical Director of the Munich State Opera, where Richard Wagner's works also played an important part. He therefore has a particular affinity for this music, shown in the powerful performances he extracts from orchestra and soloists.

R E V I E W S:

"...the extracts of Wagner are the invaluable documents. In each case, the conductor confirms his mastery in creating long paragraphs, persuading an orchestra that obviously respects him, to produce a concentrated, saturated sound and creating an organic whole. The results are achieved with the minimum of gesture: a firm lead here, a nod there and miracles are performed...you sense that incandescence that should be, but seldom is, a sine qua non in these passages... the American Claire Watson...impresses so much as Sieglinde. This is a wonderful souvenir of a role she took at Covent Garden at around the same time with just the unassuming musicality and beauty of tone she shows here. Her phrasing, her feeling for and her understanding of every facet of the role make this a luminous, unforced interpretation. Fritz Uhl, her Siegmund, is another artist who exhibits innate musicianship, and an idiomatic command of the text...Josef Greindl’s commanding tone and ideal enunciation reveal why he was such a prized Wagnerian bass at the time. The camerawork on both occasions is rudimentary, the sound a shade restricted, but who cares about that or the black-and-white format when the music-making is god-like." - Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE
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Works on This Recording

Die Walküre: Excerpt(s) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Josef Greindl (Bass), Claire Watson (Soprano), Fritz Uhl (Tenor)
Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A classic performance September 27, 2012 By William Craig (BROOMFIELD, CO) See All My Reviews "This is a really excellent performance. Hans Knappertsbusch was one of the greatest Wagner conductors of his generation, along with Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, and perhaps Clemens Krauss. His approach featured stately, unhurried, and flexible tempos, a rich but transparent texture, and a profound grasp of the larger musical structure. It is well known that he hated recording studios . Here, he is in an ideal situation - a live concert performance with fine singers and a great orchestra, playing gloriously for one of its favorite conductors. It is most interesting to watch Knappertsbusch at work. He was 75 at the time and looked rather frail. He conducts while seated on a stool, and his gestures are very economical. But his beat is rock-solid, and he can convey a wealth of information with a glance of the eyes or a small hand gesture. The orchestra is in top form; the only glitch is a bad entrance by the bass trumpet near the beginning of Scene III. The singers are also outstanding. For me, the big surprise was Claire Watson. I knew her from her two appearances in the Solti "Ring", as Freia and Gutrune, and as Ellen Orford in Britten's recording of "Peter Grimes". She struck me as rather light-voiced, and I wouldn't have imagined her as Sieglinde. But she carries it off very well. Her top notes may lack the heft of other sopranos, but the voice is beautiful and even, with strength in the lower range. And she brings out much of the character with her face, her voice, and her imaginative treatment of the words. Fritz Uhl is best known from Solti's "Tristan und Isolde". He always struck me as an intelligent, musical singer whose voice was rather too small (especially next to Birgit Nilsson's). He is a very convincing Siegmund. The range suits him well, he sounds properly heroic, and he treats the text vividly. Josef Greindl was a ubiquitous Wagnerian bass in the fifties and sixties whose production sometimes sounded uneven and wobbly. But he is in fine shape here - a solid, powerful, and vividly characterized Hunding. The monaural sound has been digitally cleaned up and is entirely adequate, and the camera work is fine, catching the important things. Strongly recommended." Report Abuse
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