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Strauss: Four Last Songs, Tod und Verklarung; Wagner / Popp, Tennstedt


Release Date: 01/12/2010 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 64290   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard StraussRichard Wagner
Performer:  Lucia Popp
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The very personal and appealing quality of Lucia Popp's voice immediately gives this new account of a work now very well represented in the catalogue an initial advantage. It speaks directly to you in a manner hard to describe, but it is the kind of very individual utterance that Jurinac had and, to judge from old records, Fide Norena. That, matched to an innate feeling for Straussian line and an almost effortless spontaneity of approach, makes this into a glorious version of a much-recorded work and equal if not superior to those admirable versions listed above. In such passages as the close of "Beim Schlafengehen" (where she adopts Schwarzkopf's reordering of the words) and at "0 weite, stille Friedel" in the last Read more song, the incandescence of her interpretation surpasses even that of Schwarzkopf on HMV.

Depending on how you view the work, you may find Popp's reading more generalized than Schwarzkopf's—and therefore more akin to Söderström, also on HMV—or a degree more spontaneous. By comparison with Popp, Te Kanawa certainly seems a little four-square and careful in her CBS recording, for all the inherent beauty of her singing, and Popp and her orchestra are certainly better recorded than any rivals. Which brings me to Tennstedt. His tempos are all very slow, the last song stretching to an almost incredible 810", but playing the songs through first time without the stopwatch I was wholly unaware of the very temperate speeds. This proves that Tennstedt can sustain them with conviction helped by the LPO's playing, which has true Straussian bloom.

In the tone poem, apt coupling as both works speak of final things and the early work is quoted in the late one. I found the LPO less convincing, the strings here not the equal of those on several rival versions but again, Tennstedt's spacious reading has much to commend it. As a pair, the interpretations are complementary and recommendable.

-- Gramophone [2/1983, reviewing the original LP release of the Srauss works]
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Works on This Recording

1. Four Last Songs, AV 150 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Lucia Popp (Soprano)
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1981 
Language: German 
2. Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1981 
3. Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
4. Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 

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