Sep 09

Beethoven Violin Concerto; with von Karajan and Anne-Sophie Mutter ???

It is uncharacteristic of me to give Karajan only three stars since he is my favorite conductor of the twentieth century. Even this piece was impeccably conducted and beats other performances for its interpretation. I found several things annoying about the recording. Camera work was often bizarre and not typical for filmed orchestral performances. The recording often left the solo violinist too quiet to adequately hear. Since this was recorded close to the end of Karajan’s career, there is a sense of the absence of his prior dynamism.Oddly, he had his eyes open more than is typical for him conducting orchestras. Mutter’s only expression of enjoyment was the last two seconds of the recording on completion of the piece. Regardless, she performed the virtuoso sections of the concerto without flaw and expressively. This is a performance perhaps best listened to and not watched.

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Sep 25

Fidelio

By Kenneth Feucht Media, Music, Opera No Comments »

Fidelio, Hamburg Opera, Cult Opera Series ?????

Though the music is absolutely spectacular and fitting of Beethoven at his best, the opera also shows the problems that Beethoven had at writing opera, in that the staging is quite awkward, making it challenging for any opera company to produce. This opera is a “reality” opera filmed in a real Spanish prison rather than on the stage. The singing is absolutely spectacular, with an awesome cast, including a very young Lucia Popp as Marcelline. The recording has a slightly tin-ny ring to it, as though you were listening to an old RCA recording from the 1950’s. This opera was produced in 1968. In spite of all the faults, it was so well done, that it deserves 5 stars.

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