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What are you currently listening to?

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Author Topic: What are you currently listening to?  (Read 97396 times)
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« Reply #3570 on: July 06, 2022, 02:59:45 pm »

Franz Lehar: The Merry Widow  Elizabeth Harwood,Teresa Stratas,Werner Hollweg,René Kollo,Zoltán Keleman,Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin/ Karajan DG 2cd's (+ bonus Suppe Overtures)

In the end I just couldn't resist this one at only just over £4! I've read so much about it over the years. A critic's waggish description of Karjan's recording as "Brahms’ Requiem performed to the tunes of Lehar" is supposed to have damaged sales overnight and earned the recording enduring notoriety! All seems well during the purely orchestral opening. My first thought,"What's wrong with that?!" The photo of Karajan hands poised in mid air as if ready to conduct yet another Bruckner epic (He should have tried Rufinatscha!) should have been a clue! The singing and playing is great,but why are they singing so s-l-o-w-l-y! :o ;D She's supposed to be a merry widow not a solemn widow! The clue's in the title,folks!

Reason's to listen!

The recording's notoriety!
Elizabeth Harwood does make a lovely,glamorous widow!
The sheer strangeness of Lehar's score performed v-e-r-y s-l-ow-l-y!
Being one of the world's greatest orchestras and those super silky,Berlin strings means you (arguably) just about get away with it! :o :)

Cd 2,coming up! Can't wait for the party and the grisettes! I just hope the tempi's faster than this! And I can't believe I'm saying this!! Where are the Williams Singers* when you need them?!!

Seriously,I think that those who say that Karajan's conducting brings out the beauty of the score have a point! So,if you are a fan of The Widow and the glory days of the big labels you will find much to enjoy here........amid the glacial tempi! (Albeit,I think the male soloist's are more distinctive on some of the rival recordings!)  It's not a first choice for this work,though! The booklet includes an english libretto,but curiously,no english notes. If you do buy it,the old style fat-box jewel case will fit through your letterbox. (Update: No it's not Tolouse Lautrec on the front! It's a cartoon! Memo! Put reading glasses!! ::) ;D Sorry about that!)

Update! I've listened to cd 2 now and Karajan's tempi for the Act 3 party in Hanna Glawari's ballroom are ridiculously slow! This is one fun free party! So,the only reason's to acquire this recording remain,Elizabeth Harwood as Hanna Glawari (very good),the silky sheen opulescence of the Berlin string section and the recordings curiosity (or notoriety) value! Teresa Stratas is good as Valencienne,but,ultimately,hamstrung by Karajan's slothful tempi. I am glad to have heard this recording,though!

*a seemingly,terminally,upbeat musical combi who provided choral contributions to various recordings,including an,otherwise,rather good recording of Edward German's operetta,Merrie England (emi & cfp)

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