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Your weekend listening, browsing, reading starts here

1 All you need to know about Michaelangelo (part one)

2 The making of the first a greatest recorded Ring (and don’t miss the Italian teaboy)

3 A Tchaikovsky winner reflects on the Soviet Union and after

4 From Britten’s War Requiem, 50 years old next week

5 The Last Samurai, re-reviewed

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  1. I think the War Requiem endures as one of the most profound statements of and about the 20th Century and most of the other ones, too. Thanks for the clip of the singing of the great Dietrich
    Fischer-Dieskau and the moving photography that accompanies it. And let’s not forget the way he sang “May God curse thee and CUT thee from our soul!” to the great gun towering toward heaven earlier in the piece. For Fischer-Dieskau, Britten, Pears, Owen, and all the lads in those photographs: let them sleep now….

    • In listening to the video about the recording of the Ring I heard for the first time the speaking voice of D F-D in English.
      No accent and he got the W’s just right. No wonder his diction was so good.

  2. Solti speaks of 15-minute takes as if longer is not possible. How so? These were consummate professionals, everyone of them, and additionally had performed their parts many times in live performances.

    For the first 5 months of this year I’ve listened to the Rings of Barenboim and Haitink in studio performances, and Swallisch in live performance. Were these also made in 15-minute takes taken from the studio and live performances?

    • Wanderer says:

      15 min was for that production deemed the best compromise between need for precision/concentration and musical flow. Obviously a recording puts a higher benchmark on the level of precision than a live performance does, becazse the element of willful repeated reproduction comes into play, unlike a live performance. Also the logistics of trial take with subsequent listening by the crew means you can’t record endless takes. Also tape reels were of limited duration, in 30 ips they lasted about 20 min.

    • Istvan Horthy says:

      The love duet at the end of “Siegfried” was done in a single take – a considerable achievement on all sides.

  3. Istvan Horthy says:

    This takes me back to my youth, as does the complete recording whenever I hear it. I was so excited when I first saw the film that I couldn’t sleep for several nights because of the music running through my head. That phase passed, fortunately, but Solti remains for me the greatest conductor I’ve ever heard.

    • The Ring still excites me after many listenings to many recordings and broadcasts. Plus Tristan!
      WHAT must it have been like to have heard this music when it was NEW without the knowledge of what has been written in all classical music since that time. In other words without the benefit of hind-sight.

  4. Notice all the SMOKING going in the control room.

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