Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
…. Fassbender and Popp?
The sweetest three minutes in the whole of German music?
Be among the first 100 to watch it.
Great singing, but what frustrating direction! All movement and only a brief closeup of the singers.
Musically heavenly. Singers are easy on the eye, but video direction is distracting. Time to learn to hide the browser window and listen.
Many thanks Norman for bringing this to our attention.
Beautifully sung and conducted. Thank you for posting it.
Waaaait a minute! Here we have an opera by a German composer based on a German fairy tale, sung by a German, and, perhaps even worse, an Austrian singer, accompanied by a centuries old German orchestra conducted by the most German conductor of them all, and all that happening in rebuilt a church which your national hero “Bomber” Harris saw reduced to a pile of stones – and you can find nothing sinister in that? It’s not a sign of rising German nationalism and impending world domination?
You’re getting soft, Norman!
Juliane Banse sounds very strained here! Kulman her ever present self.
Frustrating direction? Have there ever been more wonderful camera angles and shots, not least of the iconic new Frauenkirche?
Really Michael? Back to this again?
Nicely paced by CT, if slow (presumably due to the church acoustic, less obvious to us on such a closely-mic’d TV recording).
There remains, however, a gap in the market for a beautiful version of this where both singers (particularly the mezzo) can sing in tune as well as expressively, and you are right, some of JB’s notes do sound a bit strained.
But I’m with Michael on the direction. Swinging all round the stalls and then swooping over the heads is too, too much. More cameras required if this was the only way to get a shot of the singers.
The roof is lit completely differently to the rest of the church, or more likely that camera isn’t aligned colour-wise with the rest, so it is suddenly brighter and more orange. And as for that shot looking down… the director cuts to it too early while the camera-man is just getting ready, so the start isn’t smooth, then it gives a horrible feeling of vertigo before it finally gives the shot you might actually want to see. Takes far too long to get there!
The whole things looks like a free-style with a team who aren’t properly tuned in, rather than the sort of worked-out, rehearsed, scripted camera shots and cut plan you might expect.
I didn’t say anything about the direction – that was Mr Firshman. The direction didn’t really bother me. In fact, now that you mention it, I found that it captured the space and the atmosphere quite well.
Thank you, NL, for posting this!
What a repulsive posting from Michael. Yuck.
Best version since when ?
Since Schwarzkopf, Seefried and HvK / Philharmonia which has never been matched
but it still brings tears to the eyes..
Schwarzkopf/Grümmer and Schwarzkopf/Jurinac with HvK, but Schwarzkopf/Seefried (1947) with Krips.
Sounds ok, but no chance against Popp/Fassbaender, Schwarzkopf/Seefried, Schwarzkopf/Grümmer, Popp/Hamari or Gruberova/Fassbaender.
I chose to just enjoy it – merci!
They can’t even sing in tune!
Strange that Engelbert Humperdinck did not win the Eurovision Song Contest.
Ach, missed it by one. I am viewer no 101.
I was going to take Petros’ advice and cover the browser after the vertigo began to kick in, but curiosity conquered me. The filmography is not great, and I agree with earlier comments – less sweeping shots and more spots on the soloists and players would have made a huge visual difference. The camera in the gods in particular invokes a sense of the floor falling out from under your feet which I find somewhat disturbing.
I feel that the tempo is too sluggish, but given the hall acoustic, increasing the tempo would make the music disappear into its own reverberation – which it marginally does in certain places. At face value, however, the overall sound is quite ethereal and stunning and the voices carry themselves beautifully over a well balanced orchestra.
It is important to remember that we are hearing everything through a multiple close-microphone array and not from a single focal point within the hall, so our experience is very different – and probably much clearer – to the audience’s. Somehow I fear that without the multichannel control offered by the microphones, the audience hears a sound far more swamped in the hall’s acoustic.
Thank you. Exquisite, and the moving camera accented the emotions, drawing us up from the dome into a sparkling firmament. I first saw Hansel and Gretel as a child, with puppets, and this beautiful music took me far from the rural farmland of home into a realm of music that has guided my musical life.
To everybody who is that kind of sweetness maybe Kienzl’s Evangelimann (“Selig sind, die Verfolgung leiden”) is the right thing to top the “Abendsegen”.
And meanwhile all love scenes and scene closing from Der Rosenkavalier…. As one musicologist wrote: why did Strauss after conceiving Salome and Elektra compose an even grander opera where every part ends with a folk tune….
Who directed this? Someone trying to outdo Hitchcock’s Vertigo? We saw the singers for at least 3 seconds. They surely won’t as bad looking as that! But that’s the modern producer’s job – try by all means to take our minds off the music.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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