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WAGNER: Tristan and Isolde
Ramon Vinay (Tristan). Martha Mödl (I(s0lde). Ira Malniu (Brangaena). Ludwig Weber (*Marke). Hans Hotter (Kurvenal). Hermann Uhde (Melot). Bayreutyh Festival Chorus and Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan, cond,
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 185 (three disks) TT: 3 hours 48:33
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BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3 in F, Op 90. DVORAK: Sytmphony No. 4 in G, Op. 88
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra / George Szell, cond.
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 644 TT: 67:00
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VERDI: Rigoletto
Ettore Bastianini (Righoletto). Renata Scoto Gi;da) Alfredo Kraus (The Duke of Mantua). Ivo Vinco (Sparafucile). Fiorenza Cossatto (Maddalena). Maggio Musicale Fiorentino / Gianandrea Gavazzeni, cond.)
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 184 (2 disks) TT: 1 hr. 59:23
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BERG: Four symhonic excerpts from Lulu. Konzertarie Der Wein. Three movements from Lyric Suite for Strings. Chamber Concerto for Violinm, Piano and thirteen Insttuments.
Bethany Beardslee, aoprano. Osrael Bakeer, violin. Pearl Kaufman, piano. Columbia Symphony Orchestra / Ribert Kraft, cond
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 646 TT: 75:26
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Herbert von Karajan's legendary July 23, 1952 Bayreuth performance of Tristan and Isolde has been issued on CD before on Deutsche Grammophon, but now has a new life in this splendid XR remastering by Andrew Rose. This was the opening of the "New Bayreuth," directed by the composer's grandsons, Wieland and Wolfgang, both of whom doubtless would be horrified by what happened to the Wagnerian tradition in years to follow. It is a truly memorable performance featuring the finest Wagnerian singers of the time. German soprano Marta Modl had a rich powerful sound, and her performances of many other Wagnerian operas as well as Strauss's Elektra, are available on disk. This performance was the first Baureuth appearance of Chilean tenor Ramon Vinay, a memorable debut indeed. This is grand opera at its very best, a welcome addition to the catalog. Don't forget the magnificent Pristine reissue of Tristan and Isolde conduted by Wilhelm Furtwängler, also available on Pristine

Here are welcome quality reissues of George Szell's first recordings with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Brahms and Dvorak symphonies were recorded September 3-4. 1951, produced by John Culshaw and engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson. Szell was a favorite in Amsterdam and later would make may superb stereo recordings for Phillips. While both of these symphonies are outstanding often exciting performances, audio on original recordings was surprisingly poor, far removed from the superb audio of later London/Decca recordings with Eduardo van Beinum made beginning in 1952 (for a complete Van Beinum discography, checkHERE. This Brahms/Dvorak disk is a welcome addition to the Szell discography.

This recoring of Rigoletto was a joint prdution between Meryry and Ricordi made in July 1960. It was highly praised at the time; there is no question that Ettore Bastianini and Alfredo Kraus are perffect in their roles, and conductor Gavazeeni's tempi are perfect. For me Renata Sotto's Gilda is disasppointing. Her sound suspect in pitch on occasion. Andrew Rose feels this is one of the best Rigolettos ever recorded and has one his best to with XS remastering to provide it in best possible audio. If you can tolerate Sotto's sound, check this out.

American conductor Robert Kraft (1923 - 2015) specialized in contemporary music and is best known for his long association with Igor Stravinsky. He wrote the libretti for The Flood and A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer, and often assisted Stravinsky in his Columbia recordings by preparing the orchestra. Here we have one of Kraft's major non-Stravinsky recordings, music of Alban Berg all recorded in 1960 with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Bethany Beardsley is soprano soloist in Der Wein. Of particular importance is the Chamber Concerto for violin (Israel Baker), piano (Pearl Kaufman) and Thirteen Wind Instruments. Kraft is an excellent conductor, and all of these performances are welcome additions to the catalog. Original stereo wa superb, reflected in Andrew Rose's XR rematering.

R.E.B. (December 2021)