In celebration of Christa Ludwig’s 90th birthday March 16th 2018, a Limited 12-CD Edition celebrates her impressive mezzo voice, displayed in excerpts from Bach’s sacred works, operas by Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and Strauss; as well as Schubert Lieder; Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder” and “Das Lied von der Erde”; and Bernstein conducting Bernstein. The collection also includes for the first time internationally on CD a witty and endearing interview of Ms. Ludwig discussing the conductors.
Karl Bohm’s name carries with it immense respect among musicians and connoisseurs in our most sophisticated markets, particularly for opera where his “gods” were Mozart, Wagner and Richard Strauss. Deutsche Grammophon proudly brings together for the first time his complete vocal recordings for the label – including the star-studded 1968 ‘Le nozze di Figaro’; the legendary ‘Zauberflöte’ from 1964 with Fritz Wunderlich and Roberta Peters; Bohm’s two recordings of the ‘Missa solemnis’, two Rosenkavaliers, three recordings of Ariadne auf Naxos, Wagner’s Hollander & Tristan … and one disc of new-to-CD recordings. Beautiful packaging and presentation.
Between 1999 and 2006, the legendary baroque music specialist Ton Koopman brought together a stunning array of singers to record the complete cantatas of J.S. Bach alongside his own Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir. Released originally mostly in 3-CD sets, this wonderful cycle is available in its entirety. The 67 separate CDs have now been gathered together in a box with a booklet that includes a complete tracklisting and information about each recording.
This is a very satisfying account of ‘Die Zauberflöte‘, principally on account of Böhm’s handling of the score. He inspires the Berlin Philharmonic to convey a Masonic ‘gravitas’ which is in keeping with the philosophy of Enlightenment Reason which lurks behind the pantomime elements of this unusual work. You will certainly find deliberate speeds here, which may not be to your taste if you like fleet, revisionist, original-instrument Mozart. Vocally it’s the women in this recording that have had a bad press: but Evelyn Lear has some lovely tones in her voice even if there are occasions when Pamina’s music presents her with challenges.