Discussion:
Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream
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Andy Evans
2019-09-20 08:59:31 UTC
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Bringing this thread up due to hearing a dire Overture on my car radio which I assumed to be some provincial orchestra but turned out to be VPO/Thielemann. Shocking! I imprinted on the excellent Philadelphia/Ormandy which is on YT in a crackly recording:


So looking for recordings with charm and the kind of magic the subject deserves.
s***@nycap.rr.com
2019-09-20 17:54:03 UTC
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Have you ever heard anything by Thielemann that you liked? I can’t say I ever have.

MIFrost
Frank Berger
2019-09-20 18:30:54 UTC
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Post by s***@nycap.rr.com
Have you ever heard anything by Thielemann that you liked? I can’t say I ever have.
MIFrost
It must be that he is not thought highly of in RMCR. Most of my
acquisitions have come from recommendations here and elsewhere and out
of my > 10,000 CDs I have exactly one conducted by Thielmann. That's a
collection of arias sung by Thomas Quasthoff. I think I had another one
that I got rid of.
Andy Evans
2019-09-21 13:33:12 UTC
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I've been listening to a few Overtures from MND on YT and the two that stand out are Klemperer and Maag. Both are very individual readings with plenty of interesting detail. Too many versions just play right through the overture without moulding it to bring out more of facets of this imaginative score.
Alex Brown
2019-09-21 14:06:17 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
I've been listening to a few Overtures from MND on YT and the two that stand out are Klemperer and Maag. Both are very individual readings with plenty of interesting detail. Too many versions just play right through the overture without moulding it to bring out more of facets of this imaginative score.
If you like moulded, seek out Celibidache ...
--
- Alex Brown
y***@gmail.com
2019-09-24 00:44:59 UTC
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Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.

A more recent choice is the Virgin disc with John Nelson. It features the complete score and passages from the Shakespeare text read by a company of actors. (These two recordings are in English by the way.)
c***@gmail.com
2019-09-24 01:49:47 UTC
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Post by y***@gmail.com
Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.
A more recent choice is the Virgin disc with John Nelson. It features the complete score and passages from the Shakespeare text read by a company of actors. (These two recordings are in English by the way.)
I like Ádám Fischer's recording with the Hungarian State Orchestra, which is enhanced by the presence of Magda Kalmár. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nGgM7tFArKAuwS8FwSOSuqMqACAhe5D20

AC
drh8h
2019-10-05 12:00:20 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by y***@gmail.com
Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.
A more recent choice is the Virgin disc with John Nelson. It features the complete score and passages from the Shakespeare text read by a company of actors. (These two recordings are in English by the way.)
I like Ádám Fischer's recording with the Hungarian State Orchestra, which is enhanced by the presence of Magda Kalmár. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nGgM7tFArKAuwS8FwSOSuqMqACAhe5D20
AC
There was a fine early digital recording by Andrew Litton. Don't recall the orchestra. I should try to get Ozawa. This is music that I suspect would suit him well. Toscanini set a very high standard for what music of this he recorded, but most will be put off by the sound, although the recent Immortal Performances restoration of a live performance is quite good. Amongst the "classics," Fricsay, Kubelik and Klemperer all have their points. Szell obviously loved some of music, as he recorded it three times, but sometimes his persnicketiness shows.

DH
RANDY WOLFGANG
2019-10-05 13:28:57 UTC
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Post by drh8h
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by y***@gmail.com
Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.
A more recent choice is the Virgin disc with John Nelson. It features the complete score and passages from the Shakespeare text read by a company of actors. (These two recordings are in English by the way.)
I like Ádám Fischer's recording with the Hungarian State Orchestra, which is enhanced by the presence of Magda Kalmár. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nGgM7tFArKAuwS8FwSOSuqMqACAhe5D20
AC
There was a fine early digital recording by Andrew Litton. Don't recall the orchestra. I should try to get Ozawa. This is music that I suspect would suit him well. Toscanini set a very high standard for what music of this he recorded, but most will be put off by the sound, although the recent Immortal Performances restoration of a live performance is quite good. Amongst the "classics," Fricsay, Kubelik and Klemperer all have their points. Szell obviously loved some of music, as he recorded it three times, but sometimes his persnicketiness shows.
DH
Maag on Decca - pure magic
Bob Harper
2019-10-05 17:25:04 UTC
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Post by RANDY WOLFGANG
Post by drh8h
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by y***@gmail.com
Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.
A more recent choice is the Virgin disc with John Nelson. It features the complete score and passages from the Shakespeare text read by a company of actors. (These two recordings are in English by the way.)
I like Ádám Fischer's recording with the Hungarian State Orchestra, which is enhanced by the presence of Magda Kalmár. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nGgM7tFArKAuwS8FwSOSuqMqACAhe5D20
AC
There was a fine early digital recording by Andrew Litton. Don't recall the orchestra. I should try to get Ozawa. This is music that I suspect would suit him well. Toscanini set a very high standard for what music of this he recorded, but most will be put off by the sound, although the recent Immortal Performances restoration of a live performance is quite good. Amongst the "classics," Fricsay, Kubelik and Klemperer all have their points. Szell obviously loved some of music, as he recorded it three times, but sometimes his persnicketiness shows.
DH
Maag on Decca - pure magic
Yes!

Bob Harper
Johannes Roehl
2019-10-06 10:45:44 UTC
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Post by y***@gmail.com
Can anyone please advise best recordings, musically, of the above and not
just the overture?
I have the Fricsay excerpts for reference.
Cheers
Craig W
Has anyone mentioned Ozawa's DG disc with Battle, von Stade and Dench yet? I know it isn't the complete score, but it presents a substantial chunk of the music laced with Shakespeare's text. Ozawa's conducting is affectionate and light-touch.
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and another one or two I have. Battle/Von Stade are wonderful in the Lullaby and I think Dench does a very good job with the narration which is an acceptable substitute for having a bunch of actors. The English version is probably also a bonus for many listeners although Mendelssohn composed the Schlegel? translation.

A very interesting curiosity is Korngold's score for a movie that uses a lot of other Mendelssohn as well. I think there is a recording on cpo.
Mark Obert-Thorn
2019-10-06 13:00:12 UTC
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Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and another one or two I have.
I think the one below is probably the most complete version ever -- Sargent's 1954 BBC SO recording, with all of the music performed in the context of an almost complete performance of the play (with Moira Shearer, Stanley Holloway and Patrick Macnee in the cast):

https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/paco133?_pos=5&_sid=03d394a8d&_ss=r

Mark O-T
s***@gmail.com
2019-10-06 22:28:13 UTC
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Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and another one or two I have.
https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/paco133?_pos=5&_sid=03d394a8d&_ss=r
Mark O-T
Jeffrey Tate and the Rotterdam Philharmonic recorded a two disc set of Midsummer Night's Dream with the Peter Hall Company, released on EMI and Brilliant. Jaime Laredo also recorded a two disc set with actors and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Nimbus. I have not followed along with the text, so I cannot swear that each has the complete play and music. The spoken voices are somewhat below the volume of the music. (BTW, I don't care for either.)

If I want to listen to the play itself, I go to the Caedmon version, which was released on CD. Some day I will pull the Argo version out of the Shakespeare box. For the Mendelssohn, I second the recommendation for Litton and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the Eminence box. I also like Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos with the New Philharmonia Orchestra on Eloquence. There are fourteen tracks for Midsummer Night's Dream on the CD, along with two overtures under Ansermet.

There is an audio book quality to Judi Dench's narration for Ozawa. If I want to hear Midsummer Night's Dream with some dialogue, I listen to the Nelson recording, which I find magical. I would like to listen to Sargent's 1954 BBC SO recording, but I was once burned at the Pristine Classical site. I was looking for the recording of Mendelssohn's Symphony #3 and #5 under Mitropoulos. The audio sample was corrupted: it made an extremely high pitched shrieking noise. My ears rang for days. I wrote to Mr. Rose, who was rather nonchalant about my experience. (I was told that the dangerous clip had been replaced, but I can't bring myself to listen to the transfers on the site.)

Eric
RANDY WOLFGANG
2019-10-07 04:01:22 UTC
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Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and another one or two I have.
https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/paco133?_pos=5&_sid=03d394a8d&_ss=r
Mark O-T
Jeffrey Tate and the Rotterdam Philharmonic recorded a two disc set of Midsummer Night's Dream with the Peter Hall Company, released on EMI and Brilliant. Jaime Laredo also recorded a two disc set with actors and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Nimbus. I have not followed along with the text, so I cannot swear that each has the complete play and music. The spoken voices are somewhat below the volume of the music. (BTW, I don't care for either.)
If I want to listen to the play itself, I go to the Caedmon version, which was released on CD. Some day I will pull the Argo version out of the Shakespeare box. For the Mendelssohn, I second the recommendation for Litton and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the Eminence box. I also like Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos with the New Philharmonia Orchestra on Eloquence. There are fourteen tracks for Midsummer Night's Dream on the CD, along with two overtures under Ansermet.
There is an audio book quality to Judi Dench's narration for Ozawa. If I want to hear Midsummer Night's Dream with some dialogue, I listen to the Nelson recording, which I find magical. I would like to listen to Sargent's 1954 BBC SO recording, but I was once burned at the Pristine Classical site. I was looking for the recording of Mendelssohn's Symphony #3 and #5 under Mitropoulos. The audio sample was corrupted: it made an extremely high pitched shrieking noise. My ears rang for days. I wrote to Mr. Rose, who was rather nonchalant about my experience. (I was told that the dangerous clip had been replaced, but I can't bring myself to listen to the transfers on the site.)
Eric
I find the Caedmon version far more theatrical and lively than the ARGO. I wish someone would issue all of the Caedmon Shakespeare on CD. I find the direction by Howard Sackler much more interesting than the rather staid ARGO sets.
s***@gmail.com
2019-10-07 14:18:40 UTC
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Post by RANDY WOLFGANG
I find the Caedmon version far more theatrical and lively than the ARGO. I wish someone would issue all of the Caedmon Shakespeare on CD. I find the direction by Howard Sackler much more interesting than the rather staid ARGO sets.
Yes, Argo is staid, which is why I am moving very slowly through the box. The Caedmon is much more involved, with many great actors. I realized what was at stake and bought all the plays that Harper Collins put out when they were released.

The actors of the Marlowe Society usually do have a sense of poetry and word meaning, which seems to go missing in more recent recordings and films of Shakespeare, at least the ones I've seen or heard. The actors have a generalized sense of what might be happening in a scene, but the words themselves seem to go for naught. On occasion I have had to use Naxos recordings so that my Brazilian students keep moving their eyes on the page when reading Shakespeare, but the presentations never seem "deep" or "felt" to me. There may be exceptions.
RANDY WOLFGANG
2019-10-07 17:38:56 UTC
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Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by RANDY WOLFGANG
I find the Caedmon version far more theatrical and lively than the ARGO. I wish someone would issue all of the Caedmon Shakespeare on CD. I find the direction by Howard Sackler much more interesting than the rather staid ARGO sets.
Yes, Argo is staid, which is why I am moving very slowly through the box. The Caedmon is much more involved, with many great actors. I realized what was at stake and bought all the plays that Harper Collins put out when they were released.
The actors of the Marlowe Society usually do have a sense of poetry and word meaning, which seems to go missing in more recent recordings and films of Shakespeare, at least the ones I've seen or heard. The actors have a generalized sense of what might be happening in a scene, but the words themselves seem to go for naught. On occasion I have had to use Naxos recordings so that my Brazilian students keep moving their eyes on the page when reading Shakespeare, but the presentations never seem "deep" or "felt" to me. There may be exceptions.
I dont know why Harper Collins is dragging their feet on this - many of the Caedmon Shakespeare are on Audible but they are in MONO which negates many of Sacklers wonderful theatrical effects. There is another complete Shakespeare series with current actors on Arkangel but I haven't heard any of them
O
2019-10-07 16:50:05 UTC
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Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's
certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and
another one or two I have.
I think the one below is probably the most complete version ever -- Sargent's
1954 BBC SO recording, with all of the music performed in the context of an
almost complete performance of the play (with Moira Shearer, Stanley Holloway
Patrick Macnee, but no Mrs. Peel? :-)

-Owen
Frank Berger
2019-10-07 17:29:31 UTC
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Post by O
Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's
certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and
another one or two I have.
I think the one below is probably the most complete version ever -- Sargent's
1954 BBC SO recording, with all of the music performed in the context of an
almost complete performance of the play (with Moira Shearer, Stanley Holloway
Patrick Macnee, but no Mrs. Peel? :-)
-Owen
The wonderful Diana Rigg was about 16 years old in 1954. But she played
Helena in a 1968 film of MSND. It also lso included Derek Godfrey, Ian
Holm, Helen Mirren, David Warner and Judi Dench. Not well received
critically apparently.

Ms. Rigg is still working at 81. That's more than I can say for me (at
almost 72).
number_six
2019-10-07 18:27:11 UTC
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Post by O
Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's
certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and
another one or two I have.
I think the one below is probably the most complete version ever -- Sargent's
1954 BBC SO recording, with all of the music performed in the context of an
almost complete performance of the play (with Moira Shearer, Stanley Holloway
Patrick Macnee, but no Mrs. Peel? :-)
-Owen
The wonderful Diana Rigg was about 16 years old in 1954.  But she played
Helena in a 1968 film of MSND.  It also lso included Derek Godfrey, Ian
Holm, Helen Mirren, David Warner and Judi Dench.  Not well received
critically apparently.
Ms. Rigg is still working at 81.  That's more than I can say for me (at
almost 72).
For some reason a film with Ms. Rigg that I haven't seen for I don't
know how many year popped into my head. A very dark comedy with George
C. Scott called "The Hospital." A comedy about a failing marriage,
impotence, suicidal thoughts, a failing hospital and murders. What more
could you want?
The last act didn't fully live up to the setup, IMO, but this is still a quality script by Chayevsky, and Scott and Rigg are both superb. Agree it's very sardonic, dark, and memorable. Circa 1971 -- a great year for film.
Bob Harper
2019-10-08 00:54:52 UTC
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Post by O
Post by Mark Obert-Thorn
Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's
certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and
another one or two I have.
I think the one below is probably the most complete version ever -- Sargent's
1954 BBC SO recording, with all of the music performed in the context of an
almost complete performance of the play (with Moira Shearer, Stanley Holloway
Patrick Macnee, but no Mrs. Peel? :-)
-Owen
The wonderful Diana Rigg was about 16 years old in 1954.  But she played
Helena in a 1968 film of MSND.  It also lso included Derek Godfrey, Ian
Holm, Helen Mirren, David Warner and Judi Dench.  Not well received
critically apparently.
I have seen it, and in all honesty it was not very good.

Bob Harper
Ms. Rigg is still working at 81.  That's more than I can say for me (at
almost 72).
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