Discussion:
An Odd "Ring Cycle" Question
(too old to reply)
Feuillade
2006-02-23 02:14:48 UTC
Permalink
Okay, I said this was odd.

There seems to be a general consensus (broadly speaking) about which
are the best Ring Cycles. Most people say Solti or Bohm, with Karajan
and/or one of the Furtwanglers getting a mention. Some put in a good
word for the Krauss.

But what *I* want to know is...

What's the *worst* Ring Cycle ever recorded? And why?

Excerpts doesn't count. We're talking all four opera, complete.

Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?

Tom Moran
a***@aol.com
2006-02-23 02:43:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
Okay, I said this was odd.
There seems to be a general consensus (broadly speaking) about which
are the best Ring Cycles. Most people say Solti or Bohm, with Karajan
and/or one of the Furtwanglers getting a mention. Some put in a good
word for the Krauss.
But what *I* want to know is...
What's the *worst* Ring Cycle ever recorded? And why?
Excerpts doesn't count. We're talking all four opera, complete.
Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?
Tom Moran
Probably the one I played on but it was a great, if slightly
unbelievable, experience and one I would not have missed for anything.

It is the Ring Cycle of 1968 conducted by Swarowsky. Long since dead I
think but once issued by Wetbild Classics with the errmm Grosses
Symphonieorchester - members of the Grosses orchestra were the Czech
Philharmonic and the National Theatre, Prague, neither of whom at the
time had ever played a complete Ring cycle in their lives.

The singers got more time than the orchestra. In Gotterdammerrung the
orchestra got just under two hours rehearsal ("We are just going to do
the difficult bits" as Maestro Swarowsky so eloquently put it. It was
his choice of the difficult bits).

Given that the orchestra were mostly sight reading for the recording it
isn't *that* bad but it will probably neatly fit into to the category
you mention unless the others were mostly sight reading as well. But I
loved it and it was a great experience.

Gerald McKee (American I think) was a great Siegfried.

The recording does, however, has it's magical moments:):) There's a
couple of wind passages where the Czech nature of the orchestra rings
out and, as google would say, momentarily Mr Wagner gets elbowed in the
ribs by Dvorak.

Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
(Bell Plate in the Siegfried forging bits among other things (no
rehearsal). That was at sight, although in fairness I had played the
part once before.
Bob Harper
2006-02-23 03:05:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@aol.com
Post by Feuillade
Okay, I said this was odd.
There seems to be a general consensus (broadly speaking) about which
are the best Ring Cycles. Most people say Solti or Bohm, with Karajan
and/or one of the Furtwanglers getting a mention. Some put in a good
word for the Krauss.
But what *I* want to know is...
What's the *worst* Ring Cycle ever recorded? And why?
Excerpts doesn't count. We're talking all four opera, complete.
Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?
Tom Moran
Probably the one I played on but it was a great, if slightly
unbelievable, experience and one I would not have missed for anything.
It is the Ring Cycle of 1968 conducted by Swarowsky. Long since dead I
think but once issued by Wetbild Classics with the errmm Grosses
Symphonieorchester - members of the Grosses orchestra were the Czech
Philharmonic and the National Theatre, Prague, neither of whom at the
time had ever played a complete Ring cycle in their lives.
The singers got more time than the orchestra. In Gotterdammerrung the
orchestra got just under two hours rehearsal ("We are just going to do
the difficult bits" as Maestro Swarowsky so eloquently put it. It was
his choice of the difficult bits).
Given that the orchestra were mostly sight reading for the recording it
isn't *that* bad but it will probably neatly fit into to the category
you mention unless the others were mostly sight reading as well. But I
loved it and it was a great experience.
Gerald McKee (American I think) was a great Siegfried.
The recording does, however, has it's magical moments:):) There's a
couple of wind passages where the Czech nature of the orchestra rings
out and, as google would say, momentarily Mr Wagner gets elbowed in the
ribs by Dvorak.
Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.
Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
(Bell Plate in the Siegfried forging bits among other things (no
rehearsal). That was at sight, although in fairness I had played the
part once before.
Alan,

A great story, as usual. Keep 'em coming.

Bob Harper
a***@aol.com
2006-02-23 03:37:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Harper
A great story, as usual. Keep 'em coming.
Bob Harper
If you ever come across this recording just go for the Siegfried - it
will be bin end:):)

About a minute into Wo hast du nun, Mime, dein immiges Weibchen Act One
there is a woodwind interjection which (I hope) will plant you firmly
back in the arms of Rusalka:):) Whatever the price in the bin end it's
worth it for that.

As a finished product it's crap but that's pretty good sight reading by
the boys and girls. I love it!

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Matthew B. Tepper
2006-02-23 05:34:54 UTC
Permalink
"***@aol.com" <***@aol.com> appears to have caused the
following letters to be typed in news:1140662622.100000.259350
Post by a***@aol.com
Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.
To save money?

US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. ~ FDR (attrib.)
Steven de Mena
2006-02-23 05:44:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
following letters to be typed in news:1140662622.100000.259350
Post by a***@aol.com
Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.
To save money?
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
I had not thought of those LPs for years, but the second you mentioned the
covers they came back to me like it was yesterday.

Steve
William Sommerwerck
2006-02-23 12:19:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the
infamous Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs.
They were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding
up a pair of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young
woman in a soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
I remember only the first two covers. Regardless, it sounds as if more wit
went into the packaging than the performance!

WG had all sorts of weird covers. I guess they were trying to attract new
listeners with a "we don't take this too seriously" attitude. Crossroads
(Columbia's licensed Supraphon recordings) also had comic covers, though not
so off-the-wall as WG.
Matthew B. Tepper
2006-02-23 15:53:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by William Sommerwerck
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the
infamous Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover
photographs. They were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a
woman holding up a pair of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young
man and a young woman in a soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a
cookie.
I remember only the first two covers. Regardless, it sounds as if more
wit went into the packaging than the performance!
WG had all sorts of weird covers. I guess they were trying to attract
new listeners with a "we don't take this too seriously" attitude.
Crossroads (Columbia's licensed Supraphon recordings) also had comic
covers, though not so off-the-wall as WG.
Oh, I liked the Crossroads cover (for an LP of Dvorak chamber music?) with
a romantic young couple having just carved their initials into the trunk of
a tree. Except that instead of a tree trunk, it's the leg of a gigantic,
and very pissed-off, bird.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. ~ FDR (attrib.)
D***@aol.com
2006-02-24 23:52:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.

Don Tait
Richard Loeb
2006-02-24 23:59:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.
Don Tait
Actually the sound of the Swarosky was better on the CDs - and Kniplova
sounds worlds better on the RAI Sawallisch Ring that Mike Richter has on his
Wagner CD Rom and is now being issued absurdly overpriced by MYTO. I recall
Fanfare magazine as putting that Ring in some kind of Hall of Fame because
of the circumstances of the recording - the Czech-Russian business was going
on and the orchestra personnel kept changing Richard
a***@aol.com
2006-02-25 00:39:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.
Don Tait
Actually the sound of the Swarosky was better on the CDs - and Kniplova
sounds worlds better on the RAI Sawallisch Ring that Mike Richter has on his
Wagner CD Rom and is now being issued absurdly overpriced by MYTO. I recall
Fanfare magazine as putting that Ring in some kind of Hall of Fame because
of the circumstances of the recording - the Czech-Russian business was going
on and the orchestra personnel kept changing Richard
But that is a fable, Richard. An Urban Myth. Yes, the Czech-Russian
situation was going on and we lost some string players and one horn
player and a harpist (we came with three for Gotterdammerung which is
half the "official" requirement) but, contrary to the fable, no
Austrian/German orchestral musicians were drafted in to replace them.

We just soldiered on without them. The whole sorry mess is entirely
down to an amalgam of the Czech Phil and the National Theatre, Prague.
We cannot blame anyone else:):)


We soldiered on with with what were left.

I still think that Gerald McKee was a half decent Siegfried but this
may be down to a couple of conversations after we both discovered we
spoke English. "This is a God-awful mess isn't it?" Mr McKee said.
When I nodded enthusiastically he added: "But's it kinda fun isn't it?"

But do try Act I Scene I if you ever get the chance "Wo hast do
nun......" where the oboe solo (the late Ladislav Krecek) briefly
signifies a rather pallid Rusalka wandering on stage and saying: "Oops,
wrong opera" and departing with a little wave: "Sorry,
everyone........"

Kinda fun, as Mr McKee said.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Richard Loeb
2006-02-25 01:49:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@aol.com
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.
Don Tait
Actually the sound of the Swarosky was better on the CDs - and Kniplova
sounds worlds better on the RAI Sawallisch Ring that Mike Richter has on his
Wagner CD Rom and is now being issued absurdly overpriced by MYTO. I recall
Fanfare magazine as putting that Ring in some kind of Hall of Fame because
of the circumstances of the recording - the Czech-Russian business was going
on and the orchestra personnel kept changing Richard
But that is a fable, Richard. An Urban Myth. Yes, the Czech-Russian
situation was going on and we lost some string players and one horn
player and a harpist (we came with three for Gotterdammerung which is
half the "official" requirement) but, contrary to the fable, no
Austrian/German orchestral musicians were drafted in to replace them.
We just soldiered on without them. The whole sorry mess is entirely
down to an amalgam of the Czech Phil and the National Theatre, Prague.
We cannot blame anyone else:):)
We soldiered on with with what were left.
I still think that Gerald McKee was a half decent Siegfried but this
may be down to a couple of conversations after we both discovered we
spoke English. "This is a God-awful mess isn't it?" Mr McKee said.
When I nodded enthusiastically he added: "But's it kinda fun isn't it?"
But do try Act I Scene I if you ever get the chance "Wo hast do
nun......" where the oboe solo (the late Ladislav Krecek) briefly
signifies a rather pallid Rusalka wandering on stage and saying: "Oops,
wrong opera" and departing with a little wave: "Sorry,
everyone........"
Kinda fun, as Mr McKee said.
Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Fascinating!!!! thanks for the inof best Richard
Richard Loeb
2006-02-25 01:49:33 UTC
Permalink
Of course I meant info Richard
Post by a***@aol.com
Post by Richard Loeb
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.
Don Tait
Actually the sound of the Swarosky was better on the CDs - and Kniplova
sounds worlds better on the RAI Sawallisch Ring that Mike Richter has on his
Wagner CD Rom and is now being issued absurdly overpriced by MYTO. I recall
Fanfare magazine as putting that Ring in some kind of Hall of Fame because
of the circumstances of the recording - the Czech-Russian business was going
on and the orchestra personnel kept changing Richard
But that is a fable, Richard. An Urban Myth. Yes, the Czech-Russian
situation was going on and we lost some string players and one horn
player and a harpist (we came with three for Gotterdammerung which is
half the "official" requirement) but, contrary to the fable, no
Austrian/German orchestral musicians were drafted in to replace them.
We just soldiered on without them. The whole sorry mess is entirely
down to an amalgam of the Czech Phil and the National Theatre, Prague.
We cannot blame anyone else:):)
We soldiered on with with what were left.
I still think that Gerald McKee was a half decent Siegfried but this
may be down to a couple of conversations after we both discovered we
spoke English. "This is a God-awful mess isn't it?" Mr McKee said.
When I nodded enthusiastically he added: "But's it kinda fun isn't it?"
But do try Act I Scene I if you ever get the chance "Wo hast do
nun......" where the oboe solo (the late Ladislav Krecek) briefly
signifies a rather pallid Rusalka wandering on stage and saying: "Oops,
wrong opera" and departing with a little wave: "Sorry,
everyone........"
Kinda fun, as Mr McKee said.
Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Richard Loeb
2006-02-25 00:01:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Weren't those neat? The fake Volkswagen hupcaps as breastplates and
"the cookie crumbles" for Gotterdammerung almost made them worth buying
just for the covers.
Don Tait
Of course. the worst Ring cycle ever released was the infamous Allegro Ring
cycle of the early 1950s. Richard
Kimba W. Lion
2006-02-25 00:47:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
US collectors of my age will remember this Ring's release on the infamous
Westminster Gold label, with incredibly silly cover photographs. They
were, in order: Three dripping wet young women; a woman holding up a pair
of Volkswagon logos as breastplates; a young man and a young woman in a
soft-focus embrace; and a hand crumbling a cookie.
Westminster Gold 8175 through 8178. You can see two of those covers at
westminstergold.com. (I'm still looking for the other two.)

WG also had a "selections from" The Ring album, 8130, with Steinberg
conducting. Worth a look.
D***@aol.com
2006-02-24 23:16:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@aol.com
Post by Feuillade
Okay, I said this was odd.
There seems to be a general consensus (broadly speaking) about which
are the best Ring Cycles.
But what *I* want to know is...
What's the *worst* Ring Cycle ever recorded? And why?
Tom Moran
Probably the one I played on but it was a great, if slightly
unbelievable, experience and one I would not have missed for anything.
It is the Ring Cycle of 1968 conducted by Swarowsky. Long since dead I
think but once issued by Wetbild Classics with the errmm Grosses
Symphonieorchester - members of the Grosses orchestra were the Czech
Philharmonic and the National Theatre, Prague, neither of whom at the
time had ever played a complete Ring cycle in their lives.
The singers got more time than the orchestra. In Gotterdammerrung the
orchestra got just under two hours rehearsal ("We are just going to do
the difficult bits" as Maestro Swarowsky so eloquently put it. It was
his choice of the difficult bits).
Given that the orchestra were mostly sight reading for the recording it
isn't *that* bad but it will probably neatly fit into to the category
you mention unless the others were mostly sight reading as well. But I
loved it and it was a great experience.
Gerald McKee (American I think) was a great Siegfried.
The recording does, however, has it's magical moments:):) There's a
couple of wind passages where the Czech nature of the orchestra rings
out and, as google would say, momentarily Mr Wagner gets elbowed in the
ribs by Dvorak.
Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.
Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
A marvellous story! Thank you. A friend who died last year was an
intense lover of Wagner and did his best to own every Wagner recording
possible, especially of the complete works. He bought that Ring
immediately and would have loved to know those details.

This reminds me of John Culshaw's account in his memoir "Putting the
Record Straight" of making some of the early LP complete opera sets for
Decca conducted by Alberto Erede. Culshaw confessed that they sometimes
weren't prepared very meticulously and recalled that before starting a
long, only semi-rehearsed take Erede waved to everyone and said "bon
voyage!"

Don Tait
a***@aol.com
2006-02-24 23:34:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by D***@aol.com
A marvellous story! Thank you. A friend who died last year was an
intense lover of Wagner and did his best to own every Wagner recording
possible, especially of the complete works. He bought that Ring
immediately and would have loved to know those details.
This reminds me of John Culshaw's account in his memoir "Putting the
Record Straight" of making some of the early LP complete opera sets for
Decca conducted by Alberto Erede. Culshaw confessed that they sometimes
weren't prepared very meticulously and recalled that before starting a
long, only semi-rehearsed take Erede waved to everyone and said "bon
voyage!"
Don Tait
The funniest thing to me (and it's not meant as a knock but just as an
observation) is that Swarowsky was a famed teacher of conducting (I
think) and I have certainly read that quite a number of very well known
conductors list themselves as being one of his students on their
"biog".

Well, we didn't think he was that great as a conductor:):) He varied
between behind the beat or ahead of it and you never knew what was
coming next.

Some of the playing is okay, given the circumstances, but it's
obviously not going to be up to people properly rehearsed.

LOL to Bon Voyage! At least he had a sense of humour.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Praetorius
2006-02-25 18:45:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@aol.com
The funniest thing to me (and it's not meant as a knock but just as an
observation) is that Swarowsky was a famed teacher of conducting (I
think) and I have certainly read that quite a number of very well known
conductors list themselves as being one of his students on their
"biog".
[snip]
Some of his more illustrious pupils: Claudio Abbado, Jesús López-Cobos,
Adam and Iván Fischer, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Giuseppe Sinopoli
and Bruno Weil. Hans Swarowsky (Budapest 1899 -1975 Salzburg) was
an excellent teacher. There is the Hans Swarowsky International
Conductors Competition, held in Vienna, and there is/was an Orchestra
Sinfonica "Hans Swarowsky" founded in 1989 (see
http://www.orchestraswarowsky.com/). Swarowsky studied theory with
both Schoenberg and Webern in Vienna (and conducting with Strauss
and Weingartner).

But, his recorded legacy (with a few exceptions) does not appear to reflect
a great conductor. Or was he just the victim of bad orchestras, lack of
rehearsal time [e.g. the Saint-Saëns 3rd with the "Vienna Philharmusica"/
Vienna State Opera Orchestra] and/or just bad luck?

As I 've indicated before, among the exceptions IMO are his recordings of
Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande coupled with Webern's Passacaglia
for Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic (rec. June 5-7, 1973) --
re-issued
on Supraphon "Crystal Collection" CD 11 0663-2 (which includes the
Richard Baker/Neumann/CzPh Chorus/CzPO Schoenberg "A Survivor
from Warsaw").

Frank Decolvenaere
To reply by e-mail, replace NMBR with 1612.

"You are no bigger than
the things that annoy you."
Jerry Bundsen
Matthew B. Tepper
2006-02-25 20:01:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Praetorius
As I 've indicated before, among the exceptions IMO are his recordings of
Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande coupled with Webern's Passacaglia
for Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic (rec. June 5-7, 1973) --
re-issued on Supraphon "Crystal Collection"
Oooh, oooh, oooh, don't call it that! Peter Christ (who appears to take
his surname very seriously) will only sue to suppress it again!
Post by Praetorius
CD 11 0663-2 (which includes the Richard Baker/Neumann/CzPh Chorus/CzPO
Schoenberg "A Survivor from Warsaw").
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. ~ FDR (attrib.)
a***@aol.com
2006-02-25 21:26:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Praetorius
Some of his more illustrious pupils: Claudio Abbado, Jesús López-Cobos,
Adam and Iván Fischer, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Giuseppe Sinopoli
and Bruno Weil. Hans Swarowsky (Budapest 1899 -1975 Salzburg) was
an excellent teacher. There is the Hans Swarowsky International
Conductors Competition, held in Vienna, and there is/was an Orchestra
Sinfonica "Hans Swarowsky" founded in 1989 (see
http://www.orchestraswarowsky.com/). Swarowsky studied theory with
both Schoenberg and Webern in Vienna (and conducting with Strauss
and Weingartner).
But, his recorded legacy (with a few exceptions) does not appear to reflect
a great conductor. Or was he just the victim of bad orchestras, lack of
rehearsal time [e.g. the Saint-Saëns 3rd with the "Vienna Philharmusica"/
Vienna State Opera Orchestra] and/or just bad luck?
As I 've indicated before, among the exceptions IMO are his recordings of
Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande coupled with Webern's Passacaglia
for Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic (rec. June 5-7, 1973) --
re-issued
on Supraphon "Crystal Collection" CD 11 0663-2 (which includes the
Richard Baker/Neumann/CzPh Chorus/CzPO Schoenberg "A Survivor
from Warsaw").
Frank Decolvenaere
Again, thanks to you. I didn't know all those names although of course
I knew he had a great reputation as a teacher.

In fairness to him, no one (in my opinion) could have rescued the
chaotic situation and overall I think he did a pretty good job. I
think some of that Ring cycle does have a musical personality but the
odds were just stacked against it. Nadezda Kniplova was a very
experienced singer whom I had worked with before.

I think you are possibly right about his recording "ventures". I think
he rarely got proper rehearsal time so on those recordings where he
does achieve something are probably greatly to his credit.

In the early days of budget LPs he turned up on all sorts of things
(although often not him, apparently) with orchestras with spurious
names - this was the "cash on the door" era: sometimes a recording with
no rehearsal at all. Just straight into it. The people behind these
pirates took the mickey: I remember one LP which I acquired in a job
lot of 50 recordings for £5 (I was about 15 and am now 64) where the
conductor was stated to be Wilhelm Haveaguess.

I also agree about the Pelleas recording. I have the Supraphon
recording (another victim of the cull, I think) and that is a good
performance. He would have had adequate rehearsal time for that.

Some of the orchestra had encountered Mr Swarowsky before but not that
many. Eventually we "got" him but a "strange" conductor and very
little rehearsal is not usually a good combination especially when
mixed with Wagner.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
Michael Schaffer
2006-03-05 04:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@aol.com
Post by Feuillade
Okay, I said this was odd.
There seems to be a general consensus (broadly speaking) about which
are the best Ring Cycles. Most people say Solti or Bohm, with Karajan
and/or one of the Furtwanglers getting a mention. Some put in a good
word for the Krauss.
But what *I* want to know is...
What's the *worst* Ring Cycle ever recorded? And why?
Excerpts doesn't count. We're talking all four opera, complete.
Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?
Tom Moran
Probably the one I played on but it was a great, if slightly
unbelievable, experience and one I would not have missed for anything.
It is the Ring Cycle of 1968 conducted by Swarowsky. Long since dead I
think but once issued by Wetbild Classics with the errmm Grosses
Symphonieorchester - members of the Grosses orchestra were the Czech
Philharmonic and the National Theatre, Prague, neither of whom at the
time had ever played a complete Ring cycle in their lives.
The singers got more time than the orchestra. In Gotterdammerrung the
orchestra got just under two hours rehearsal ("We are just going to do
the difficult bits" as Maestro Swarowsky so eloquently put it. It was
his choice of the difficult bits).
Given that the orchestra were mostly sight reading for the recording it
isn't *that* bad but it will probably neatly fit into to the category
you mention unless the others were mostly sight reading as well. But I
loved it and it was a great experience.
Gerald McKee (American I think) was a great Siegfried.
The recording does, however, has it's magical moments:):) There's a
couple of wind passages where the Czech nature of the orchestra rings
out and, as google would say, momentarily Mr Wagner gets elbowed in the
ribs by Dvorak.
Great fun anyway. No idea why they did it with virtually no rehearsal
for the orchestra.
Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
(Bell Plate in the Siegfried forging bits among other things (no
rehearsal). That was at sight, although in fairness I had played the
part once before.
Did you play the timpani in Siegfried's Trauermarsch? I just listened
to that excerpt from Götterdämmerung with some friends, and the
timpani was quite prominent in the climaxes. Was that you?

Stephen Worth
2006-02-23 08:34:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?
For conducting... Levine.

See ya
Steve
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w***@comcast.net
2006-02-23 12:26:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Worth
Post by Feuillade
Who wins the prize for the worst Ring Cycle?
For conducting... Levine.
Not if you've ever heard the Swarowsky.

Bill
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