GRIEG:  En Drøm, Op. 48 No. 6.  Tak for dit råd, Op. 21 No. 4. Våren, Op. 33 No. 2.  Fra Monte Pincio, Op. 39 No. 1.  Guten, Op. 33 No. 1.  Eros, Op. 70 No. 1.  Ved Rondane, Op. 33 No. 9.  En svane, Op. 25 No. 2.  Den saerde, Op. 33 No. 3. Med en vandilje, Op. 25 No. 4.  Prinsessen.  DÿRUMSGAARD:  Regn, Op. 6 No. 2.  Salme, Op. 5 No. 2.  Kvelding, Op. 1 Nno. 1.  Blaakveld, Op. 16 No. 3.  Korn og guld, Op. 16 No. 1.  Det er fjord imillom frendar, Op. 8 No. 3.  Hjuring-lokk, Op. 8 No. 5.  Spinnvettir, Op. 10 No. 1.  Kvitveis i sudr–na, OP. 12 No. 1.  Sn–lyse, Op. 12 No. 5.  S–vnen, Op. 6 No. 1.  Et barn, Op. 7 No. 1.  En hustavle, Op. 5 No. 1. Baan sull, Op. 11, No. 1.  To norske folkeviser, Op. 21 (Jeg lagde mig saa silde/Alle mann hadde fota)
Kirsten Flagstad, soprano; Philharmonia Orch/Warwick Braithwaite and Walter Susskind, cond/Gerald Moore, pianist
TESTAMENT SBT 1268 (F) (ADD) TT:  73:34
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Four Sacred German Songs (arr. Dørumsgaard). C.P.E. BACH:  Die Güte Gottes.  Busslied.  Passionslied.  Preis sei dem Gotta.  J.S. BACH:  Vergiss mein nicht.  O finstre Nacht.  Liebster Herr Jesu.  Komm, süsser Tod.  Dir, dir Jehova.  FRANCK:  Wie seh' ich dich, mein Jesu, bluten.  Sei nur still.  Auf, auf! zu Gottes Lob!. CARISSIMI:  Soccorretemi ch'io moro.  LÖHNER:  O Ewigkeit.  DÿRUMSGAARD:  Sanger under stjernene, Op. 17 (Var inte r”dd f–r m–rkret.  Nur ”r det natt –ver jorden.  G–m mig, g–m mig blinda m–rker.  Var stilla, hj”rta). Gudrid stod ved stoveglas, Op. 11 No. 2. Natt, Op. 4 No. 1
Kirsten Flagstad, soprano/Gerald Moore, pianist
TESTAMENT SBT 1267 (F) (ADD) TT:  69:22
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WAGNER:  Overtures to Die Meistersinger, Tannh”user and The Flying Dutchman.  Preludes to Acts I and III of Lohengrin.  "Entweihte Gotter" from Lohengrin.  Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde.
Rita Gorr, soprano; Paris National Opera Theater Orch/AndrÈ Cluytens, cond.
TESTAMENT SBT 1256 (F) (ADD) TT:  54:52
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Once again collectors are indebted to Testament for restoring many fascinating recordings of the past that EMI has been reluctant to issue.  Here are two magnificent Flagstad compilations, the first featuring her superb performance of eleven Grieg songs recorded in 1948 with the Philharmonia Orchestra directed by Warwick Braithwaite (Walter Susskind, for whatever reason, conducted V”ren, recorded at the same time), and sixteen songs by a contemporary Norwegian composer she greatly admired, Arne Dørumsgaard.  He wrote many songs for her and together they recorded twenty-two of them, the remainder to be found on SBT 1267, along with his arrangements of four sacred German songs. Music of C.P.E. and J.S. Bach, Wolfgang Franck (1641-1700), Giacomo Carissimi and Johann L–hner fill out the second CD. All of these recordings were made 1950-1952, the end of Flagstad's fantastic career.  Her voice was in prime condition for all of these recordings; all vocal collectors surely will wish to acquire these beautifully transferred remasterings.

Belgian-born AndrÈ Cluytens (1905-1967) usually is not associated with music of Wagner but actually he had a long association with the composer's music.  Wieland Wagner hired him for Tannh”user at Bayreuth in 1955, the first French (Cluytens was by that time a naturalized Frenchman) conductor for the Festival. He also conducted Meistersinger, Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as Wieland productions of Otello, Tristan and Isolde and Salome outside Bayreuth.  There were plans for him to conduct the Bayreuth Ring and Tristan but when it became public that Cluytens was romantically involved with soprano Anja Silja, who up to that time had been living with Wieland, the conductor's Bayreuth era ended. 

These Wagner recordings were made 1957-1959 towards the end of the conductor's career. A lighter approach to the composer is evident and I imagine many listeners will find the very French sound of the orchestra inappropriate (check the opening of Tannh”user).  Belgian mezzo-soprano Rita Gorr is heard in the Liebestod, and a brief (1:33) excerpt from Lohengrin.  She was in her prime then; she had just recorded Marthe in Faust with Cluytens (REVIEW), and two years later would record Amneris in the Decca Solti recording of Aida. These are effective early stereo recordings; it's unfortunate CD playing time is so limited.

R.E.B. (April 2003)