DVORÄK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 94 "From the New Word." (Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch). Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 (Maurice Gendron, cello; Paris Symphony Orch.) Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53 (Maria Neuss, violin; Concertgebouw Orch). BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 15 (Concertgebouw Orch)/Willem Mengelberg, cond.
ANDROMEDA 9111 (2 disks) TT: 75:38 & 54:35
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SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9 in C "The Great." Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished." Sonata for Arpeggione in A minor, D. 821. Military March No. 1 in D. Rosamunde Overture. SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 (Emil von Sauer) Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Willem Mengelberg, cond.
ANDROMEDA 9109 (2 disks) TT: 72:10 & 67:14
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JOHANN STRAUSS, JR. Die Fledermaus
Everhard Waechter (Eisenstein). Hilde Güden (Rosalinde). Erich Kunz (Franz). Gerhard Stölze (Orlofsky). Giuseppe Zampieri (Alfred). Walter Berry (Falke). Rita Streich (Adele). Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orc/Herbert von Karajan, cond.
ANDROMEDA 9082 (2 disks) TT 66:46 / :54:35 / 77:25
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WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman
Franz Krass (Dutchman). Anja Sila (Senta). Fritz Uhl (Erik). Josef Greindl (Daland). George Paskuda (Steersman). Res Fischer (Mary). Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orch/Wolfgang Sawallisch, cond.
ANDROMEDA 5163 (2 disks) TT: 53:05 & 73:28
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The two Andromeda Mengelberg reissue disks are intriguing, if disappointing. A CD of the symphony and cello concerto was released in 2000 on the Arcadia label, extensively covered on this site (REVIEW). The Dvorâk New World was recorded for Telefunken in 1940, the Cello Concerto is a live performance from Theatre des Champs-Elysées in France in 1944: Mengelberg was a great favorite in Paris. The Violin Concerti is a live Amsterdam performance from 1943 in the Concertgebouw. Mengelberg's Dvorák is direct and often exciting. Of particular interest to me is the cymbal in the symphony's final movement. The instrument is only used once, and in the score is meant to be a soft shimmer, which is the way it is always performed. But Mengelberg has the percussionist play boldly, which I find highly appropriate — I do not know of any other performance with this emphasis. Both Gendron and Neuss were leading virtuosos of their era, and they are given superb support from Mengelerg. CD 2 is filled out with a live performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 from a 1940 Beethoven cycle. Audio on this Dvorák set is adequate, but there is a low frequency hum that surely could and should have been eliminated. There are a number of other CD releases of these recordings, all superior to what is heard here. The same applies to the Schubert set that also mixes live with concert performances. Featured is the big C major symphony recorded in1940 and the Unfinished recorded in 1942, both for Telefunken. Marche Militaire and the Rosamunde excerpts were from Telefunken sessions in 1942 and 1941. Arpeggione Sonata is a live performance in 1940 with Gaspar Cassado as cello soloist. The second disk is filled out with a live performance from the Concertgebouw in October 1940, pianist Emil Von Sauer playing the Schumann piano concerto. The German pianist (1862-1942) was a pupil of Franz Liszt and considered to be one of the greatest pianists of his time. In 1938, he recorded both of the Liszt concertos in Paris with Felix Weingartner on the podium. When this Schumann was recorded, the pianist was 77 and shows it; however this is a grand big-scale performance of considerable interest. These Andromeda disks are not inexpensive. Should these performances interest you, look elsewhere for superior transfers. No program notes are provided,

Herbert von Karajan's famous recording of Die Fledermaus was made for Decca in 1960, available on CD (REVIEW) and a remarkably vivid Pristine Audio reissue (REVIEW). Now we have this live performance from the Vienna State Opera recorded on New Year's Eve that year, a gala event indeed. featuring four singers on the recording (Gueden as Rosalinde, Walter Berry as Falke, Kunz as Franz, Zampieri as Alfred). A major change is that Prince Orlofsky, usually sung by a mezzo (Regina Resnik in the recording) here is sung by tenor Gerhard Stolze .There is a lot of dialogue, and the "gala sequence" in the second act is mostly Strauss. Everyone seems to be having a great time. The third disk is filled with four Strauss waltzes played by the Vienna Philharmonic under Karajan's direction from a concert in Brussels in 1958. Audio is reasonably good, and stage sounds abound. This performance was previously issued in 1999 in RCA's Vienna State Opera Live series, out of print but available on ArkivMusic in one of their reissues. Incidentally, the original Karajan Decca recording included the huge gala sequence in Act II with many leading singers participating. This has been issued on a separate CD on Pristine (REVIEW)..

Only the most avid admirers of soprano Anja Sijla would wish to own this live performance of The Flying Dutchman from Bayreuth 1960. Six years later she made her famous recording of Senta with Otto Klemperer on the podium. Doubtless thee were many retakes, resulting in more accuracy than in a live performance. Silja was much more of an actress than a singer with a voice often hard and unsteady. Her voice and career are mentioned in some detail in our review of her 1965 Vienna State Opera Salome (REVIEW). Unless you wish to have all recordings of Dutchman, skip this one.

R.E.B. (June 2014)