The third volume of The Flagstad Recitals couples music by Wagner and Mahler. Flagstad’s LP of Wagner scenes recorded with Hans Knappertsbusch is complemented by the ‘Todesverkündigung’ from Act II of ‘Die Walküre’ with Sir Georg Solti as well as the ‘Immolation Scene’ from ‘Götterdämmerung’ from a Norwegian broadcast performance conducted by Øivin Fjeldstad. Also included are the two Mahler song cycles Flagstad recorded with Sir Adrian Boult and the Vienna Philharmonic.
In his booklet notes, John Steane asks us to ‘remember (for it is easy to forget) that in this recording we hear the voice of a woman over 60. It is still possible to feel, as Desmond Shawe-Taylor did when hearing her years earlier in a concert performance with Furtwängler that the ‘sumptuous, saturated tone-quality of this sort has almost vanished from the world’.
Der Männer Sippe saß hier in Saal (Die Walküre Act 1)
Du bist der Lenz (Die Walküre Act 1)
Siegmund! Sieh auf mich (Die Walküre Act 2)
Einsam in trüben Tagen (Lohengrin Act 1)
Ich sah das Kind an seiner Mutter Brust (Parsifal Act 2)
Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort (Götterdämmerung Act 3)
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Kirsten Flagstad, soprano
‘It is wonderful to hear how the great soprano can produce the softest flute-like tone on a high G, fining it down to vanishing point’ [Mahler: ‘Ging heut’ morgen über’s Feld’ from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen] Gramophone
[Wesendon-Lieder] ‘…beautifully played on this disc, as is everything else, by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Knappertsbusch. Flagstad’s deeper insight into the music shows particularly in ‘Stehe still!’ and ‘Im Treibhaus’ but she is very well suited by all five songs’ Gramophone
[Kindertotenlieder] ‘That glorious voice is heard here in a very fine recording, and Sir Adrian and the Vienna Philharmonic form a happy combination. And in any case, Flagstad sings these particular songs most beautifully; Lieder on this scale finds in her a fine and sensitive interpreter. Incredible that she was 62 at the time’ Gramophone
‘Flagstad was a superb Sieglinde, and her glorious voice is perfectly suited to the rich inspiration of the ‘Wesendonk-Lieder’ … one of the finest Brünnhildes of our time’ The Penguin Guide to Bargain Compact Discs