Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flagstad premier of Four Last Songs

This will be the Vier letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss in the world premier performance with Kirsten Flagstad and Wilhelm Furtwaengler.  I am posting this because I notice my contemporary singers are running way ahead of my classic singers.

This song set is performed in various sequences, but this is correct for this particular live performance.  It is my understanding that the publisher has arranged them differently.  Kirsten Flagstad was not Strauss' ideal voice, but he did nevertheless compose them for her.  The condition of the recordings is terrible.  I mean really terrible.

1. I. Beim Schlafengehen



2. II. September



3. III. Fruhling



4. IV. Im Abendrot



She is supposed to be terrible, past her prime, too heavy for the part, yadayada.  I can't hear it.  This is exactly what I would want.  The pieces are established forever in this performance.  Flagstad was an extraordinary singer who never came even marginally close to over singing, so here at 55 she sounds very much herself to me.  The later Tristan recording was very much messed with, but this is live.  She never sang Fruhling again.

She found truth through simplicity.   For those who truly love her she towers over everyone.


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