Johann STRAUSS II
Rosalinde Wilma Lipp Adele Luise Martini Ida Christ
Ludwig Orlovsky Karl Terkal Eisenstein Anton Dermota Alfred
Walter Berry Frank Eberhard Waechter Falke Erich Majkut
Blind Erik Kunz Frosch Philharmonia Chorus
and Orchestra Otto Ackermann
recorded in Kingsway Hall,
London, July, 1959.EMI Double Forte CZS5 73851-22CD bargain price
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Here is one of EMI's re-releases (latterly on Classics for Pleasure) of a
perennial favourite for all who love genuine frothy Operetta. There is no
reduction in price, but a saving in plastic, (the CFP release was in a double
box; this one is in twofer format), and the basic synopsis is retained.
As I have not heard the CFP release, I am not in a position to say whether
the new issue is an improvement, having now, we are told, been subjected
to Abbey Road Technology remastering. In comparison with other recordings
being subjected to this process, much depends upon the original recording,
and this one was always very good. Based on listening to the current issue,
I can report that it is very good indeed, a tribute to the skills of the
various artists, and particularly to Walter Legge, whose production it was.
Much has been written about Legge's reluctance to embrace stereo, being a
firm fan of mono. Also, having already recorded the Karajan performance with
Schwarzkopf, the current issue must have been a difficult one for him,
particularly given its illustrious predecessor. We need not be in the least
The performance bubbles with affection and good spirits from start to finish.
It has top-flight singers, out to enjoy themselves, aided and abetted by
perhaps the best recording orchestra and chorus of its time, all under the
control of a master conductor of Viennese operetta, Otto Ackermann. If we
then add the price level of this release, the only people not wanting it
should be those who are hi-fi addicts, do not like Operetta, or already have
As with the CFP issue, EMI have seen fit only to supply a synopsis rather
than a full libretto. Since the synopsis is quite detailed, (compared with
others I have experienced), and allows us to follow the progress of the plot,
there is little criticism here, given the low price and limited space in
the "twofer" format.
The balance between the soloists and orchestra is masterly, so nothing is
lost of the words (still, a pity about the libretto) or the orchestra, and
the whole performance tingles with life and enjoyment. The principals are
very good. Gerda Schreyer is not however a perfect replacement for Schwarzkopf,
(who could be?). The other participants are quite the previous set's equals,
so the only loss is that of a level of style which with the Karajan issue
is unique. On the present issue this has been replaced by a genuine sounding
Viennese atmosphere, so the new issue does not necessarily lose by comparison.
At the price, you cannot lose.