MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



(as CD or FLAC or mp3 download)

Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59 - Selected passages
Lotte Lehmann (soprano) – Die Feldmarschallin; Richard Mayr (bass) – Der Baron Ochs auf Lerchenau; Maria Olszewska (mezzo) – Octavian; Victor Madin (baritone) – Herr von Faninal; Elisabeth Schumann (soprano) – Sophie; Änne Michalsky (mezzo) – Marianne Leitmetzerin; Hermann Gallos (tenor) – Valzacchi; Bella Paalen (mezzo) – Annina; Karl Ettl (bass) – A Police Commissary; William Wergnick (tenor) –An Inn Keeper;
Chorus of the Vienna State Opera, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Robert Heger
rec. 20-24 September 1933, Mittlerer Konzerthaussaal, Vienna. ADD
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO036 [59:46 + 38:40]

Experience Classicsonline


Recorded almost eighty years ago it is remarkable how much information was hidden on the twenty-six shellac sides. In his technical notes on the Pristineclassical website Andrew Rose claims to have opened up the top end of the frequency range to somewhere around 10kHz through use of with the use of XR technology. That’s ‘roughly double the expected frequency response for a set of 78s’. The risk is that there are also hidden shortcomings, primarily ‘the dreaded swish’. Today it is possible to eliminate swish without affecting the music - but it has to be done one swish at a time and on this set it is a question of more than 9000! Obviously it’s a very laborious task.
Eight years ago Naxos issued this set, restored by Mark Obert-Thorn; also on Andante. Since then there have been important technological advances. Unfortunately I haven’t had access to that earlier set, but I have several snippets from this legendary recording on various LPs and the difference is amazing. First and foremost we hear so much more of the orchestra. The introduction, so magically scored, now unfolds with a clarity and richness of detail that one couldn’t have dreamed were inherent in the old shellacs. The velvety strings of the Vienna Philharmonic caress the ear with marvellous warmth and the pizzicato playing in the introduction to act III is extraordinarily well-defined. The delicious final bars are also pin-point clear. The voices are well defined and even though dynamics are limited compared to more recent efforts there is an overall quality that should make this issue attractive even to those who normally are allergic to historical recordings.
The performance in itself is a true classic and it has been hailed uncountable times. Let me just add to the laurels heaped upon it with a few personal notes. It is heavily cut, so heavily that it is not even an abridged version but ‘Selected passages’ as the header correctly states. The whole reception scene in act I is gone, thus also the Italian tenor’s Di rigori armato. Great portions of Baron Ochs’s boisterous behaviour in act II are also cut as well as much else. An uncut performance takes a little more than three hours; this one plays for 98:26, not 118:26 as stated on the inlay. In other words about half the score is cut out. What remains offers what is indubitably the best of the opera, very much concentrated around the four leading characters.
Of these Richard Mayr, who was nearing the end of a more than 30-year-long career and died only two years later, was a little past his best. His tone had dried out compared to what he sounded like a decade earlier. He was however the Ochs of his time in Vienna, where he sang in the first performance on 8 April 1911. By 1933 he had chiselled out a many-faceted portrait that made the character less bullish, more likeable than he actually is. Whether this is good or bad is open to debate.
Lotte Lehmann and Elisabeth Schumann, arguably the two best sopranos in the Austro-German repertoire during the years after WW1, were still at the zenith of their careers. Both incidentally were born the same year, 1888, and thus in their mid-forties. Lehmann has never been surpassed in the role of Feldmarschallin – though Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was her equal. Hers is a portrait of deep insight and sensitivity. Schumann is possibly the most charming Sophie ever and though there are imperfections – the odd note off-pitch, some exaggerated portamenti – this is negligible in the face of such identification and loveliness.
Maria Olszewska’s Octavian is not quite in their class. She sings well and her round and darkish tone is well contrasted to the two sopranos’ but as an interpreter she is anonymous, compared to some later singers of the role: Christa Ludwig, Yvonne Minton, Frederica von Stade and Anne Sofie von Otter. That said, in the duets and trios she is a rock-solid complement to the lighter and brighter voices and the finale is a vocal treat from beginning to end.
Robert Heger may have been an able rather than extraordinary conductor, but he seems to have been particularly fond of this score and draws lovely playing from the admirable Vienna Philharmonic.
No one who loves this music can afford to be without this recording and with the new-dimensional sound that Andrew Rose has conjured up from the old records there is further reason to procure this pair of Pristine Audio discs.
Göran Forsling



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.