Many thanks to Bob for another rarity
Pyramids crumble into step-pyramids before being reduced by the elements into knolls and then dust in wait for another Cheops to be enthroned, reign and die.
This Magic Flute is a pyramid which Beecham, Lord of the Pills, raised majestically in 1937. Notwithstanding the passage of decades and onslaught of Period Practice, its capstone is still in place; its lining of limestone is pristine and overall it shows every sign of defying time for the foreseeable future and beyond. What an achievement! There is no better sung Magic Flute on record. Nearby, the pyramids of the post-war Karajan (EMI) and Furtwangler performances are keeping pace with it. The contribution of one Fritz Wunderlich is keeping Karl Bohm’s pyramid in the game. Further afield and despondent in ruination, one can view the knolls of Pale Bill Christie (Erato), Jeggy (DG) and Karajan (DG) whose Tamino, Francisco Araiza, is as gritty as the sands of Giza. To varying degrees, they served their day.
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Tiana Lemnitz, Erna Berger, Irma Beike, Helge Roswaenge, Gerhard Hüsch, Wilhelm Strienz
Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Thomas Beecham
Vinyl 1963 (1937)
Number of Discs: 3
DR-Analysis: DR 11
Size: 1.06 GB
The singing here is ubiquitously excellent and ever so idiomatic. Even the Three Ladies are luxuriantly cast. If one were to laud one of the array, it would have to be the Queen of the Night, Erna Berger. Sweet of tone, she sounds as if she has a few more octaves up her sleeve lest Mozart bypasses the sky to reach for the stratosphere. While Beecham evokes the humour of the score and unforgettably so, I cannot recall a performance where its Masonic DNA is so vividly broadcast; listen, for instance, to the reprise of the opening chords in the Overture (3’43″ff) which is highly suggestive of a rite; the same comment applies to Sarastro’s arias which are numinously sung by Wilhelm Strienz. The Nazis bowdlerised the Requiem, excising all references to the Old Testament. As the Goose-Steppers were no buddies of the Freemasons, one wonders what they would have done eventually to K 621 if the Thousand Year Reich had been less transitory than some of the pyramids mentioned above.
Nimbus, long dust itself, deserves a posthumous medal. The sound has been optimised but not at the expense of ambience. The voices are slightly to the front of the orchestra but who cares when their output is as glorious as this. And who really misses the dialogue?
Even if you are wary of historic recordings, cut your teeth on this one.
O Pharaoh Beecham, Lord of the Two Lands: great is thy praise!
Analyzed Folder: /96k(Mono) WAM – Magic Flute – Beecham
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR12 -0.52 dB -17.31 dB side1.flac
DR13 -0.93 dB -18.66 dB side2.flac
DR12 -1.75 dB -17.59 dB side3.flac
DR11 -0.94 dB -17.06 dB side4.flac
DR10 -1.47 dB -15.81 dB side5.flac
DR12 -1.08 dB -17.06 dB side6.flac
Number of Files: 6
Official DR Value: DR12
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section.
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX 5 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.18
- Very careful de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removed, never de-noising
- Wave 32/192(32/384) —> Flac 24/96(24/192): Twisted Wave 1.18
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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