OP0213. PARSIFAL - Excerpts, recorded 1927-28, w.Karl Muck Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble & Berlin Staatsoper Orch.; Alexander Kipnis, Fritz Wolff, Ludwig Hofmann, Gotthelf Pistor, Cornelius Bronsgeest, Ingeborg Holmgren, Anny Helm, Minnie Ruske-Leopold, Hilde Sinnek, Maria Nezadel, Charlotte Muller, etc.; ALFRED HERTZ Cond.Berlin Phil.: Parsifal – Orchestral Excerpts, recorded 1913. (Canada) 2-Naxos 8.110049/50. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! – 636943104927
“Karl Muck (1859-1940) was chiefly regarded as a Wagner specialist, particularly for his conducting of PARSIFAL. All the recordings he made from the opera are gathered here. While the recorded balances are problematic in the 1927 Bayreuth Act 1 Transformation Music and Grail Scene, the sonics convey a vivid theatrical ambience. The recordings preserve the imposing sonority of the bells that were built to Wagner’s specification for the opera’s 1882 premiere, then destroyed during World War II. The bells also appear in Muck’s landmark 1928 Berlin recording encompassing most of Act 3. Few modern singers match the relaxed authority Hofmann and Pistor respectively bring to Gurnemanz and Parsifal’s sprawling vocal lines, and Brongeest is an Amfortas who bears his suffering with a modicum of dignity. No less important are Muck’s spacious and flowing individual recordings for the Act 1 & 3 preludes. Two generous fillers round out this collection. Alexander Kipnis’ majestic ‘Good Friday Spell’, from the 1927 Bayreuth sessions (with the composer’s son Siegfried on the podium), is justly renowned. By contrast, an extended orchestral suite recorded in 1913 by Alfred Hertz and the Berlin Philharmonic receives its first reissue here. The sound is uncommonly clear, well balanced, and dynamically varied for an acoustic recording. Mark Obert-Thorn’s transfers are as first-rate as the booklet notes."
- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
“In 1903, Hertz conducted PARSIFAL at the New York Met in the first stage production outside Bayreuth, and this invited the wrath of Cosima Wagner and other Wagnerites who had sought to prevent stage productions outside Bayreuth. As a consequence, he was barred from appearing at Bayreuth or at any other major German opera house.”
– John L. Holmes, CONDUCTORS ON RECORD, p.278