OP0346. DIE MEISTERSINGER Act II & Act III - Excerpts, Broadcast Performances, 1942 & 1943, w.Rother & Heger Cond. Berlin Radio Ensemble; Thea Kempf, Maria Müller, Henk Noort, Ludwig Suthaus, Georg Hann & Jaro Prohaska. Music & Arts 1068. Transfers by Maggi Payne. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 017685106828
“Music and Arts has licensed a wealth of German Radio broadcasts dating from the 1930s and 1940s. Much of this material is being issued for the first time, including a complete Act 2 of Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER, recorded November 18, 1942. The sonic source appears to be experimental tape, due to its lack of surface noise and tendency toward shrillness at loud volumes. The orchestra is remarkably well balanced for a recording of this vintage….Thea Kempf’s solid but rather matronly Eva is partnered by the strident Walther of Henk Noort. Their supporting counterparts, Marie-Luise Schlip (Eva) and Karl Wessely (David), have better voices. The veteran George Hann is an authoritative but woofy Sachs, slightly upstaged by Wilhelm Schirp’s eloquent Pogner. Qualifying question marks identify many of the cast members. Standing out among the mysterians is one Hans-Heinz Nissen, whose vivid Beckmesser is truly sung rather than barked out. Arthur Rother’s swift tempos are perfectly in keeping with the music’s conversational discourse, culminating in a giddy riot scene where vocal asides and obscure counter-lines can be heard.
Act Three excerpts from a 1943 Berlin Staatskapelle MEISTERSINGER provide generous filler. Ludwig Suthaus is in gorgeous voice, singing Walther’s Prize Song….David Breckbill’s notes are refreshingly frank about the performances’ virtues and defects. In sum, a release historic Wagner acolytes will find fascinating.”
- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com