Berlin, Konwitschny was joined on this momentous occasion by a starry line-up of soloists. Fritz Wunderlich (Walther von der Vogelweide). Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Wolfram von Eschenbach). Gerhard Unger (Heinrich der Schreiber).
Reiner Süß (Reinmar von Zweter). Lisa Otto (Ein junger Hirt). Manfred Koop, Arnold Schremm, Michael Wein, Karl-Heinz Voortmann (Edelknaben). The orchestra was the Staatskapelle Berlin and the chorus the Chor der Staatsoper Berlin (Chorus Master: Karl Schmidt).
Wrote the eminent critic Alan Blyth in the October 1990 issue of The Gramophone. Listen to how Konwitschny conducts the Overture, the large ensemble in Act 2, and indeed much of the solo work and be reminded of the lost art of pacing and shaping a Wagnerian paragraph.
Above all he evinces the secret of steady, forward movement in Wagner; he unerringly feels the pulse of this score. He's helped by having an orchestra fully versed in this opera's tradition and by having perhaps the best chorus, Bayreuth's excepted (on the Sawallisch set for Philips), ever to have recorded the piece. Add to that an ideal balance on the engineers' part between all these elements and you have a formidable argument in this version's favour. Indeed some slight tape noise apart, you would hardly guess that this set was recorded all of 30 years ago - or perhaps, given the unsatisfactory nature of so many recent sets, from the point of view of recording, you might indeed well guess that this wasn't a recent attempt. And at this stage I would like to offer something of an apology to Decca.My ears must have been deceiving me when I preferred the sound on the DG/Sinopoli version to that on the Solti when reviewing the DG set. After several rehearings and comparisons here, it seems to me now that the sound on the Decca is the only one to have the presence and clear balance found on this EMI version, though the Bayreuth set captures the unique acoustics of that theatre. Where the soloists are concerned, in all but one crucial respect, those on this reissue are second to none. Indeed, as is the case with the Berlin orchestra, Grümmer as Elisabeth, Frick as the Landgrave (for once no bore) and Fischer-Dieskau as Wolfram, display quite unreservedly the advantage of long acquaintance with a particular idiom. The same is true of all Fischer-Dieskau's confidently and sensitively managed solos.
It's true that Grümmer's tone has some threads in it during'Dich, teure Halle' but thereafter her sincerity, as when she puts herself on the line in Act 2 and in the Prayer in Act 3, is unrivalled, as is her unerring instinct for the shape of a phrase. Wunderlich and Unger both contribute positively to the ensemble in the Hall of Song. The exception I referred to earlier is Hopf's clumsy account of Tannhauser's music.
He makes some amends by his intense utterance in the Rome Narration, and throughout he always attempts to find his way to the heart of the role, even when fluent execution fails him. Schech isn't the most glamorous of Venuses; no match for Solti's Ludwig, or indeed for Haitink's Meier (EMI), but her contribution is never less then secure. All in all, if it's the Dresden version you are looking for, you could do worse than choose this mid-price reissue in front of the more recent and less convincing Haitink version, though my enthusiasm expressed three years ago for the Philips reissue of the Bayreuth version remains undiminished - that offers a Wagner-approved conflation of the Dresden and Paris versions and is a truthful record of a dedicated evening at Bayreuth in 1962, much enhanced by Sawallisch's conducting, which has many of Konwitschny's qualities, if not quite the older conductor's overview of the piece. Silja, Windgassen and Wächter are also singers in the class of those on the Konwitschny. For the Paris version my new comparisons this time leant me away from Sinopoli towards Solti, though I would be loath to sacrifice Domingo's splendid Tannhauser.The production values for this set are quite impressive. The four LPs are housed in a heavy clamshell cloth box, with each LP inside a sturdy Spanish HMV inner sleeve. Enclosed is a small booklet with a plot synopsis by Maurice Tassart, printed in Spanish only. As was not uncommon during this era, no libretto was included. The striking cover design gracing the box front is uncredited.
Those in doubt can visit the Spanish postal website (Correos. Com), which is available in English. If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to write and I will be happy to help. CONDITION PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY. The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of box is EXCELLENT. The only flaw barring a NM grading concerns a small tear to the front panel and mild discoloration. However, there are no corner breaks, bends, seamsplits, owners markings, or other defects, and the box remains solid, bright, and very impressive overall, a fine collectors copy. The condition of the booklet is near-MINT.
Really there are no flaws to speak of a superb copy. The condition of the 4 LPs is near-MINT. Although the surfaces are not absolutely silent and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT these are fine copies and playback is superb.
This LP has been carefully cleaned using a VPI cleaning machine. All LPs are provided with a new Nagaoka (or Nagaoka-style) inner sleeve. FEEDBACK: I will promptly leave feedback for all buyers.
Please contact me before making a return. Please see my other classical LP and CD auctions, and feel free to write with any questions, I'll be glad to help. The item "Konwitschny Wagner Tannhauser Spanish HMV ASDL 814/7 (4LP box set) ED1" is in sale since Friday, December 26, 2014. This item is in the category "Music\Records". The seller is "redgarnett" and is located in El Cros.This item can be shipped worldwide.