"Celibidache (live 1993, EMI)
Elena Filipova, Reinhild Runkel, Peter Dvorský, Kurt Rydl
Munich Philharmonic Choir, Munich Philharmonic
Marmoreal speeds are usually – although not always - a given with a Celi performance but you can always count on beautiful phrasing, excellent balances and a justifiable purpose in everything he does. That won’t convince everyone that this is the right way to play the work and there are certainly times when I just want him to get on with it and provide more drama with less insistence upon grandeur. A total timing of 102 minutes is really extreme for such a dynamic work. The Munich forces are splendid and do his bidding, but the soloists are not the best. Kurt Rydl has the right sepulchral tone but also too broad a vibrato and some husky top notes. Reinhild Runkel struggles against Celibidache’s application of the brakes in “Liber scriptus” and the slow speed accentuates both her tendency to scoop and some grittiness in her tone. Dvorský sounds really out of sorts in his first entry, bleating, losing tonal allure and injecting too many intrusive glottal catches into what is supposed to be a proper Verdian line. His “Salva me fons pietatis” in the “Rex tremendae” is embarrassingly hoarse. He is better in the “Ingemisco” but I do not like his essential timbre or manner. By far the best singer here is Bulgarian soprano Elena Filipova – the same as on the Naxos studio recording - huge and secure of voice but her pitch is suspect in the “Recordare” – always a danger in that deceptively simple duet in thirds. Her solo finale is impressive but undermined by the soporific tempo.
This is not a version I can recommend."
Maybe I'm too fussy and fixed in my tastes, especially when it comes to voices, but there it is. Otherwise, we agree on so much else maybe we can let out differences over Markevitch and Celibidache amicably stand.
All the best,
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