Re: Elektra Solti BD-A release
Posted by paul corfield godfrey on September 16, 2017, 12:20 pm, in reply to "Elektra Solti BD-A release"
This is intriguing, but considerably more complicated than might appear at first sight. I am not sure that a solution is immediately apparent, either. |
I must admit that originally I had assumed that the violin line in question, marked piano in the score, was simply subsumed under the forceful declamation of Nilsson; but closer listening seems to show that this is indeed not the case. The violin ostinato which continues under the final bar of the phrase is omitted in a great many recordings, including the studio versions conducted by Böhm, Sawallisch and Sinopoli as well as in this new Solti reissue. The same applies to several live recordings which I have sampled when framing this response. Indeed some of those, like Gergiev, who make the break between CDs at a later point nevertheless still insert an unwanted and unwarranted pause at this point. By contrast Thielemann in his live recording correctly continues the music without any unwanted pause for breath, but then has to make a CD break a few bars earlier which is even less satisfactory; and the violin ostinato is again missing or inaudible during the relevant bar.
My original thought was that the violins were removed deliberately when producer John Culshaw realised that the LP side break would come at this point (this would put it in a similar category to similar situations in the Decca sets of Siegfried and Die Aegyptiche Helena, the latter corrected in the CD release).
But the near-universality of the omission makes me think that there may have been some other reason, perhaps an amendment made by Strauss himself anxious to ensure that the entry of the full violins in the succeeding phrase should not be compromised in any way. Maybe the violins were then deleted in this bar, possibly by manuscript alteration of the score and parts; but my recording of the English-language production by Welsh National Opera during the 1970s shows no such excision (although this was I understand based on a score prepared by Strauss for German provincial theatres with reduced orchestration, which might therefore have escaped subsequent amendment).
This is surely a consideration that must regularly arise during performances and rehearsals of the opera; perhaps someone with such practical experience might be able to shed further light on the matter?
Be that as it may - and the published full and vocal scores are unanimous in their indication that the ostinato should continue during the bar in question - the introduction of a further pause on the Blu-Ray audio remains an unfortunate error (which should not however preclude potential purchasers from acquiring this great recording).