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Weber - Der Freischütz / Orgonasova · Wottrich · C. Schäfer · Salminen · Holzmair · Moll · Cachemaille · Harnoncourt

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 3, 1996
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$34.25 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Usually ships within 1 to 2 months. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Performer: Carl Maria von Weber, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Luba Orgonasova, Christine Schäfer, Berliner Philharmoniker, et al.
  • Audio CD (September 3, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Teldec Classics
  • ASIN: B000000SPW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,972 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By David S. Baumgartner on October 8, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This 1995 "live" recording shows Harnoncourt's attention to detail and his ability to impel his excellent Berlin Radio Orchestra and singers to very strong and meaningful performances. The sound is excellent and it is obvious he has demanded that all reach for the highest levels of artistic ability. This a radio performance as the audience applauds only at the end.

Endrik Wollrich, who has become one of Europe's leading opera tenors, delivers his big solo with fire and while his voice has a very slight but recognizable throaty sound, it nevertheless is attractive, solid, innocent and perfectly evenly and securely produced throughout his range. There is insufficient dialogue between Max and Kaspar in Act I but Matti Salminen's Kaspar demonstrates some wry acting ability by being easy-going and non-threatening until he orders Max to "shoot" the eagle and then when alone turns to disclose his real intention to trap Max belting out his great aria "Scweig...Triumph" with dark, gripping aggression. This transformation is a choice piece of acting bringing out Kaspar's devious nature. Ännchen, Christine Schäfer, paints a splendid picture of youthful feminine longing in her Act I aria with Harnoncourt giving her slight meaningful pauses allowing for enchanting emphasis. Her Act III aria fares less well, missing the playfulness and fun despite singing with absolutely gorgeous voice; in this aria, however, she might just as well have been singing "la,la,la". Schäfer is not much of an actress. I saw her Gilda and although she looks beautiful and sings beautifully she has little depth in interpretation, just essentially standing and delivering.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Weber's Der Freischütz, far preferring it even to Beethoven's Fidelio and any other opera composed in the early 19th century. As a lover of Haydn's music I like the mix of Weber's Haydn-esque moments, like the little military march in Act I (Terzetto) that sounds like Haydn's delightful 'Toy' Symphony, combined with advanced rhythmic complexities and cinematic musical effects, as in the Wolf's Glen scene which still can raze the hair on my arms in the right hands of a conductor who doesn't view this old masterwork as a museum piece. And there is one memorable and lovely tune following on another from beginning to end. It is my favorite Singspiel (spoken dialogue instead of accompanied recitativo or through composed music). Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and LvB's Fidelio are the other famous examples of this genre.

Harnoncourt can be a very annoying conductor. Some of his Mozart recordings are so self-attention-grabbing as to be unlistenable, and I have gotten rid of his Giovanni, Zauberflöte and Figaro, but his Cosi fan tutte is exquisite! Go figure.
A variable conductor, then, who can be brilliant, as he is with Der Freischütz, and pretentious and silly, as he is in the aforementioned Mozart operas. He has the great advantage in this recording of having the Berlin Philharmonic at his disposal. They actually sound authentically rustic at times, especially the bumptious horns, and the violins do a great job of imitating cat-gut instruments in some of the dance music.

His cast is superlative as well. Endrik Wottich is not very well known outside of Germany but he has recorded quite a few excellent roles for some of the great conductors of the past 20 years.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this spirited and beautifully sung Freischutz. The sense of German Romanticism pervaded every note, and is to music, what Casper David Friedrich is to the visual arts. The finest recording I've heard.
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