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Reviews: Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Janowski

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Reviews: 2

Site review by Castor December 31, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by seth January 19, 2012 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Simply put, while this is a fine a recording of "Meistersinger," it's not really all that special. I doubt it will surpass anyone's favorite version. While there are no major faults, there's something just missing in this performance that I cannot put my finger on. I've listened to it several times over the last two months, and the magic is just not there.

Janowski evokes a light and transparent sound from the score that extends to the singing. Probably my biggest gripe is that I find that the male singers lack a degree of weight. Janowski is dedicated to bringing out small details in the opera; throughout there are lots of lines in the score that I feel like I'm hearing for the first time. Tempos are on the fast side -- all of Act 1 fits onto the first disc. Overall, the music making is a pleasure to listen to, but I do prefer Karajan's creamier sound.

Despite being a single take of a live performance, the recorded sound does not disappoint. In surround sound the imaging is spread wide and the sound is quite spacious. Timbres are smooth and natural sounding. There are a few coughs from the audience (heard in the rear channels) as well as an errant human voice coming from the stage in the orchestral march before the entry of the tailors in Act 3 Scene 5. It's actually pretty annoying and I wished it could have been edited out. But overall the recording is pretty much what you'd expect from Pentatone. While I cannot find it in the liner notes, according to Pentatone's website this is a DSD recording.

It's hard to recommend this recording. First time "Meistersinger" buyers will be better served by a classic recording (Kubelik, Karajan, Jochum, etc.) and everyone else will appreciate Pentatone's superb sound but in the end will return to other recordings more often.

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