Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eileen Farrell, Stokowski, Wagner Wesendonck Leider and Tannhäuser Excerpts

This 1950 recording of the Wesendonck Leider by Eileen Farrell is available on Testament, coupled with scenes from Act three of Siegfried with the Rochester Philharmonic led by Erich Leinsdorf. The original incarnation of it, posted here, includes Stowkowski and "His" ubiquitous "Orchestra" in the Tannhauser Overture and Venusburg Music, played as one continuous track.

Farrell's Wesendonck songs are among the finest I have heard, right up there with Christa Ludwig and Marilyn Horne, to name two other artists I love to hear in this piece. Stokowski accompanies beautifully, sympathetically, without distracting musical showmanship, and Farrell's incomparably beautiful voice and musical intelligence are allowed to shine.

The orchestral side enjoys less transparent sound. Trying to compensate for it, I was not entirely successful, I feel, so I am posting a file that has been decrackled and dehissed but not re-equalized. I feel that letting the record speak for itself is best in these situations.

Link to all files


  1. Hi Larry,

    Very nice transfer. I really love what Stoky does with Wagner...original thinking, but compelling! I only wish that "his" orchestra was bigger, probably no more then 45-50 players tops. I wonder if these were late night sessions, like many of these pickup orchestra's were because of contracts etc...


  2. Hi Fred:
    I know what you mean; the sound is a little-- well -- little. The Overture and Venusburg music would benifit from a bigger band -- anyone vote for Philadelphia??

  3. Excellent transfers, thank you very much for them, definitely cheaper than the expensive testament reissue; there are some italian opera & wagner arias recitals LP by Helen traubel, It would be nice if you could upload them. Thanks again.

  4. Glad you like it. The Traubel record I'd like to post is a 10" disc that I no longer own, having given it to a friend who looked like he was going to cry if I kept it. It contained the Willow Song from Verdi's Aida as well as Casta Diva from Norma. Hearing that big, gorgeous and utterly controlled voice sing those two arias is an unforgettable experience. The Verdi is on other records, which I own, but the Casta Dive I've never seen except on that 10 inch record.

  5. Dear friend thank you very much for giving us this beautiful interpretation of Wagner, especially Wesendonck Lieder. You have a very interesting blog, I would put a link to your blog on mine? I would appreciate your kind response.
    Best Regards.

  6. OPERMUSIK: Thank you for your very kind word. I would be delighted if you linked to my blog from yours. Your blog is has some very nice postings, and I look forward to visiting it more in the future. Thanks again, and happy listening!

  7. Thanks for the permit.

  8. Hello!
    Thank you for this magnificient post and your interesting blog!
    Do you have other rare LPs with great Wagner performers? Or, maybe, you have some recordings of the swedish tenors Set Svanholm and Nicolai Gedda?
    I would be really happy if you could post them.
    Best regards.