'Testament' is Rachel Barton Pine's very personal homage to the music of J. S. Bach, on which she performs the composer's complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin in the acoustic of her hometown St. Pauls Church in Chicago, where she first heard and fell in love with Bach's music.
This recording of a live performance of MEISTERSINGER from Bayreuth 1957 definitely merits five stars. For those of you who don't already know this, Gustav Neidlinger (PeaceBeUponHim) was the undisputed master of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villain roles, Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s until the mid 1970s. He sang with unmatched sulfur, cannon-ball density, huge volume, dark tone, and powerful dramatic interpretation. He sang more spontaneously and from-the-gut than most singers. He was the first of his generation to sing these roles with musical line and connected legato, rather than as a series of isolated shouts, grunts, and bellowings. He was typecast for these villainous roles as soon as he set foot on the stage, and almost never performed as a good-guy.
Fritz Wunderlich's lyricism, boundless musicianship and exquisite diction made him one of the great tenors of the 20th century. In September 2016, DG will commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death with the release of Complete Studio Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, a comprehensive 32CD box set of sacred works, opera and operetta, lieder and popular song. The collection includes Decca, Philips and Polydor recordings as well, several appearing internationally for the first time.