SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Fritz Wunderlich, Der Kammersänger = Arias by HANDEL, GLUCK, MOZART, PUCCINI, LORTZING and TCHAIKOVSKY and songs – Rafael Kubelik, Eugen Jochum, Emmerich Smola, Hans Moltkau, Otto Gerdes, Robert Stolz, conductors – Clearaudio vinyl double-LP

A terrific double-vinyl reissue of tenor Wunderlich.

Published on March 21, 2014

Fritz Wunderlich, Der Kammersänger = Arias by HANDEL, GLUCK, MOZART, PUCCINI, LORTZING and TCHAIKOVSKY and songs – Rafael Kubelik, Eugen Jochum, Emmerich Smola, Hans Moltkau, Otto Gerdes, Robert Stolz, conductors – Clearaudio vinyl double-LP

Fritz Wunderlich, Der Kammersänger = Arias by HANDEL, GLUCK, MOZART, PUCCINI, LORTZING and TCHAIKOVSKY and songs including Granada, O sole mio, Funiculi-Funicula, Wien, Wien, nur du allein, Ich kenn’ ein kleines Wegerl im Helenental, Draussen in Sievering, Im Prater blühn wieder die Bäume, Wien wird bei Nacht erst schön – Fritz Wunderlich, tenor/ Singgemeinschaft Rudolf Lamy/ Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/ Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper/ SWR SO Baden-Baden/ Münchner Rundfunkorchester/ Symphonie-Orchester Graunke/ Orchester der Wiener Volksoper/ Rafael Kubelik, Eugen Jochum, Emmerich Smola, Hans Moltkau, Otto Gerdes, Robert Stolz, conductors – Clearaudio audiophile vinyl double-LP 2894776528, 26:44, 26:31 [Distr. by Musical Surroundings] (10/2/09) *****(*):

At its best this vinyl reissue of tenor Fritz Wunderlich in his prime, 1965-1971, is so good I would give it an extra star above everything that is fair and rational. I listened to this 180g vinyl on a primo system that that had been put together with loving care and the results were astounding. On the classical music side, that is.

This intriguing compilation pairs some of the most attractive, widely-popular items from Wunderlich’s repertoire in increasingly remote studio recordings, even to Wunderlich cognoscenti, both with great orchestras and conductors on which DGG engineers lavished their best, most sumptuous work, and (on the flip side) cheap-sounding radio orchestras in noticeably scrawny soundwidth which even Wunderlich’s glorious voice cannot entirely overcome (in other words, best heard on the radio).

From the spectacular stuff on side one four stand out: Classical arias by Handel and Gluck (sung in German), with the Bavarian RSO conducted by Rafael Kubelik, and Wunderlich’s two signature arias from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Eugen Jochum conducting the Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper. Less than 15 minutes altogether but they capture a singer whose loss at the age of 35 serves as a symbol of the analog sound in which he produced gorgeous sound with such bold heart, soul and compassion that it makes the best Italian tenors seem pallid.

The packaging is simple, elegant, with track listings and recording details only and no other documentation. The paper inner sleeve is protectively lined to audiophile standards. The vinyl is immaculately pressed, and the label is a stunning DGG replica with only turntable maker Clearaudio’s subtle logo to indicate its presence in a remarkable collaborative reissue job.

—Laurence Vittes




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