The Goodall Mastersingers
I remember a flurry of interest on the R3 boards when the Goodall Mastersingers became available. However I can't remember what the consensus view (if any emerged) was, on merits, demerits, sound quality etc. Any Wagnerian members (or even others) have views?
As a youngster Reggie's Mastersingers was my Wagner initiation and I was truly smitten and went to several more performances sitting or standing in the 5 shilling Gods. I loved the production which I first saw a few days after Sadlers Wells moved to the London Coliseum. Norman Bailey is the greatest Sachs I have ever heard: I am lucky enough to have his other recordings under Solti (not a patch on Goodall) and a loving performance from Bayreuth under Krombolch. The rest of the cast are superbly nurtured by Goodall. Yes, he is slow: but not noticeably once the overture is passed. At my third or fourth performance I had an interval drink in the Marquis of Granby (in those days it was one of the pubs with an Coliseum interval bell installed) and found myslf talking to John Sealey, the leader of the orchestra. He said the company adored Reggie and his "glorious Wagner sound where the singers were given a golden cushion to float upon". After I had expressed my sympathy for the french horns and their everlasting chords in the overture he told a lovely story about Goodall's tiny beat. "On the first night at the beginning of Act 3 there is that exquisite prelude before Sach's great aria about the mad world we live in. Reggie stood before us quivering slightly and we thought that he was extra nervous. He turned towards me and said 'Sorry, Mr Sealey, but I have started.' "
There are a few cuts in the performance at the Sadler's Wells theatre had worries about last trains. But it is a vital document.
Here is an interesting clip of him rehearsing "Die Walkyre" with Welsh National Opera. The recorded sound does not do justice to the Chandos recordings but listen to that heart beat!!
Many thanks for this, I've never seen it before and I'm in it. It must have been 1983 and I had left WNO by then so I would have been an extra or deputy. Sadly many of my friends there are now dead.
Originally Posted by Chris Newman
The voice over was a bit naff!!
I'm not sure whether there was any concensus on the Goodall Mastersingers. I think it's a fine performance, with Norman Bailey sounding even better as Sachs than he does on the later Decca/Solti recording.
The sound quality isn't bad, but I'm fairly certain it's in mono (though I can't find any written evidence either way).
Thanks for the link--do you know if the programme that it came from is available anywhere?
Goodall, whom I hadn't seen conducting before, appears to be approaching the Boult class of undemonstrative conductors, but I guess the real work was done beforehand, as the commentary suggests.
The recording, surprisingly, is in stereo. It sounds too rough to be a BBC recording, even for 1968 (when it wouldn't have been broadcast/recorded in stereo, anyway).
This is another Goodall performance I listened to with interest, waiting for the scales to drop from my ears, re: Goodall. But they didn't: although by no means a disaster, it has nowhere near the impact of the Karajan Dresden and Kubelik Munich recordings.
The Goodall documentary is The Quest For Reginald Goodall made in 1984 by Humphrey Burton for the Omnibus series. It's Burton doing the narration. The whole thing was available at one time on several of the usual BitTorrent sites but doesn't seem to be around at the moment. It's worth hunting down, though: a splendid and thorough biography of the man, lots of rehearsal footage, and a long interview with Goodall himself: he's initially very halting and reluctant but gradually opens up.
I don't find the sound on the Chandos Mastersingers particularly rough, and the recording is clearly identified as originating from the BBC. It also doesn't sound like stereo to my ears (the labels are silent on the matter). I think it's quite magnificent: certainly the finest recorded performance of the work that I know.
Last edited by Bert Coules; 25-02-11 at 22:19.
Thanks Bert, you are quite right about the documentary of which I've only seen that youtube clip. I suppose I forgot about it after it had been shot and was too busy to bother. Only now it seems like something worth having about Reggie. I have signed photos of him that I took, but no video.
I agree about the Chandos Mastersingers, but I haven't listened to it for a while. Its definitely BBC, I've just looked, and you are probably right about it being mono. I will have another listen sometime when I get time.
Listen on headphones: it is definitely stereo.
It IS identified as a BBC recording, but there none of the details we would expect ie, first broadcast.
My guess is it's some kind of off-air recording.
It does at least carry the information Recorded live at Sadler's Wells: 10 February 1968. This was also the date of the live broadcast, but that was in mono: apart from early radio/TV experiments, none of Radio 3 was in stereo until 1971. And I don't believe that the performance was ever repeated after stereo came in: shortly after the live relay from the Wells the company moved to the Coliseum, from where the production (this time without the cuts) was broadcast again: unlike the 68, this version (sadly lacking Alberto Remedios) is still in the archives and has been repeated, certainly in part and possibly complete.
Originally Posted by Mandryka
So if the Chandos release is stereo, that means either that the Beeb engineers were experimenting with it even though the results could only go out in mono, and Chandos had access to the ostensibly lost master tapes, or alternatively that the original mono recording has been processed into mock-stereo; both possibilities seem rather unlikely. So perhaps I'm wrong about there having been a post-1971 repeat.
Last edited by Bert Coules; 26-02-11 at 01:17.