Wagner: Lohengrin - Kempe

Wagner: Lohengrin - Kempe

Tower Records Definition Serie  TDSA-142/4 (3 discs)

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Opera

Wagner: Lohengrin

Jess Thomas, Lohengrin
Elisabeth Grümmer, Elsa von Brabant
Christa Ludwig, Ortrud
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Friedrich von Telramund
Gottlob Frick, König Heinrich der Vogler
Otto Wiener, Herald
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Wiener Philharmoniker
Rudolf Kempe, conductor

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Analogue recording
Comments (6)

Comment by ini - June 11, 2022 (1 of 6)

Well, again, like Klemperer Dutchman, the „Grand Opera Series“ of Kempe‘s Lohengrin is better(many will say far better...) than its SACD equivalent.

This Recording (perhaps not in its LP HMV Pressings) always sounded constricted, probably a price to be paid for its wonderful focus (in detail both the 1st and 2nd act ensembles ate matchless in their clarity), and when only the Orchestra plays (Preludes for each of the acts, specially the military interlude 3rd act) the spaciousness is acceptable, perhaps as a precedent of a HIP Wagner Style (the Venue was the Theater an der Wien, a modest-sized room for 20 century standards).
Kempe’s fluency is helped in this mastering, and his more than occasional “underplayness” somewhat vanishes (at least is hidden); on the whole this is a valid, but not referential version of this opera, and the “Arch of ghe Work isn’t really perfect due to Kempe’s hurried and rhythmically awkward way with the 3rd act (his articulation of the Above mentioned Military music sounds “out of place” with pointing totally different from all other recordings.

Of the Soloists, all but Thomas are also favored by this DSD mastering, since The tenor’s Somewhat tubed and wooly way with his Part sounds somewhat to have worsened;
Grümmer doesn’t detaches her high notes that much, Ludwig “screams “ less, FD “Rants” less and Both basses sound now more Respectfully Elderly than vocally decadent... recommended, unless one has or can grab hold of the old Toshiba EMI “Grand Opera Series”, which is Better in all possible terms.

Comment by Athenaeus - June 12, 2022 (2 of 6)

Could you please provide the catalogue number or the UPC (Universal Product Code) of the "Grand Opera Series" disc mentioned in your comment? I can't seem to find this release. Thank you!

Comment by ini - June 20, 2022 (3 of 6)

Where on the Disc should I look for this specific reference?

Comment by John Bacon-Shone - June 20, 2022 (4 of 6)

I think this is the number of the Toshiba CDs (long out of print)


Comment by Andre Vital - August 6, 2022 (5 of 6)

A caveat...
The 'secret' of the "Grand Opera" EMI-Toshiba series is that it never ever sacrifices the total quality of its transfers to avoid background noise in older analog recordings.

Even before the strands of the 1st act Prelude begin, one hears both hiss and background noise, on Toshiba's EMI transfer...
Some younger people simply cannot abide this...

This EMI -Toshiba "GOS" policy is the exact opposite of the 1997 Solti RdN "CEDAR" transfer 'policy.
Provided that one can get over this for me technicality, there is still no better transfer than the EMI Toshiba one.

Comment by Andre Vital - August 6, 2022 (6 of 6)


I'd be thankful for your appreciation of my next "target" of this series; Muti's Aida (still in print!).