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Thread: Favorite Leonore (Beethoven) on CD

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Favorite Leonore (Beethoven) on CD

    I don't see a thread on Leonore, so here are the six sets I am aware of on CD with my notes (from memory, so correct me if I am wrong. What is your favorite? Other thoughts and notes about these? Any I missed?

    1805 Blomstedt: Great sound quality and cast, includes dialog.

    1805 Altmann: Good mono, includes dialog. Nice performance.

    1805 Leitner: Sound somewhat muffled, worse than Altmann. Nice performance though, but I don't think it has the dialog.

    1805 De Billy: I understand this one has some strange spoken text replacing the dialog, but not sure. Have not heard this one.

    1805/6 etc. Gardiner: Great sound quality. This is mainly 1805 but he makes revisions in places to use 1806, 1804 (early draft presumably) and even a bit of 1814 as I recall. I understand he used narrators instead of having the singers speak the dialog. Mine is from the big DG Complete Beethoven Set and so is coupled with the Bernstein Fidelio and that set has a huge booklet with a chart comparing the three versions and showing where Gardiner made substitutions. I think this chart comes with the stand-alone Gardiner set, but can't say for sure.

    1806 Soustrot: Great sound quality, includes dialog. Only recording of 1806 that I am aware of. Frankly, I think that if one has the 1805 and 1814, then probably there is nothing added by having this set, but it is a nice set nonetheless.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I have the Blomstedt, Leitner, de Billy, and Gardiner. My two top picks would probably be Gardiner and Blomstedt, somewhat preferring Gardiner's cast, though I'm not happy that Gardiner replaced the dialogue with narrated text. De Billy also replaces the dialogue with a piece called "Roccos Erzählung" (Rocco's Narrative), but has one of my favorite Leonores, Camilla Nylund, in the lead. Leitner's version also cuts portions of the score, and while I really like Anton Dermota's Florestan, I'm not keen on Hilde Zadek's Leonore. To my ears, her voice can sometimes take on an acidulous or vinegary quality. Jacobs' version, when it's finally released, will probably fit somewhere between De Billy and Leitner, pluses being Marlis Petersen and Maximilian Schmitt in the leads (and a generally fine cast overall), and minuses being Jacobs' breakneck tempos and tedious rewritten dialogue.

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