Cher Public

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The big sleep

It’s time yet once again for a listening quiz, cher public, courtesy of Our Own armerjaquino.

The following sound file contains snippets of 16 performances of the classic Richard Strauss song “Beim Schlafengehen,” and your task will be to identify all 16 singers in the correct order. Make your guesses in the comments section below, and the first commenter to guess all 16 correctly, or, failing that, the commenter with the highest number of correct identifications as of midnight on Thursday, July 5 will win a coveted Amazon.com Gift Card.

Here’s the clip, cher public, and off you go!

Beim Schlafengehen

98 comments

  • OMG

    6 -- Dorothea Roschmann

    I DO believe I have them all

  • Once again :

    1. Grummer
    2. Schwanewilms
    3. Cotrubas
    4. Isokoski
    5. Steber
    6. Roschmann
    7. Arroyo
    8. M. Price
    9. Janowitz
    10.Schwarzkopf 1954
    11.Della Casa
    12.Popp
    13.Merbeth
    14.Hendricks
    15.Eaglen
    16.Studer

    • kashania says:

      I listened to it again and it’s amazing how many pop out so obviously once you have a list in front of you. LOL. I must say, I’ve never heard of Merbeth.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      I couldn’t begin to guess the singers (way to lazy), but why hasn’t anyone even guessed Sena Jurinac, one of my favorites for the VVL???

      • Mine too. And the second ever performance to be recorded, too. But she is way too distinctive and simply not there.

        • irontongue says:

          Oh, must FIND that -- I love her so much.

          • It is a live concert from 1950, Stockholm under Busch in fair sound. Fresh and sprightly, Srebrenka and Busch don’t feel the need to ‘dig’ and ‘delve’ and overkill the music, which was brand new back then. It was the second public airing, after Flagstad’s 1949 Furtwangler concert.

            EMI Reference had it back in 1988 but I don’t know if it still available. However, Utube has it all, listen to the magnificent Fruhling

            BTW concering my beloved Srebrenka -- does anybody know if her Kostelnicka -- often with Soderstroem -- was documented in any way? She was so perfect for this role !

          • Hippolyte says:

            The Jurinac Kostelnicka has long been available on CD from Gala--a recording of the production she did in 1980 with Soderstrom in SF. It also appeared on one of Mike Richter’s invaluable 3 CD-rom set of over 60 complete performances documenting the Adler years in SF. I understand that the SF Opera wasn’t pleased and the set was withdrawn but it’s worth looking for (an Evelyn Lear Tatyana with her husband as Onegin in also included). I understand there was at some point an in-house recording of a Benackova-Jurinac Jenufa from Vienna also floating around but I’ve never heard it.

            As for a Jurinac VLL I prefer the later live version released on BBC Legends to that early Busch performance--it’s more settled, perhaps less free vocally but altogether indelible as I nearly always find Jurinac.

          • Thanks for the information Hippolyte! I’ll hunt it down. Never nknew there was a latter-day Jurinac Vll!!

          • Camille says:

            Thank you, dear Cerquetti Farrell, for bringing this Jurinac recording to my attention as I was unaware of her version(s). The BBC version is easily available, so you should have no trouble finding it

            I also find this version refreshing as I don’t care much for all that ‘delving’ and deliberating with these songs. Just the day before yesterday, I returned to the library the Flagstad/Furtwängler version, which I listen to from time to time. It is always a bit jarring to hear them sung in a different order than what we have become accustomed to, and of course she leaves out that top B(!), but, even with a distinctly middle-aged sounding voice and slower pace than Jurinac’s, the Songs do not sound as dug at, as they many times will, in later versions. And I like that, a lot. Oh, and I must note that the recording was made in May 1950, only two weeks after the death of Pauline de Ahna.

            Jurinac is a singer I’ve only discovered in the last dozen years and she has been a blessing to me. She makes me love music I wouldn’t ordinarily and does so in bewitching manner, because of her great insight and stillness.

            Have a happy midnight swim! I, too, like Rusalka, love to look up at the moon from my little swimming pond.

            Good luck in the contest; I am rooting for you, and love from
            Camilly

      • Clita del Toro says:

        VLL and too??

  • doktorlehar says:

    OK, here’s my try.

    1. Elisabeth Grümmer
    2. Anne Schwanewilms
    3. Ileana Cotrubas
    4. Soile Isokoski
    5. Eleanor Steber
    6. Dorothea Röschmann
    7. Martina Arroyo
    8. Elisabeth Söderström
    9. Gundula Janowitz
    10. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    11. Lisa della Casa
    12. Lucia Popp
    13. Ricarda Merbeth
    14. Barbara Hendricks
    15. Jane Eaglen
    16. Cheryl Studer

  • doktorlehar says:

    Oh, I guess you’re right.

    • The only one I’m not sure about is della Casa. There’s the tonal sheen, the slight H’s during the vocalise, so it might also be Teresa. But no, the H’s were more prominent with TSR, and she was consistently glottal, which the singer in 11 definitely is NOT.

  • doktorlehar says:

    No, I don’t think it’s Stich-Randall. I wasn’t sure about it being della Casa, either, which surprised me since she’s one of my all-time favorites. But that particular phrase, sung in a sort of mezzo voce, she doesn’t quite let her tone ring out and it could in fact be her. So I went with it.

    You’re right, I think, about No. 8. Vergogna!

    I have to say to armerjacquino that this was an exceptionally clever puzzle. Bravo to you.

  • Bravo indeed, AJ!

  • armerjacquino says:

    Thank you gentlemen, you’re very kind- I look forward to reading a correct answer! Every list posted so far has contained at least two errors.

    *evil cackle*

  • Tamerlano says:

    1. Grummer
    2. Schwanenwilms
    3. Cortrubas
    4. Isokoski
    5. Steber
    6. Soderstrom
    7. Arroyo
    8. M. Price
    9. Janowitz
    10. Rothenberger
    11. Della casa
    12. Popp
    13. Merbeth
    14. Hendricks
    15. Eaglen
    16. Studer

    • 6 is definitely Roschmann

      Checked Rothenberger. 10 ain’t her, unless there’s an earlier recording. 10-11 are in mono, 10 playing at a slightly lower pitch. The mono fact narrows the options.

      • Tamerlano says:

        Yes, I hear the Roschmann now, definitely. I am still stumped by 10…the tone is so bright like a Viennese light lyric…but who?

      • peter says:

        I still hear Soederstrom as no. 6:

        10,11,12 are still a complete mystery to me. I don’t hear Schwarzkopf, Della Casa and Popp. The problem is this portion of the song is very high lying and the distinctive parts of a soprano’s voice are more likely to be lower.

        The voices that immediately stuck out for me were Grummer, Cotrubas, Steber, Arroyo, Janowitz, Hendricks and Eaglan. The others take a million listenings and someone else’s tally sheet. I bet you there’s no Schwarzkopf or Popp on this list.

        • Listen to Roschmann at 1:13 -- exactly the same inflection on Still and Denken as no.6. One and the same. With Popp compare with the Tennstedt recording, the same ‘squeeze’, def the same recording. So its back to nos. 10-11.

  • Kilian says:

    Is Grümmer really the first one? I ‘hear’ that voice as Margaret Price, just as some people at the start of the thread have said. No. 8 has something ‘nordic’ to it: could that be Ingrid Bjoner?

  • doktorlehar says:

    OK, here goes again, after intensive study of the problem.

    1. Grümmer
    2. Schwanewilms
    3. Cotrubas
    4. Isokoski
    5. Steber
    6. Röschmann
    7. Arroyo
    8. M. Price
    9. Janowitz
    10. Schwarzkopf
    11. LOIS MARSHALL
    12. Popp
    13. Merbeth
    14. Hendricks
    15. Eaglen
    16. Studer

    • AFAIK Lois Marshall (whom I adore) has only 2 extant recordings of VLL -- one with piano / Gould and another live orchestral one in very distant sound with suspect tape intonation…. I wonder…

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    Here my final list:
    1. Grümmer
    2. Schwanewilms
    3. Cotrubas
    4. Isokoski
    5. Steber
    6. Röschmann
    7. Arroyo
    8. M. Price
    9. Janowitz
    10. Schwarzkopf
    11. Stich-Randall?
    12. Popp
    13. Merbeth
    14. Hendricks
    15. Eaglen
    16. Studer

    with some I am certain like 1-4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15 and some are guesses.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Looking at the list, 1-16, I am so impressed that you guys can identify a good number of the voices from such a short clip. I know or know of most of those singers, but haven’t heard enough of their work to even try to identify them and/or haven’t heard them in many years. Studer, Cotrubas, Isokowski, Röschmann, Hendricks, ,Janowitz are among those. Don’t know Merbeth at all. I have only seen five or six of them in person.

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    When do we get the correct answers Armer?

    • armerjacquino says:

      La Cieca has the answers, so I will of course leave it to her to announce them, and the winner.

    • Hippolyte says:

      As is clearly stated, the contest runs until midnight tonight (Thursday).

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    ok thanks

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    oh my mistake I thought it was midnight of the 4th going into the 5th.

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    I always wished that Lemnitz and Cebotari could have recorded them with their floating Strausian voices.

  • operalover9001 says:

    It would have been so much fun if the clips were all singers not associated with this cycle -- Marilyn Horne, Mirella Freni, Birgit Nilsson, Grace Bumbry, Montserrat Caballe