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This 5-CD set, devoted to the famous Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad, is a further release in the EMI Classics ICON series.

Kirsten Flagstad (1895–1962) enjoyed a successful career singing opera and operetta in Scandanavia, and was considering retirement when she was catapulted to international fame in 1935 after a sensational appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York singing Sieglinde, Isolde and Brünnhilde.

From 1935 until her retirement from the stage in 1953 she was the leading Wagnerian soprano of her day. Her powerful, radiant voice and seemingly inexhaustible vocal stamina were ideally suited to the most taxing roles in Wagner’s operas and she was universally acclaimed, especially as Isolde and Brünnhilde. She scored a particular success at Covent Garden and sang there under the three most famous Wagner conductors of the time: Reiner, Beecham and Furtwängler.

The first CD in the set opens with a group of Baroque arias by Handel, Bach, Purcell and Gluck that show off to advantage Flagstad’s superb voice and impeccable musicality. The remainder of this CD consists of Arne Dørumsgaard’s attractive arrangements of classical arias and songs from the collection Canzone scordate.

In her concert repertoire, Flagstad specialised in Norwegian songs and made many recordings of the vocal music of Grieg as well as other Scandanavian composers like Alf Hurum, Ole Bull and Christian Sinding, all of whom are represented on CD 2.

The third CD beings with a group of songs by Schubert, Beethoven, Bridge and Dørumsgaard, after which Flagstad gives a superb account of the five Wesendonck Lieder that Wagner wrote while composing Tristan und Isolde. This CD concludes with Elisabeth’s prayer ‘Allmächt’ge Jungfrau’ from Tannhäuser and ‘Siegmund! Sieh’ auf mich’ in which Brünnhilde tells Siegmund of his forthcoming death in the second act of Die Walküre. Siegmund is sung by the tenor Set Svanholm, who was one of Flagstad’s regular partners in the theatre and on disc.

The remaining two discs include extensive excerpts from Siegfried, Götterdämmerung and Tristan und Isolde, with Set Svanholm as Siegfried and Ludwig Suthaus as Tristan. The complete recording of Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler, is considered to be one of the finest opera recordings ever made.

Lykken mellem to mennesker
Bach, C P E:
Die Güte Gottes, Wq. 194/34 (H686)
Busslied (An dir Allein)
Preis sei dem Gotte
Bach, J S:
St Matthew Passion, BWV244: Erbarme dich
Vergiss mein nicht, BWV505
O finstre Nacht, wann wirst du doch vergehen, BWV492
Liebster Herr Jesu! wo bleibest du so lange?, BWV484
Komm süsser Tod, BWV478
Dir, dir Jehovah, will ich singen, BWV452
Jynge Mot Kveld (Eventide), Op. 42 No. 7
Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur ('Die Himmel rühmen des Ewigen Ehre'), Op. 48 No. 4
Böhm, G:
Geh’ ein, mein Leib, in deine Kammer
Love went a-riding
Bull, O:
Saeterjentens Søndag (The Herdgirl's Sunday)
Soccorretemi ch'io moro
Auf, auf mein Herz mit Freude
Gudrid stod ved stoveglas, Op. 11 No. 2
Natt, Op. 4 No. 1
Regn (from Op. 6)
Hjuring-lokk (from Dusk in the Enchanted Wood, Op. 8)
Spinnvettir (from Op.10)
Baan sull (from Op. 11)
Alle mann hadde fota, Op. 21 No. 2
Franck, J W:
Wie seh’ ich dich, mein Jesu, bluten
Sei nur still
Auf, auf! zu Gottes Lob!
Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)
Seks Sange, Op. 48 No. 6 'Ein Traum'
Tak for dit råd (from 4 Songs Op. 21)
Våren, Op. 33 No. 2
Fra Monte Pincio, Op. 39 No. 1
Guten (from 12 Songs Op. 33)
Eros (from 5 Songs Op. 70)
Ved Rondane (from 12 Songs Op. 33)
Seks Sange, Op. 48 No. 6 'Ein Traum'
En svane (No. 2 from Seks Digte af Henrik Ibsen, Op. 25)
Den særde (from 12 Songs Op. 33)
Med en vandlije, Op. 25 No. 4
The Princess, EG133
Tolv Melodier til Digte af Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, Op. 33 No. 5 'Langs ei Å'
Mens jeg venter (On the Water), Op. 60 No. 3
Med en Primula veris, Op. 26 No. 4
Og jeg vil ha mig hjertenskjaer (And I would like a sweetheart true), Op. 60 No. 5
Modersord (No. 4 from Four Songs, Op. 15)
Millom Rosor, Op. 39, No. 4
Ombra mai fu (from Serse)
Messiah: I know that my Redeemer liveth
Blonde nætter, Op. 13 No. 1
Lie, S:
O Ewigkeit
Thy hand, Belinda … When I am laid in earth (from Dido & Aeneas)
Die Allmacht, D852
Frühlingsglaube, D686
Wandrers Nachtlied II 'Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh', D768
Majnat, Op. 22 No. 3
Strauss, R:
Seitdem dein Aug' in meines schaute, Op. 17 No. 1
Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2
Wesendonck-Lieder (5)
Allmächt’ge Jungfrau! (from Tannhäuser)
Siegmund! Sieh' auf mich! (from Die Walküre)
Heil dir, Sonne! (from Siegfried)
Zu neuen Taten, teurer Helde (from Götterdämmerung)
Set Svanholm (Siegfried)
Helle Wehr, heilige Waffe (from Götterdämmerung)
Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort 'Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene' (from Götterdämmerung)
Tristan und Isolde (excerpts)
Ludwig Suthaus (Tristan), Blanche Thebom (Brangane)

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