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A sublime way to take note of Wagner's birthday

Robin Williams

OK, I couldn't just offer the mirth of Midweek Madness to mark the Wagner bicentennial today. (I think it quite decent of the old chap to have his 200th birthday fall on a Wednesday, so I could slip him into my weekly, widely and wildly clamored for featurette.)

I had to offer something a bit more serious for your listening pleasure. So I chose something sublime, too. If I had to pick the greatest Wagnerian moment on disc lasting no more than five minutes, I think it would have to be this 1932 gem:

The Quintet from "Die Meistersinger," featuring Lauritz Melchior, Elisabeth Schumann, Friedrich Schorr, Gladys Parr and Ben Williams, conducted by John Barbirolli, who gently sculpts la performance of exquisite beauty and shimmering humanity. Pure heaven.

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