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Thread: Best Tannhauser?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Best Tannhauser?

    Only heard it a few times.

    best recordings?

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    Wow, that's a tough one! To begin, you have to deal with multiple versions of Tannhäuser. For many years, the conventional wisdom--probably reinforced by the C.F. Peters score--maintained that there were two versions, the original Dresden version (1845) and the revised Paris version (1861). In the form that the Paris version has come to be known, though, the scores is really a conflation of more than one set of revisions (including those for an 1875 Viennese production). The article on wikipedia can give you a good taste of what the issues are.

    Of the recordings I have, only one is of the Dresden version--the Haitink recording on EMI--and I find the performance underwhelming. I have two of the traditional Paris version: Solti and Sinopoli. While the Sinopoli has some great sounding singers--Placido Domingo, Andreas Schmidt, and Matti Salminen are the real standouts--Domingo's German is not very good. Worse, though, Sinopoli's conducting is some of the dullest I've ever heard. So if you want a Paris version in modern sound, you're probably stuck with Solti.

    Actually, my two favorite Tannhäusers are both hybrids of the traditional versions: Sawallisch and Barenboim. Sawallisch uses the Bacchanale from the Paris version, but he uses the Dresden score for the following Venus-Tannhäuser scene. Venus is the African-American soprano Grace Bumbry, in one of the most famous and controversial performances in the history of "New Bayreuth"--the idea of a "schwarze Venus" was a bit much for many in the early 1960s audience. Barenboim uses the Dresden version for the opening scene, but uses the Paris version for the Venus-Tannhäuser scene.

    In short, you really can't own just one Tannhäuser. But if you want a simple recommendation, go with Solti or Barenboim. Avoid Sinopoli and Haitink. If you can find the Sawallisch, you'll be glad you did.

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Nice first post...

    I like the Sawallisch Tannhäuser (and Anja Silja's Elisabeth) too. I also like Solti's rendition with a younger Kollo as Tannhäuser, the incomparable Crista Ludwig as Venus and Helga Dernesch as Elisabeth.

    The Sawallisch gives you the Bayrueth Orchestra, the Solti gives you the Vienna Philharmonic.

    Hate to have to choose between these two-- so I don't.
    Both of these recordings are in Medium Rotation on my chosen playback devices.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Rob

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Oh, dear...

    Just thinking about Dich, teure halle as an instrumental strikes me as 'Contra Naturam.'

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    This thread is a bit elderly but I've just acquired the Sallawisch which derives from a Wieland Wagner production at 1962 Bayreuth. A suitably frenzied Overture and Venusberg complete with cheer from cast as curtain went up!

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    I like Sinopoli. I think Domingo does a good job in this one.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    musicologyman: Of the recordings I have, only one is of the Dresden version--the Haitink recording on EMI--and I find the performance underwhelming. I have two of the traditional Paris version: Solti and Sinopoli. While the Sinopoli has some great sounding singers--Placido Domingo, Andreas Schmidt, and Matti Salminen are the real standouts--Domingo's German is not very good. Worse, though, Sinopoli's conducting is some of the dullest I've ever heard. So if you want a Paris version in modern sound, you're probably stuck with Solti.

    tann hu.jpg

    Respecfully, I couldn't disagree more. The Sinopoli Tannhauser has some of the most gorgeously-crafted Venusburg music I've ever heard-- where Sinopoli has me lolling voluptuously in Venus' scarlet paradise; his contours of the choral ending of the opera are magnificent; his "Entry of the Guests" is the most noble and spirited I've heard. . . But sure, to each his own; non disputandum.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_townPhilly View Post
    Nice first post...

    I like the Sawallisch Tannhäuser (and Anja Silja's Elisabeth) too. I also like Solti's rendition with a younger Kollo as Tannhäuser, the incomparable Crista Ludwig as Venus and Helga Dernesch as Elisabeth.

    The Sawallisch gives you the Bayrueth Orchestra, the Solti gives you the Vienna Philharmonic.

    Hate to have to choose between these two-- so I don't. Both of these recordings are in Medium Rotation on my chosen playback devices.
    solti tan.jpg

    Exactly. Indulge. Get them all. I love Christa Ludwig as Venus. Why stop the parade?-- join.

  13. #10
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    For the Dresden, I suggest this one.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    The Solti has been remastered and sounds better.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post


    For the Dresden, I suggest this one.
    I've read review which states something in the lines of "Windgassen's voice might be effete but the legendary tenor makes up for it with his experience".

    Uhm. I don't think any amount of experience, class or legendary status can help you when you sound simply bad. I would disrecommend this recording, especially for somebody about to hear Tannhauser for the first time. Kollo all the way.

    Or the 1978 Bayreuth for the DVD, where you get wagnerian yeller in the title role, but one with rather fine voice and some acting skills.
    Last edited by Aramis; Feb-07-2014 at 22:26.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I've read review which states something in the lines of "Windgassen's voice might be effete but the legendary tenor makes up for it with his experience".

    Uhm. I don't think any amount of experience, class or legendary status can help you when you sound simply bad. I would disrecommend this recording, especially for somebody about to hear Tannhauser for the first time. Kollo all the way.

    Or the 1978 Bayreuth for the DVD, where you get wagnerian yeller in the title role, but one with rather fine voice and some acting skills.
    Respectfully disagree. This is a fine Dresden version.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  18. #14
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Amazing how Sinopoli's conducting polarised opinions. Like Domingo's Wagner!

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicologyman View Post
    Wow, that's a tough one! To begin, you have to deal with multiple versions of Tannhäuser. For many years, the conventional wisdom--probably reinforced by the C.F. Peters score--maintained that there were two versions, the original Dresden version (1845) and the revised Paris version (1861). In the form that the Paris version has come to be known, though, the scores is really a conflation of more than one set of revisions (including those for an 1875 Viennese production). The article on wikipedia can give you a good taste of what the issues are.

    Of the recordings I have, only one is of the Dresden version--the Haitink recording on EMI--and I find the performance underwhelming. I have two of the traditional Paris version: Solti and Sinopoli. While the Sinopoli has some great sounding singers--Placido Domingo, Andreas Schmidt, and Matti Salminen are the real standouts--Domingo's German is not very good. Worse, though, Sinopoli's conducting is some of the dullest I've ever heard. So if you want a Paris version in modern sound, you're probably stuck with Solti.

    Actually, my two favorite Tannhäusers are both hybrids of the traditional versions: Sawallisch and Barenboim. Sawallisch uses the Bacchanale from the Paris version, but he uses the Dresden score for the following Venus-Tannhäuser scene. Venus is the African-American soprano Grace Bumbry, in one of the most famous and controversial performances in the history of "New Bayreuth"--the idea of a "schwarze Venus" was a bit much for many in the early 1960s audience. Barenboim uses the Dresden version for the opening scene, but uses the Paris version for the Venus-Tannhäuser scene.

    In short, you really can't own just one Tannhäuser. But if you want a simple recommendation, go with Solti or Barenboim. Avoid Sinopoli and Haitink. If you can find the Sawallisch, you'll be glad you did.
    I wonder how these ramifications play out in the realm of Tannhauser on DVD?






    Old thread. I know, but .....
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Jul-29-2019 at 17:28.
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