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Thread: Richard Wagner

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janspe View Post
    I have a feeling you're in for quite a shock when you reach Tristan und Isolde. The first time I encountered that work I felt like I've discovered a drug that can never be equaled by anything else - it was really intense...
    I'm very eager to meet it indeed! I definitely want it, to become myself an addict of that kind of works.

  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Welcome to the world of Wagnerians.
    You have so many wonders ahead of you.
    I've been listening to these operas for 30 years and I'm still blown away by them.
    Check out our Wagner threads in the opera and opera on cd forums.
    The scope and psychological depth of his works is unparalleled.
    And welcome to a lifetime of wonder.
    On to the Dutchman!
    Thank you! I know many of the orchestral excerpts from his operas and I can say they are magnificent, brilliant. The complete operas must be real experiences as was Rienzi. Now, Der Fliegende Holländer is coming!
    Last edited by MusicSybarite; Jun-24-2018 at 23:24.

  3. #153
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    Continuing with the Wagner opera project, this week I've played Der fliegende Holländer and Tannhäuser.





    Other two great works, overly more lyrical and romantic than Rienzi. Definitely there is plenty of wonderful music that I didn't know or I was unfamiliar with. I think my favorite parts are the imposing choruses, full of vigour and expressivity, also some gorgeous arias and duets. Of these 2 operas, I liked Tannhäuser the most. Little by little I have become accustomed to the length of such works, so I feel exhausted less and less (a good symptom I guess).

    Lohengrin will be my next opera.

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  5. #154
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    I saw my first Parsifal earlier this spring at the Finnish National Opera. What a shattering experience it was!

    It's simply astounding how time seemed to lose all meaning - the piece is a gigantic listening experience, but it felt like an hour. Much as I love the Meistersinger, witnessing that live a few years ago got to my nerves a little bit...

    For me, the opening prelude of Parsifal is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. And after that, there's still hours and hours worth of similarly great music to come.

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  7. #155
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    MusicSybarite--Here are a number of Wagner recordings that I wouldn't want to have missed along the way:

    1.) Tristan und Isolde, Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Carlos Kleiber. As much as I enjoy Margaret Price's beautiful (& in tune) Isolde (especially her singing at the opera's unforgettable, rapturous end, which Kleiber conducts brilliantly! and I'd suggest turning up the volume on this, way up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjMw...&frags=pl%2Cwn), the star of this recording is the Staatskapelle Dresden, and its conductor. I'd be hard pressed to come up with more in tune or better orchestral playing of a Wagner opera:



    By the way, the Staatskapelle has also recorded the Ring cycle (with Marek Janowski), Rienzi (with Heinrich Hollreiser), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (with Herbert von Karajan & Rudolf Kempe), and the Wesendonck lieder (with soprano Cheryl Studer, & conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli).

    2.) Tristan und Isolde, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, conducted by Sir Reginald Goodall. Goodall's view of Tristan is quite different from Kleiber's, and is worth hearing on that account. Linda Ester Gray's Isolde is excellent too. (Though I should warn you that Goodall was a Nazi sympathizer back in the 1930s, and later a fascist and holocaust denier--which he called a "BBC Jewish plot", so you may wish to avoid his recordings due to his ugly views.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiGc...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.amazon.com/Reginald-Good...+isolde+wagner
    https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Trista.../dp/B000025TTL
    http://www.bruceduffie.com/goodall.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM0C...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    Here too is a highly regarded 1981 live Tristan, conducted by Goodall at the English National Opera (sung in English):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Ee...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJSy91_gwc

    3.) In addition, there are classic mono Tristan und Isolde recordings from famed conductors Wilhelm Fürtwangler, Fritz Reiner, and Hans Knappertsbusch, which you'll probably want to explore somewhere down the road. However, I wouldn't suggest these historic recordings as your initial experience of the opera, since the sound quality is less than ideal. (Others have liked Karl Bohm's 1960s Tristan recording from Bayreuth, with Birgit Nilsson, while yet others have liked Leonard Bernstein's Philips recording, which was very controversial for its slow tempi when it first came out--though none other than Karl Bohm endorsed the recording.)

    4.) In conjunction with Tristan und Isolde, it's important to hear Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, a collection of 5 songs for female voice and piano (or orchestra), which Wagner composed while he was working on Tristan. The poems were written by Mathilde Wesendonck (which only became known in 1902), the wife of one of Wagner's patrons, Otto Wesendonck. Wagner and his wife Minna were living in exile at the time in a small cottage on the Wesendonck estate in Zürich. It is thought that Wagner became infatuated with Mathilde while composing Tristan on the estate. There has even been speculation that the two were having an adulterous love affair. Whether they did or not, it's most likely that Wagner's intense feelings for Matilde found expression in his opera, and in the Wesendonck lieder, as well. In fact, Wagner called two of the Wesendonck songs "studies" for Tristan und Isolde, and developed his musical ideas in the opera. For example, the 5th song, "Träume" is developed in the love duet from Act 2, while Wagner developed the 3rd Wesendonck song, "Im Treibhaus" for the prelude of Act 3.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMP5...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msad...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAg_...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mCO...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    5.) Tannhäuser, Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Georg Solti. I'm not normally a huge Solti fan, but he is very, very good with this Wagner opera (& also popular in the Ring cycle too). Wolfgang Sawallisch is likewise excellent in Tannhäuser (but Solti remains my 1st choice).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUNn...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbim...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tannh%...ner+tannhauser

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiW7...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tannha..._&dpSrc=detail

    6.) Lohengrin--This is another opera that I think especially highly of among Wagner's output (along with Tristan & Parsifal), and I treasure three recordings: from conductors Rudolf Kempe, Eugen Jochum (live at Bayreuth in 1954), and Rafael Kubelik on DG.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOtk...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Wk...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    7.) Parsifal--I'd most recommend conductor Hans Knappertsbusch for Parsifal, though I've also liked two other recordings as well--by Rafael Kubelik and Herbert von Karajan. Sir Reginald Goodall's 1971 Covent Garden Parsifal, with Jon Vickers in the title role, is also worth hearing, but bear in mind that it's a live performance and there are some mess ups. You might also enjoy the 1982 film by Hans Jürgen Syberberg, conducted by Armin Jordan--but probably not as your first experience of the opera (I haven't actually seen the film myself, but have heard others speak favorably of it over the years...):


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg6u...fYpusCFyhbslu6
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sndn...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGte...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    http://conradlosborne.com/2018/03/09...e-afterlife/6/

    https://www.amazon.com/Parzival-Wolf...nbach+parzival

    The Syberberg film can be seen in its entirety on You Tube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d7B...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    8) I'd also recommend that you check out musicologist Deryck Cooke's introductory audio discussion of the 'leitmotifs' in Der Ring des Nibelungen, recorded in 1967. Cooke died prematurely in his late 50s, but was working on a large-scale study of the Ring cycle, which would have likely been definitive; most regrettably, he only finished part of the first volume, which was later published as "I Saw the World End":



    https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-...s=deryck+cooke

    9.) Finally, Otto Klemperer is another essential Wagner conductor, in my opinion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_uj...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0B6...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-fliege...gner+klemperer

    P.S.--You might also enjoy this 2 CD "Essential Wagner" collection too (I have myself, as the sound quality is surprisingly good), and you can hear it for free on Amazon prime, if you're a member: https://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Gods...0SJDMRDNW0AF9K
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jul-13-2018 at 07:34.

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  9. #156
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    Hey many thanks Josquin13! What a great compilation of information and links! I realize this journey is going to be looong, so there are many other things to do and to listen to on the way. I'll have to be patient in order to appreciate properly these operas. I don't remember what recordings I have of the Wagner's operas besides the ones I already listened to, but I'll surely keep in mind your kind recommendations.

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    Senior Member lextune's Avatar
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    In the last two days I have re-watched the Barenboim Ring on Blu Ray. I have been through some very hard times of late, and it was the greatest escape I could hope for.

    I think both the Singers and Orchestra are in great form, with a tremendous energy. At times; second to very few ever captured.

    It has been decades since I watched the Boulez DVDs. I do believe I will now watch them too in the next few days. I hope I get half the enjoyment I got from the Barenboim.

    Thanks to all the goodness in this messy universe for Wagner's Art.
    Last edited by lextune; Oct-09-2018 at 01:49.

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  13. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    MusicSybarite--Here are a number of Wagner recordings that I wouldn't want to have missed along the way:...…..

    A super quality post! Thanks a lot my friend! Let us keep this thread alive.
    O my brave Soul!
    O farther, farther sail!
    O darling joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?
    O farther, farther, farther sail!

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    Senior Member Allerius's Avatar
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    I'm bumping this thread as a way of expressing my great esteem and admiration for Richard Wagner in his 206th birthday. Knowing his music was a major happening for me - it's what made me start to really enjoy classical. Listening to his magnificent operas has become one of the ultimate pleasures of my life, and I can't help but feel thankful for the man to have shared with us his immortal masterpieces.
    Last edited by Allerius; May-22-2019 at 21:31.
    “To do good whenever one can, to love liberty above all else, never to deny the truth, even though it be before the throne.” - Ludwig van Beethoven.

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  17. #160
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Thank you RW!
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  20. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janspe View Post
    I saw my first Parsifal earlier this spring at the Finnish National Opera. What a shattering experience it was!

    It's simply astounding how time seemed to lose all meaning - the piece is a gigantic listening experience, but it felt like an hour. Much as I love the Meistersinger, witnessing that live a few years ago got to my nerves a little bit...

    For me, the opening prelude of Parsifal is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. And after that, there's still hours and hours worth of similarly great music to come.

    Parsifal is something far superior to any music before it. and afterwards, as far as theatric composition. There is nothing even close as far as telling a story combining drama, , , tragedy and Germanic folk ideas, infused with Christian lore, myths, in Germanic lands. . . , It is epochal , lasting for the ages....Must be performed only by a qualified conductor and a superior orchestra. All others leave it alone.
    No music has ever been composed in that measure before.
    Which is why Debussy and the young Ravel , after experiencing Parsifal, could not sleep for one week

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    I think it's appropriate for Wagnerites to see that permeating this area of music we know as "classical" is a strong influence of Germanic culture which should be discussed not just for its great legacy of music, but unforunately for its hubris and mistakes of the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think it's appropriate for Wagnerites to see that permeating this area of music we know as "classical" is a strong influence of Germanic culture which should be discussed not just for its great legacy of music, but unforunately for its hubris and mistakes of the past.
    That's very vague. What do you mean by "permeating"? What is permeated by what? What do hubris and mistakes have to do with music? And why is whatever you're getting at "appropriate for Wagnerites?" Who are Wagnerites, and how do you know what's appropriate for them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    That's very vague. What do you mean by "permeating"? What is permeated by what? What do hubris and mistakes have to do with music? And why is whatever you're getting at "appropriate for Wagnerites?" Who are Wagnerites, and how do you know what's appropriate for them?
    Ever heard the expression "pi$$ing in the punch bowl?"

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