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Thread: Wagner opera on disc.......Tannhauser

  1. #46
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    My brand of Christianity is found in the New Testament. The Inquisition occurred because people tried to suppress a return to the New Testament. That is history.
    Regardless of the specifics, Christianity has never been a single unified system of belief. Even the New Testament itself does not contain such unity; Paul's Christianity is hardly a necessary extrapolation from the teachings of Christ, who in turn is not presented with complete consistency in the several books that some Christians want to consider literally biographical.

    "Christian," in a cultural sense, doesn't have to match anyone's religion, but it will imply certain basic philosophical and ethical ideas. Wagner shares these to a greater degree than he's often thought to, and I see nothing un-Christian about the ideas presented in Tannhauser. What do you see?

  2. #47
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Tut, tut, boys. No religion please. Stick to the OP. Keep the religious debate for the appropriate forum or PMs or I'll be forced to bring up my paganism.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Oct-24-2017 at 09:41.
    Remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil

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  4. #48
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Regardless of the specifics, Christianity has never been a single unified system of belief. Even the New Testament itself does not contain such unity; Paul's Christianity is hardly a necessary extrapolation from the teachings of Christ, who in turn is not presented with complete consistency in the several books that some Christians want to consider literally biographical.

    "Christian," in a cultural sense, doesn't have to match anyone's religion, but it will imply certain basic philosophical and ethical ideas. Wagner shares these to a greater degree than he's often thought to, and I see nothing un-Christian about the ideas presented in Tannhauser. What do you see?
    As has been said, this is not the place to debate religion. Just to say that many of us who have studied Paul's letters and Christ's teaching find them perfectly in harmony when rightly understood. We know the gospels are not biographies in the modern sense but that does not make them any the less true, any more than it disqualifies other ancient writings that historians refer to. In fact there is vast;y more textual evidence for the New Testament than most other ancient writings.

    The word 'Christian' was first used to describe believers at Antioch. That is the way I use it.

    Actually nothing in Tannhauser accords much with the Christianity of the New Testament. Wagner liked his religious mumbo-jumbo based on sources of mediaeval myths. That was his privilege.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2017 at 10:23.

  5. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Wagner liked his religious mumbo-jumbo based on sources of mediaeval myths. That was his privilege.
    To say the Wagner liked his religious mumbo-jumbo is to completely misunderstand Wagner, which of course you do.

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  7. #50
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    To say the Wagner liked his religious mumbo-jumbo is to completely misunderstand Wagner, which of course you do.
    What do we call it then?

    But never mind. Solti's Tannhauser make the most if it anyway!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2017 at 12:32.

  8. #51
    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Tut, tut, boys. No religion please. Stick to the OP. Keep the religious debate for the appropriate forum or PMs or I'll be forced to bring up my paganism.


    And mine too:


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  10. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Of course he was right to do whatever he wanted to do... but he was priggish, though he probably felt he was just being a good Christian.

    Not singing Tannhauser was Vickers' personal preference. He didn't like the character or the opera. But he never understood Wagner. He saw the work as an attack on Christianity. What it really is is an attack on hypocrisy and...priggishness! Tannhauser is a character torn between the repressiveness of a hypocritical, medieval Christian culture - nothing surprising or unhistorical there - and his own need to express his full humanity, as represented by his sensual side. Elisabeth, a healthy young woman who, though part of that culture, is not hypocritical, can love Tannhauser and defend him, and ultimately save his soul through her own love and death, canceling out the damnation pronounced by the Pope.

    It's actually very Christian, though anti-ecclesiastical. Vickers didn't get it.
    Bravo! My thoughts (and feelings exactly).

    N.

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  12. #53
    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Default Wagner Challenge update - Favourite MONO Tannhäuser

    Three winners:
    All include the Paris Bacchanal



    Wagner
    TANNHÄUSER WWV 70, DRESDEN VERSION Live recording
    Wolfgang Windgassen
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Victoria de los Ángeles
    Grace Bumbry
    Gerhard Stolze
    Franz Crass
    Georg Paskuda
    Theo Adam
    Josef Greindl
    Else-Margrete Gardelli

    Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
    Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orfeo/MYTO (1961, Remastered Edition)




    Wagner
    TANNHÄUSER WWV 70, DRESDEN VERSION Live recording
    Wolfgang Windgassen
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Gré Brouwenstijn
    Hertha Wilfert
    Josef Traxel
    Toni Blackenheim
    Gerhard Stolze
    Alfons Herwig
    Josef Greindl
    Volker Horn

    Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
    André Cluytens
    Orfeo/Walhall (1955, Remastered Edition)




    Wagner
    TANNHÄUSER WWV 70, DRESDEN VERSION Live recording
    Lauritz Melchior
    Herbert Janssen
    Kirsten Flagstad
    Kerstin Thorborg
    John Dudley
    Mark Harrell
    Emery Darcy
    John Gurney
    Emanuel List
    Maxine Stellman

    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Erich Leinsdorf
    MYTO (1941/2010 Remastered Edition)


    There were not many recordings to test, so I’m quite happy with the results. The one that left me very cold was the Bayreuth Keilberth in 1954. Brouwenstijn is an excellent Elisabeth, but Ramón Vinay did not impress me with his bassy title character (plus, the cue). The only things that needed to change were the conductor and Tannhäuser. The Karajan Vienna recording mostly lacked a good male cast, including a dreary Beirer. Ludwig’s Venus and the Wiener Staatsoper under Karajan were the ones to applaud here.

    There are three winners, one tougher, another which is very good for the age and an overall winner that can perfectly confront Solti or Barenboim, just a pity that it wasn’t recorded in stereo.

    The third best is an old Metropolitan Broadcast conducted by Erich Leinsdorf in 1941. The main stars are Flagstad’s Elisabeth (quite Flagstady unfortunately, and not really living up to her legend) and Melchior’s Tannhäuser (very Melchiory too, fascinating, at his peak). It depends on your taste for these two. Janssen’s Wolfram and Thorborg’s Venus are in good shape compared to them. The only issue is Melchior being out of tempo in the Venusberg song in the constest, rushed. The sound is ok.

    The second best and one that could stand as a first choice, is the Cluytens recording from Bayreuth 1955 (consider the same comparison Orfeo/Walhall/MYTO: Orfeo has no noise floor). Here you will find Windgassen’s Tannhäuser in great voice, probably your favourite because it is very different to 61 and 62, and of course 68. He is more lightweight. Do not overlook Cluytens’ good conducting. The whole cast is perfect in Act I, really competitive compared to stereo recordings. Wilfert and Brouwenstijn improve a lot their 1954 performances. And finally, nothing can prepare you to Fischer-Dieskau’s Wolfram. No one will ever match him. That’s all I can say. Excellent cast, but the interpretation does not reach the peaks of the following Sawallisch premiere in 1961:

    The Sawallisch first Tannhäuser in 1961 is the total revolution and the testament of Bayreuth in the early 60s with an unsurpassable, spotless cast. Windgassen in 61 starts to break his character adding a more dramatic, bassier voice that reveals a whole new different persona. He would pay for it in the dull commercial recording one year later, unfortunately. Grace Bumbry and Victoria de los Ángeles are in Meier/Studer levels of power and deliver their best to develop the drama with Windgassen. And the song contest scene is spotless with Windgassen and DFD, who is still as good as in 1954 and it’s a shame that he could not attend more Bayreuth performances from so on. This recording is my favourite mono Tannhäuser and on par with Barenboim.


    4th: Karajan WStO 63
    5th: Keilberth BFO 54

    Open question: why did Philips record the 62 Tannhäuser instead of 61? Was it a contract issue about VDLA and DFD?

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  14. #54
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Open question: why did Philips record the 62 Tannhäuser instead of 61? Was it a contract issue about VDLA and DFD?
    That would be my guess. IIRC, in the early 60's both were exclusive EMI artists.

    BTW, your top choice, the 1961 recording, has been issued by Orfeo in better sound:

    tann.jpg

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  16. #55
    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    I already know, wkasimer. Thank you. In Spotify it sounds beautifully, but I can stand the noise floor in Myto, Andromeda and Walhall. That's why I put their pictures and those are the editions I want to purchase (so I can save up and buy even more recordings)

  17. #56
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    I've finished the Sinopoli Tannhäuser. Pretty good from an orchestral point of view. Well sung in the main but I'm not entirely convinced by Domingo. His singing is beautifully musical but Tannhäuser himself needs more than just good singing. He just lacks something, and I hesitate to say this, heroic. Baltsa is fine as Venus as is Studer as Elisabeth if a little lightweight. Schmidt has too much vibrato going on for my personal taste and Salminen sounds like, well, Salminen! The real star of the show is Sinopoli who gets some great sonic balances from the orchestra and it's not too badly recorded for DG in the 80's.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Feb-06-2018 at 14:31.
    Remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil

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  19. #57
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I've finished the Sinopoli Tannhäuser. Pretty good from an orchestral point of view. Well sung in the main but I'm not entirely convinced by Domingo. His singing is beautifully musical but Tannhäuser himself needs more than just good singing. He just lacks something, and I hesitate to say this, heroic.
    What he lacks is any emotional connection with the role. He sings this role the same way he sings everything - the notes are there, and he sings fairly musically, but I hear absolutely nothing interpretively.

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  21. #58
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Tannhauser is the Wagnerian opera which I return to the least often. * but this week I did play the '62 Sawallisch/Windgassen/Silja recording from Bayreuth. Mention has been made about Jon Vickers as priggish, personally I think that describes everyone at the Wartburg. They call that a song contest?

    * Not that Lohengrin, Tristan, Parsifal and Siegried are that much further ahead ... or even act 2 of Walkure

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  23. #59
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Miaow!! Saucer of milk for Becca methinks!
    Remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil

  24. #60
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    Mention has been made about Jon Vickers as priggish, personally I think that describes everyone at the Wartburg. They call that a song contest?
    Tannhauser's sentiments exactly.

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