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Thread: Wagner on disc...Tristan and Isolde

  1. #16
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I've listened to the Karajan on EMI and the fiddling with the knobs and odd balances ruin it for me.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  2. #17
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    My next Tristan.
    I like Knappy and it gets great reviews.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  4. #18
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post


    My next Tristan.
    I like Knappy and it gets great reviews.
    Definitely recommended, despite crummy sound. Kna doesn't disappoint, and Treptow was a nice surprise, as I'd read only negatives about him. We should have him around today.

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  6. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    I really have trouble with this opera. Where the Ring operas suite me just fine in length, this one feels too long.
    I won't say I dislike it, and sometimes I can say I enjoy it but it always feels like such an effort is expended.

    Nevertheless I have multiple versions, in search of a satisfying one. Barenboim has my favorite first act and Isolde (Waultraude Meier) and Bohm I think my favorite overall.
    I love Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, but Tristan's an ordeal.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taplow View Post
    The (Carlos) Kleiber studio recording was my first ever Tristan, and Margaret Price's "Mild und Leise" is still my go-to by a country mile. Have also added the Karajan (Vickers), Furtwängler (52), and Böhm (Bayreuth) ... so it seems I've come to the conclusion arrived at by most others. I've never been particularly interested in adding anything new to this list.
    Yeah, if they were the only four I had I would be well satisfied.
    Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate!

  9. #21
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    This is a work I admire but have never grown to love, and I have invested in the various versions listed below

    Karajan / Bayreuth - the most intense performance on disc. Karajan had to be helped from the pit afterwards. Terrific from Modl, Vinay, Hotter. A white hot occasion

    Furtwangler - a classic with Flagstad past her best but still giving the young'uns a run for their money

    Bohm 1966 - live - I find Nilsson, despite some terrific singing, wanting in human emotion. Windgassen is over-parted but most tenors are.

    Karajan 2 with Vickers and Denersch - my favourite pair. Conducted on a broader scale than before? The playing of the BPO is a thing of wonder

    Kleiber - worth hearing for Price and Kleiber. Sadly Kollo sounds past it and so does D F-D in spades.

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  11. #22
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Decca missed the chance when they recorded Tristan with Solti when they had Karajan under contract. Culshaw and Karajan working together at that point might have produced something memorable, despite the journeyman Tristan. As it was Solti (as he admits in his autobiography) was too inexperienced and the result was an over-driven recording with not very imaginative singing. Karajan of course was annoyed that his orchestra was recording an opera that was one of his specialities and set about sabotaging the recording by demanding (and getting) sessions of his own that caused the whole Tristan set to be dismantled and reassembled every day. Not the brightest of Culshaw's decisions as a recording producer even though the Tristan sold well at the time.

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  13. #23
    Senior Member Faustian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    I really have trouble with this opera. Where the Ring operas suite me just fine in length, this one feels too long.
    I won't say I dislike it, and sometimes I can say I enjoy it but it always feels like such an effort is expended.
    Technically speaking, most performances of Tristan last about as long as Die Walküre or Siegfried, and the longer ones about the length of Götterdämmerung. Yet I think I can understand why there are those that struggle with it -- in a way, almost the whole opera operates on a similar level to Wotan's monologue in the Die Walküre: it's both a narration of backstory and carrying us into the character's state of mind, revealing their needs, desires and innermost turmoil. I'd be curious to know if those who view Wotan's monologue as one big longueur are also the ones who tend to find Tristan und Isolde rather tedious.

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    Senior Member Faustian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Yeah, if they were the only four I had I would be well satisfied.
    Me as well, but I still think Martha Mödl's Isolde for Karajan in 1952 is essential listening for any lover of this opera.
    Last edited by Faustian; Oct-20-2017 at 16:17.

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  16. #25
    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faustian View Post
    Technically speaking, most performances of Tristan last about as long as Die Walküre or Siegfried, and the longer ones about the length of Götterdämmerung. Yet I think I can understand why there are those that struggle with it -- in a way, almost the whole opera operates on a similar level to Wotan's monologue in the Die Walküre: it's both a narration of backstory and carrying us into the character's state of mind, revealing their needs, desires and innermost turmoil. I'd be curious to know if those who view Wotan's monologue as one big longueur are also the ones who tend to find Tristan und Isolde rather tedious.
    Sorry for the confusion. I know the lengths are similar. I meant that I get caught up in the drama of the Ring in a way that I don't with Tristan. I meant the length of the Ring operas are not tedious to me in the way that Tristan's length is
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  17. #26
    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Default Wagner Challenge update - Favourite STEREO TUI

    Two big winners



    Wagner
    TRISTAN UND ISOLDE WWV 90
    Siegfried Jerusalem
    Waltraud Meier
    Marjana Lipovsek
    Falk Struckmann
    Matti Salminen
    Johan Botha
    Peter Maus

    Chor der Berliner Staatsoper
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Dabiel Barenboim
    Warner Classics (1995)




    Wagner
    TRISTAN UND ISOLDE WWV 90
    Jon Vickers
    Helga Dernesch
    Christa Ludwig
    Walter Berry
    Karl Ridderbusch
    Bernd Weikl
    Peter Schreier

    Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Herbert von Karajan
    Warner Classics (1972/1994 Remastered Edition)


    Honourable mentions:



    Kleiber DG: Surprisingly fine cast, with M. Price and B. Fassbaender as the highlights, while Kollo and late Fischer-Dieskau impress me too.
    Böhm: brisk and detailed orchestral sound of the Bayreuther Festspiele; it's very fine (except Ludwig's Bragäne, never of my taste) in all singers. Same vibes as the 62 Lohengrin.
    Bernstein: I appreciate this more than Böhm because there is a sense of discovery. Most fascinating orchestral playing over Karajan with highlight in Act III. If only the cast was better. Behrens and Minton are quite lightweight and can defend themselves, what I cannot bear with is the male cast led by a burnt Hofmann.

    I would swear by listening to Solti's recording that Wagner was experimenting with atonality in Act I, but his overall interpretation as well as the singers, is quite all over the place. But with some shots of Kleiber and Böhm, I can know what this opera is about.

    For this I have two references of TUIs: the aesthetic and the anguished. Both are excellent and almost unbeatable by mono recordings.

    Karajan (aesthetic)
    Just thumbs down again for Christa Ludwig. I cannot enjoy her in that role. Karajan, the BPO, Dernesch and Vickers (Act III) are unbeatable, only on par with the Barenboim recording. I really liked Dernesch's voice from the beginning, but not Vickers. Act III with a soulful Berry as Kurwenal and the own Vickers were enough to mesmerize me. With this interpretation, this opera cannot be more "beautiful".

    Barenboim (anguished)
    I seriously have an issue with this staggering version. Do never recommend this to people with heart condition. The Barenboim BPO orchestration can leave you breathless with the constant intensity and the superpowers of Jerusalem, Meier and Salminen can also contribute to give you a headache. High tension everywhere. Jerusalem's Tristan is surprisingly lyrical (where was he in his Lohengrin?). Meier is a highly drama-queen Isolde. Salminen conveys pain as Marke and Struckmann's Kurwenal improves when joined by the orchestra in Act III.
    The soloists are as superb as in Tannhäuser, but it's again about to give me a heart attack. I always hoped that I could reccomend this "modern" recording to people, but I'm afraid I cannot do so because this might put their health in peril.

  18. #27
    Senior Member Taplow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taplow View Post
    The (Carlos) Kleiber studio recording was my first ever Tristan, and Margaret Price's "Mild und Leise" is still my go-to by a country mile. Have also added the Karajan (Vickers), Furtwängler (52), and Böhm (Bayreuth) ... so it seems I've come to the conclusion arrived at by most others. I've never been particularly interested in adding anything new to this list.
    I did say I wasn't interested in adding anything new, but have since added the Bernstein, which I saw at a good price in original packaging. Now I just have to find time to listen to it. Not so easy!

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  20. #28
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post

    Honourable mentions:



    Kleiber DG: Surprisingly fine cast, with M. Price and B. Fassbaender as the highlights, while Kollo and late Fischer-Dieskau impress me too.
    Böhm: brisk and detailed orchestral sound of the Bayreuther Festspiele; it's very fine (except Ludwig's Bragäne, never of my taste) in all singers. Same vibes as the 62 Lohengrin.
    Bernstein: I appreciate this more than Böhm because there is a sense of discovery. Most fascinating orchestral playing over Karajan with highlight in Act III. If only the cast was better. Behrens and Minton are quite lightweight and can defend themselves, what I cannot bear with is the male cast led by a burnt Hofmann.

    I would swear by listening to Solti's recording that Wagner was experimenting with atonality in Act I, but his overall interpretation as well as the singers, is quite all over the place. But with some shots of Kleiber and Böhm, I can know what this opera is about.

    For this I have two references of TUIs: the aesthetic and the anguished. Both are excellent and almost unbeatable by mono recordings.

    Karajan (aesthetic)
    Just thumbs down again for Christa Ludwig. I cannot enjoy her in that role. Karajan, the BPO, Dernesch and Vickers (Act III) are unbeatable, only on par with the Barenboim recording. I really liked Dernesch's voice from the beginning, but not Vickers. Act III with a soulful Berry as Kurwenal and the own Vickers were enough to mesmerize me. With this interpretation, this opera cannot be more "beautiful".

    Barenboim (anguished)
    I seriously have an issue with this staggering version. Do never recommend this to people with heart condition. The Barenboim BPO orchestration can leave you breathless with the constant intensity and the superpowers of Jerusalem, Meier and Salminen can also contribute to give you a headache. High tension everywhere. Jerusalem's Tristan is surprisingly lyrical (where was he in his Lohengrin?). Meier is a highly drama-queen Isolde. Salminen conveys pain as Marke and Struckmann's Kurwenal improves when joined by the orchestra in Act III.
    The soloists are as superb as in Tannhäuser, but it's again about to give me a heart attack. I always hoped that I could reccomend this "modern" recording to people, but I'm afraid I cannot do so because this might put their health in peril.
    You make interesting points. For Kleiber I find D F-D awful - right over the hill vocally. Kollo thin of voice.

    Bohm is brisk but I don't find I hear orchestral detail that well. Nilsson is in tremendous voice but I just can't love her. Windgassen a bit thin by that stage. I think Ludwig is fine btw

    With Solti Culshaw tried out a sonic stage system which didn't work. Solti would liked to have recorded it again. They should have got Karajan in to conduct.

    Karajan 2 is my favourite. Love the pair of Vickers and Denersch and Karajan's way with it. I know it has been criticised but the playing of the BPO is marvellous. His very different Bayreuth performance is absolutely thrilling but don't know whether it is one to live with.,

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  22. #29
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    52 was a great year for Tristans, Furtwangler Pristine XR and Karajan Bayreuth Orfeo.....
    Furtwangler gets studio recording and Flagstadt still in great voice with a wealth of experience, magical things happen here with the synthesis of sound and vocal art........

    52 Karajan goes out in a blaze of glory final season at Bayreuth with searing performance by Modl & Vinay, not your father's HVK an all out assault to take the wagner throne, not to be missed wagner


    Listening to many many Tristans this week, and I keep coming back to the 52 Furtwangler in Pristine XR remaster as my reference, if I could only have one this is it. The clarified sound beautifully highlights what an amazing Isolde Flagstadt was, her voice here reveals color and nuance expertly applied to each scence, wonderfully in harmony with the orchestral themes never strained or harsh.......natural and effortless rendering of each scence.

    I do prefer Flagstadt here to Nilsson who will soon after dominate the role on stage and in recording studio, although Birgit's voice is powerful and clear for me she does not have the shading, depth and color Kirsten has, I here more character and artistically used tonal variation the enlightens each scence with Kirsten, I find her fascinating and exotic with a new twist around each corner, Pristine XR really amplifies this.......Nilsson can become a bit too predictable and almost tiring for me.

    For Tristan I have new appreciation for Suthaus especially in the act 2 lovers sections, his vocal blending with Kirsten works wonderfully and vocally do not think I would trade him for either of the other two famous Tristans of that time: Vinay or Windgassen, I think he is their equal and perhaps with Kirsten even better match artistically (Furtwangler may have also shared this view)

    Furtwangler has the mastery of this orchestral score like no other, there were several times when I was hearing wonderful new music lines buried by other conductors, and his ability to harmonize voice and free flowing music creating a wonderous union is really special talent

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Dec-03-2017 at 04:54.

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  24. #30
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    For Tristan I have new appreciation for Suthaus especially in the act 2 lovers sections, his vocal blending with Kirsten works wonderfully and vocally do not think I would trade him for either of the other two famous Tristans of that time: Vinay or Windgassen, I think he is their equal and perhaps with Kirsten even better match artistically (Furtwangler may have also shared this view)
    If you like Suthaus' Tristan, as I do, you should seek out a couple of other recordings. There's a complete recording with Konwitschny from 1950 that finds him in somewhat fresher voice, but the rest of the cast is mostly disappointing (with the notable exception of Gottlob Frick as Marke). This was issued by Preiser, but is now OOP.

    The other one is a live performance from Berlin in 1947:

    61eKs+-qn2L._SS500.jpg

    Unfortunately, it's only Act 2 and 3, but both Suthaus and Furtwangler are fantastic here, both better than on the commercial recording.

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