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Thread: Tristan und Isolde

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Default Tristan und Isolde

    Any opinion(s) on this Opera by Wagner? I have a copy of the full opera on 3CDs with a very detailed booklet, certainly a good perches; just that here in Israel Wagner's operas are not preformed publicly due to his anti-Semitism and relations to the Nazis, I think back in 2000 there was an attempt to preform this opera and well...it didn't work out smoothly; anyhow, Jew hater or nor, this does not detach from his talent, and I love his operas; and, hey, if Israelis drive on Ford's cars, but not listen to Wagner's operas?
    Also regarding this specific opera, I liked the story very much, and I can feel the emotions bursting despite not speaking German; I actually wanted to learn German once but my family opposed...

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    Senior Member Bonetan's Avatar
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    You should search the forum a little bit! This opera has been THOROUGHLY discussed from every possible angle

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonetan View Post
    You should search the forum a little bit! This opera has been THOROUGHLY discussed from every possible angle
    That doesn't stay only in TUI. But many other operas and classical compositions. One should search on google if the thread has been created in Talk Classical.

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post
    That doesn't stay only in TUI. But many other operas and classical compositions. One should search on google if the thread has been created in Talk Classical.
    I apologize, but I still think this thread is relevant as I also pointed out the dilemma in Israel over Wagner's operas (though thankfully selling and buying them for private use is fine), which is important as I don't think there any people from Israel here aside of myself.
    Last edited by Clouds Weep Snowflakes; Apr-24-2019 at 22:18.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    True that about hypocrisy if Israelis are still driving Ford.

    Wagner is clearly an immense genius, and worthy of a place right up there with the greats: Beethoven, Bach, Mozart... and Wagner. Yet due to his awful words and poisonous worldview, and on suspicion that some of these ideals may come across in his works (he is an opera composer after all, and wrote his own librettos with the same proverbial pen he used to write "Jewishness in Music")... Well, let's just say that I'm not in a rush to get into his music, considering how many other great composers are out there that didn't write horrific things that posterity remembers as being on the wrong side of history.

    That being said... Tristan und Isolde is a total masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. Probably his greatest work in my eyes. I haven't heard nearly the whole thing but I know that to be true.

    If I WERE to buy a recording... which would it be? On the subject of his hatefulness, someone once recommended to me Barenboim's recording, because I guess a Jew conducting Wagner cancels out the anti-Semitism... right?

    Hmm... I always experience cognitive dissonance listening to, talking about, thinking about Wagner.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I feel genuinely sorry for people whose lives were affected by atrocities which, for whatever reason, make them uncomfortable with music they associate with terrible experiences and events. Nowadays most of those people are gone or very old, but there seem to be a surprising number of younger people who feel they must perpetuate a presumed "connection" between Wagner's operas and a vicious dictator who happened to love them. Some zealots have even tried to prove that the operas themselves are anti-Jewish.

    Sad to say, we've seen examples of that zealotry right here on TC. It would be good to keep it at bay. The subject is interesting, but it really belongs in another thread.

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    True that about hypocrisy if Israelis are still driving Ford.

    Wagner is clearly an immense genius, and worthy of a place right up there with the greats: Beethoven, Bach, Mozart... and Wagner. Yet due to his awful words and poisonous worldview, and on suspicion that some of these ideals may come across in his works (he is an opera composer after all, and wrote his own librettos with the same proverbial pen he used to write "Jewishness in Music")... Well, let's just say that I'm not in a rush to get into his music, considering how many other great composers are out there that didn't write horrific things that posterity remembers as being on the wrong side of history.

    That being said... Tristan und Isolde is a total masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. Probably his greatest work in my eyes. I haven't heard nearly the whole thing but I know that to be true.

    If I WERE to buy a recording... which would it be? On the subject of his hatefulness, someone once recommended to me Barenboim's recording, because I guess a Jew conducting Wagner cancels out the anti-Semitism... right?

    Hmm... I always experience cognitive dissonance listening to, talking about, thinking about Wagner.
    I have the "Deutsche Grammophon" one.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clouds Weep Snowflakes View Post
    I have the "Deutsche Grammophon" one.
    Which Deutsche Grammophon one? Tthe DG recording of the 1966 Bayreuth Festival Tristan, with Birgit Nilsson and Wolfgang Windgassen, conducted by Karl Bohm, is one of the most highly recommended. The DG recording with Helga Dernesch and Jon Vickers under Karajan is also recommendable, and the DG recording with Margaret Price and Rene Kollo under Kleiber has its partisans.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I feel genuinely sorry for people whose lives were affected by atrocities which, for whatever reason, make them uncomfortable with music they associate with terrible experiences and events. Nowadays most of those people are gone or very old, but there seem to be a surprising number of younger people who feel they must perpetuate a presumed "connection" between Wagner's operas and a vicious dictator who happened to love them. Some zealots have even tried to prove that the operas themselves are anti-Jewish.

    Sad to say, we've seen examples of that zealotry right here on TC. It would be good to keep it at bay. The subject is interesting, but it really belongs in another thread.
    To say nothing of Hitler and the Nazis, it's common knowledge that Wagner himself was vehemently anti-Semitic, as I'm sure you know. Is it that much of a stretch to believe that he would have inserted elements of his worldview into his operas? (Disclaimer: I'm not particularly familiar with any of his operas). I have particularly heard this accusation about the Ring cycle.

    You are probably right that this discussion belongs in another thread, but I was surprised to read such a submissive tone in your post. Pretty serious subject matter, I'd say.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Which Deutsche Grammophon one? Tthe DG recording of the 1966 Bayreuth Festival Tristan, with Birgit Nilsson and Wolfgang Windgassen, conducted by Karl Bohm, is one of the most highly recommended. The DG recording with Helga Dernesch and Jon Vickers under Karajan is also recommendable, and the DG recording with Margaret Price and Rene Kollo under Kleiber has its partisans.
    I have heard bits and pieces of the Kleiber and the Furtwängler. Of the two I preferred the latter, but would prefer something with slightly better sound (preferably in stereo). Between Böhm and Karajan, would you say one or the other is closer to the Furtwängler? (Assuming you are familiar with it; I know you are a huge Wagner fan so I don't think it's too big a stretch to assume you might be )

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    To say nothing of Hitler and the Nazis, it's common knowledge that Wagner himself was vehemently anti-Semitic, as I'm sure you know. Is it that much of a stretch to believe that he would have inserted elements of his worldview into his operas? (Disclaimer: I'm not particularly familiar with any of his operas). I have particularly heard this accusation about the Ring cycle.

    You are probably right that this discussion belongs in another thread, but I was surprised to read such a submissive tone in your post. Pretty serious subject matter, I'd say.
    As a longtime student of things Wagnerian, I know his works VERY well and his personal views rather well, and the question of antisemitism in relation to the operas is one I've spent a lot of time with. If you'd like to get into it, I'm game - but I don't think anyone can say much that's useful about Wagner's work until they've spent a fair bit of time with it.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Apr-25-2019 at 00:14.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I have heard bits and pieces of the Kleiber and the Furtwängler. Of the two I preferred the latter, but would prefer something with slightly better sound (preferably in stereo). Between Böhm and Karajan, would you say one or the other is closer to the Furtwängler? (Assuming you are familiar with it; I know you are a huge Wagner fan so I don't think it's too big a stretch to assume you might be )
    Honestly, the three performances are all very different in both the conducting and the singing. Furtwangler was unique, and in my view he got to the heart and soul of the opera like no one else; his Act 2 is sheer magic. Karajan likes sensuous sounds, which is very suitable in itself, and is closer to Furty in general style than Bohm, who is intense and feverish, an approach that makes for a powerful dramatic effect but sometimes slights the romance and beauty. For me the Karajan is important mainly for Vickers' intense Tristan. In my collection now I have the Bohm and the Furtwangler, the Domingo/Stemme/Pappano, the live 1952 Bayreuth performance under Karajan, the live Munich 1950 under Knappertsbusch, and the 1937 Met broadcast with Flagstad and Melchior under Bodanzky.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    As a longtime student of things Wagnerian, I know his works VERY well and his personal views rather well, and the question of antisemitism in relation to the operas is one I've spent a lot of time with. If you'd like to get into it, I'm game - but I don't think anyone can say much that's useful about Wagner's work until they've spent a fair bit of time with it.
    Definitely going to defer to you on this one. I wasn't making any claims one way or the other, just that I've heard it said and that it's entirely possible, which is one reason why I've been less than thrilled at the prospect of exploring his works. (The length of the operas is another).

    Hmm... choices... I'll sample all 3 when I have time. If I'm gonna have any full Wagner opera in my collection I think it should be this one.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Definitely going to defer to you on this one. I wasn't making any claims one way or the other, just that I've heard it said and that it's entirely possible, which is one reason why I've been less than thrilled at the prospect of exploring his works. (The length of the operas is another).

    Hmm... choices... I'll sample all 3 when I have time. If I'm gonna have any full Wagner opera in my collection I think it should be this one.
    Don't let anything you've read scare you off of Wagner. He, like many other people (including some famous composers) made antisemitic statements, but to find anything of that nature in his operas you have to be determined to read them in. A Jewish friend of mine, introduced to the Ring and knowing nothing about it except what he'd heard from who knows what non-authoritative sources, said with some surprise, "well, there's nothing Nazi about this." He was correct.

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