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Thread: Tannhäuser: Different Scores

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Default Tannhäuser: Different Scores

    Oh boy, get ready for a torrent of questions!

    I am reading the booklet that comes with the Haitink recording of Tannhäuser. It says that there are "at least four performance stages of completion" of the opera. From what I understand, the four versions are the original version, the Dresden version, the Paris version, and the Vienna version.

    1. What does the booklet mean by "at least four"?

    Also, from my understanding, what is normally referred to as the Paris version is actually the Vienna version since the true Paris version is in French with the overture separated from the extended ballet with a pause (i.e., it is not a continuous piece.)

    2. Are there any recordings of the original premiere version or the legitimate Paris version?

    3. Wikipedia lists the differences in the ending of the original version and other versions; are there other differences in the ending aside from what Wikipedia lists (assuming Wikipedia is right)?

    I ask #3 partly because someone in a YouTube comment seemed to think that Tannhäuser went away with Venus at the end of the original version. I have a feeling that the person was confusing the opera with the legend, but I would like a second opinion.

    The booklet also says that there are three versions of the Prelude to Act III. The Act III Prelude is beautiful! I want to hear these versions!

    4. Have the different versions of the Act III Prelude been recorded?

    The booklet also says that there are "at least three of the Shepherd Boy's cor anglais solo".

    5. Have these three cor anglais solos been recorded?

    Well, there they are (unless I think of more!).

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I've never heard of any recording of a Tannhauser using a pre-Dresden version or the version of the Paris premiere with the original overture followed by the ballet. And I can't imagine anyone nowadays choosing to record it in French, which would not constitute a "legitimate" option such as the two languages set by Verdi in Don Carlos/Don Carlo.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    There's actually a Munich version as well but that was essentially the same as the Vienna version with two major differences. First, as it was in Dresden version and in Paris in 1861, the overture was performed as a separate piece, while in Vienna the overture was shortened and dovetailed into the beginning of Bacchanale as Wagner had intended to be done in Paris as well. Second, the first verse of Tannhäuser's "Hymn to Venus/Love" along with Venus's reply was cut in Munich while in Vienna all three verses were sung. This is at least some of the information I managed to find but I think it proves effectively why we must say "at least four versions". I think we are not aware of all the additional versions and changes Wagner might have made because he wasn't ever entirely satisfied with the final outcome and thus kept messing around with it.

    At the moment there are also many recordings that mix the main Dresden and Paris versions so I'd say that it's rather difficult to differentiate between all of them. And I'm quite happy with Tannhäuser sung in German!
    Last edited by annaw; May-23-2020 at 12:03.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if there are any differences between the Paris version and Vienna version other than the language and overture and ballet joined together. I don't understand why recordings refer to the Vienna version as the Paris version unless there is some other difference.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    I'm wondering if there are any differences between the Paris version and Vienna version other than the language and overture and ballet joined together. I don't understand why recordings refer to the Vienna version as the Paris version unless there is some other difference.
    There might actually not be any other major changes - that's why it's sometimes called Paris-Vienna version. If you are truly interested then you might find this article by Carolyn Abbate useful: https://online.ucpress.edu/jams/arti...the-VenusVenus
    Last edited by annaw; May-23-2020 at 18:34.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    I'm wondering if there are any differences between the Paris version and Vienna version other than the language and overture and ballet joined together. I don't understand why recordings refer to the Vienna version as the Paris version unless there is some other difference.
    It's probably just a shortened way of saying "the version with the new music written for the Paris premiere."

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    There might actually not be any other major changes - that's why it's sometimes called Paris-Vienna version. If you are truly interested then you might find this article by Carolyn Abbate useful: https://online.ucpress.edu/jams/arti...the-VenusVenus
    This is a very good article. I think I am going to listen to some of my Tannhäusers that purport to be either the Dresden Versions or the Paris versions following the Eulenburg full score and try to work out what parts of the score they are actually using. If there are deviations I shall try and clarify them to my own satisfaction in the first instance. If I find anything significant I will post it. Ostensibly the Solti studio version is the Paris but with a reversion to the Dresden somewhere in Act 2! Or so it is said! Yikes. The wonderful world of Wagnerology! Never a dull moment, eh?
    Last edited by Barbebleu; May-23-2020 at 23:29.
    I’m playing 3D chess in my head while the rest of you are playing Hungry Hippos!

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    This is a very good article. I think I am going to listen to some of my Tannhäusers that purport to be either the Dresden Versions or the Paris versions following the Eulenburg full score and try to work out what parts of the score they are actually using. If there are deviations I shall try and clarify them to my own satisfaction in the first instance. If I find anything significant I will post it. Ostensibly the Solti studio version is the Paris but with a reversion to the Dresden somewhere in Act 2! Or so it is said! Yikes. The wonderful world of Wagnerology! Never a dull moment, eh?
    Haha, indeed, there is not !

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    It's probably just a shortened way of saying "the version with the new music written for the Paris premiere."
    Yes, I believe so. The Solti recording booklet calls the Paris version an "umbrella-title". Paris version probably just means that it includes changes associated with the Paris premiere and changes following the Paris premiere.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    This is a very good article. I think I am going to listen to some of my Tannhäusers that purport to be either the Dresden Versions or the Paris versions following the Eulenburg full score and try to work out what parts of the score they are actually using. If there are deviations I shall try and clarify them to my own satisfaction in the first instance. If I find anything significant I will post it. Ostensibly the Solti studio version is the Paris but with a reversion to the Dresden somewhere in Act 2! Or so it is said! Yikes. The wonderful world of Wagnerology! Never a dull moment, eh?
    Yes, the booklet for the Solti recording says:

    Similar considerations led Mr Solti to choose to restore the (Dresden) support of the chorus and other soloists to Tannhäuser's "Zum Heil, den Sündigen zu Führen" which Wagner had reluctantly withdrawn in Paris to appease the tenor.
    The previous two paragraphs in the booklet make it seem as if there might be other changes they made, but it's not very clear if they switched back to the Dresden version for anything other than what I showed from the quote.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    If I am not misunderstanding something, it seems that Solti recorded the original Paris version of the extended ballet (with the ballet and overture detached) but in German. You can find it on this album: https://youtu.be/MX4mfJm60-4

    The ballet opens the way the Dresden ballet opens then transitions to the familiar extended version similar to how it transitions from the overture in the Vienna version.

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    The Dover scores edition of Tannhauser prints all of the variants in the versions Wagner prepared . Very helpful .

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    The Dover scores edition of Tannhauser prints all of the variants in the versions Wagner prepared . Very helpful .
    Drat. This means that I’ll have to get that to supplement my Eulenburg!
    I’m playing 3D chess in my head while the rest of you are playing Hungry Hippos!

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