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Thread: Instrumental versions of operatic works

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    Default Instrumental versions of operatic works

    I've recently fallen in love with this CD that contains Harmoniemusik recordings of selections from Mozart and Rossini operas: https://www.discogs.com/Mozzafiato-C...lease/12272194

    Does anyone have any recommendations for similar CDs that they're particularly fond of?

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    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    I really enjoy "opera without words" cds. There are quite a few, but seem to fall out of the catalog too quick.

    Neeme Jarvi did some for Chandos that are superb. Edo de Waart made three more Wagner disks with their infamous and provocative b/w photos. I don't care what the bigtime critic says, I think they're terrific. Lorin Maazel made the well-known Ring Without Words and also a symphonic version of Tannhauser. Andre Kostelanetz did a Carmen that is really good. Then comes Stokowski who made his own arrangements of Wagner. The best recording of those were from Mathias Bamert on Chandos. Erich Leinsdorf made some masterful suites of Richard Strauss's operas on the Capitol label but are really hard to find anymore (Urania in Italy re-released some).
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

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    Charles Neidich and Mozzafiato are a good collection. Unfortunately not many composers or arrangers rewrote opera for harmonie band. The Mozart and Rossini scores are the best and fairly often recorded. Here are a few harmonie musik collections I've enjoyed over the years of opera and other music transcribed for harmonie ...

    This has a wind and drum transcription of Beethoven's Wellingtons' Victory among others

    octophoros.jpg

    Here is another recording of the two opera scores you like

    rossini.jpg

    This isn't harmonie but band music of some Wagner transcriptions among others

    ballet for band.jpg

    Here is Triebensee's version of Mozart's Don Giovanni written for harmonie band performed by one of the world's greatest harmonie groups. If you like harmonie try locating any of their collection of partitas by Franz Krommer

    mozart le gran partita.jpg

    Here are some other Mozart scores written for harmonie

    mozart berkes.jpg
    Last edited by larold; Sep-28-2021 at 12:23.

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    Here's a harmonie recording of Hummel's octet-partita, my favorite in the genre, a Haydn symphony for winds and the Beethoven sextet

    hummel haydn beethoven.jpg

    Here are some Krommer octet-partitas by a French group that is quite fetching. The notes include a photo of a period contrabassoon that is pretty wild

    krommer.jpg

    I think this probably the best recording ever of Krommer octet-partitas

    le gran partita.jpg

    Here are 4 Wagner selections transcribed for band from the collection above

    ballet for band.jpg
    Last edited by larold; Sep-28-2021 at 12:37.

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I don't know the disc recommended in the OP but don't really get the concept. There is just so much great music written for small string ensemble. If it were horns or bassoons I would get it. And, anyway, I feel the human voice may be the most wonderful of all instruments.

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    A harmonie band is typically pairs of horns, bassoons, clarinets and oboes sometimes with a double bass accompaniment. It intentionally leaves out strings which tend to dominate most group forms of CM.

    This was a poplar style in the late 18th century. Mozart's "Gran" Partita is generally considered the best composition in the harmonie format.

    In some ways harmonie did for opera what Franz Liszt's transcriptions did for them and other music in the 19th century -- make it accessible and playable at home with limited personnel.
    Last edited by larold; Sep-28-2021 at 15:08.

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    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-28-2021 at 15:17.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Here are a few I have enjoyed.

    Opera without words by Andre Kostelantez and his orchestra:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...32HPZLNh09i3X0

    Mantovani's Italia Mia album, which has a smattering of opera aria arrangements:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...paXqnIEuL4C-0u

    Opera without words by Barry Wordsworth and BBC Concert Orchestra. I can't find the whole album, but a few tracks here:

    Nessun Dorma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb4l2PpNHb4
    Flower Duet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVVUsMZpTGE
    Musetta's Waltz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1fJstuvVs0

    There are also many showpieces which present medleys of opera tunes, and Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy is my favourite:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn6XTSxlvqE
    If you like that, try Vanessa Mae's Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA06X3usWEQ
    Last edited by Sid James; Sep-29-2021 at 01:30.
    Genuine ersatz classical listener since 1981.

    Winner: TC Provider of Extraneous Information Award, 2012.

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    Wagner's Ring without words conducted by Maazel with BPO on Telarc is my favorite recording among instrumental arrangements of operas.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    The Liszt transcriptions are wonderful.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Claudio Abbado did an orchestral suite from Parsifal acts 2 & 3
    Leopold Stokowski did an 'orchestral synthesis' of Boris Godunov

    While have no idea if it has been available in decades but in the early 1960s Alfred Newman, the film music composer and conductor, recorded orchestral versions of Puccini's Butterfly (and La Boheme?). I had a copy of it given to me by him but I'm sure it disappeared long ago!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I can't recommend too highly this luxuriant synthesis of music from acts 2 and 3 of Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Charles Gerhardt with such romantic fervor and style that it's an immense pity he didn't record the whole opera before he died.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i769-UiVJhA

    Gerhardt made outstanding recordings of many classic film scores, and it isn't surprising that he would perform so lovingly this music that's ancestral to so many of the works of composers such as Korngold, Steiner, Waxman and Herrmann. This Tristan arrangement can be found on a Chesky CD titled "Richard Wagner: Orchestral Music," which also contains music from Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung and the Siegfried Idyll.

    I seem to recall reading that Wagner was sitting with someone in an auditorium at a rehearsal of Tristan, and he told his companion to close his eyes and just listen to the orchestra. We can enjoy doing just that with this recording.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-29-2021 at 07:20.

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    I remain a Puccini fan, with or without the words.

    B-aa0Ft_1.jpg

    B-aa0Ft_2.jpg

    Tracklist
    1 O Mio Babbino Caro (Gianni Schicchi) 4:02
    2 Humming Chorus (Madame Butterfly) 3:17
    3 Un Bel Di (Madame Butterfly) 5:28
    4 E Lucevan Le Stelle (Tosca) 4:17
    5 Vissi D'arte, Vissi D'amore (Tosca) 3:25
    6 Che Gelida Manina (La Boheme) 5:08
    7 Musetta's Waltz (La Boheme) 4:42
    8 Donna Non Vidi Mai (Manon Lescaut) 2:39
    9 Intermezzo (Manon Lescaut) 5:20
    10 Nessun Dorma (Turandot) 1:42
    11 Prelude (Le Villi) 3:02
    12 Prelude (Edgar) 4:14
    13 Preludio Sinfonico 9:01
    14 Crisantemi 7:12

    Conductors are Barry Wordsworth (tracks: 1 to 8, 10) and Riccardo Chailly (tracks: 9, 11 to 14).
    The Orchestras are Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (tracks: 9, 11 to 14) and The BBC Concert Orchestra (tracks: 1 to 8, 10).

    Believe me: no one sleeps while listening to this disc.

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    Leopold Stokowski did an 'orchestral synthesis' of Boris Godunov

    Stoki did same for many Wagner scenes and operas. This is one of my favorite recordings of his

    wagner stoki.jpg

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    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I'm looking forward to checking these out over the weekend.

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