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Wagner/Mottl: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music

Album Summary

>Wagner, Richard : Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen
>Wagner, Richard : Tristan und Isolde
>Wagner, Richard : Lohengrin
>Wagner, Richard : Wesendonck Lieder
>Wagner, Richard : Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Deutsche Grammophon continues its successful relationship with the acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra and its chief conductor Franz Welser-Most with this thrilling all-Wagner album. The release of this album will tie in with Franz Welser-Most picking up the baton as General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera. The Clevelanders deliver Lohengrin Prelude (Act I and Act III), The Ride of the Valkyries, the Rienzi and Meistersinger Overture, and the orchestral version of opera's non plus ultra of love's power to transfigure, the Liebestod, from Tristan und Isolde. The impact of soprano Measha Brueggergosman's Wesendonck Lieder, was, said The Plain Dealer "as if she'd penned them herself Tracking Brueggergosman's every move from fierce declamation down to the faintest whisper, Welser-Most and crew nudge the singer's performance into the musical heavens."

"Squeaky-clean Wagner, beautifully played." -ClassicalSource.com
"Brueggergosman's rich, creamy voice, with its solid core and ringing top notes perfectly suits Wagner" -ClassicsToday
"This take on the songs was both revelatory & satisfying." -Opera News

Franz Wesler-Möst, the Cleveland Orchestra's music director since 2002, officially took the artistic helm of the Vienna Staatsoper this season. In recent years at the Staatsoper, Welser-Möst has shown himself to be a committed Wagnerian, conducting a new Ring cycle as well as performances of Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal. His discography includes DVDs for EMI of Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger. This DG release was recorded at all-Wagner programs presented at Severance Hall in February of 2010.

For the familiar orchestral selections, Welser-Möst favors brisk tempos, never dallying indulgently. The program opens with a spirited, propulsive Rienzi overture. Next comes Tristan 's Prelude and Liebestod ; the former has the requisite tension, the latter a glowing sense of resolution. Lohengrin 's act I Vorspiel - programmed after that of act III - is suitably ethereal, but the faster-than-usual pace gives the music more tangible form than is often the case. Welser-Möst conducts Die Meistersinger 's first-act Prelude like an overture, rather than some sort of symphonic synthesis. His Walkürenritt is fleet, probably more so than would be advisable in the opera house, lest you have a bunch of breathless Valkyries on your hands.

The program's centerpiece is the Wesendonck songs, presented in Felix Mottl's orchestrations. The soloist is the Canadian-born soprano Measha Brueggergosman (who was born Measha Gosman, but ended up with a great opera singer name when she married Markus Brügger, a Swiss exchange student she met in high school). Brueggergosman effectively modulates the scale of her singing to the moment-to-moment emotional temperature of each song and manifests an acute sensitivity to Mathilde W.'s sometimes purple texts. Im Treibhaus has the same aura of immense sadness and desolation as the opening of Tristan 's final act, where the composer used the same musical material so powerfully. Brueggergosman's voice has a rich, platinum-like character with a tight, rapid vibrato, and the lower part of her range is especially seductive. As far as I know, she's not undertaken any Wagner on stage. At this relatively early point in her career - she's 33 - the singer would make a wonderful Fricka, Brangäne, Waltraute, or Venus; someday, we might hear a world-class Isolde. While this Wesendonck-Lieder will not supplant favorite versions from Eileen Farrell and Christa Ludwig (or, with the original keyboard accompaniment, Kirsten Flagstad), the performance is certainly a very positive contribution to Welser-Möst's Wagner evening.

The Cleveland Orchestra plays brilliantly, with special kudos warranted for the brass - the fanfares in Rienzi are electrifying. The sound is excellent and there's a good reason: There's an old Telarc production team in the control room. Veteran producer Robert Woods resigned from Telarc, the label he co-founded in 1977, after a "corporate restructuring" at the Concord Music Group (which bought Telarc in 2005), eventuated in the decision that the label would no longer make its own recordings. Woods is back as an independent producer, along with his former Telarc colleague Elaine Martone, and the engineering and editing responsibilities are handled by two of the best in the business, Michael Bishop and Thomas C. Moore, also once members of the Telarc team.

The recorded perspective places the listener a third of the way back in the hall. There's plenty of detail but also a good feel for the orchestra's ensemble sonority. Audiophiles might conclude that the sonic character here is a bit leaner than the classic Telarc sound, which is fine - just another way of doing things. You don't hear the audience at all until the ovation that follows the Walküre excerpt."-Fanfare

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Cleveland, Severance Hall (02/2010).



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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen :: Ouvertüre
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 11 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1838-1840

>Wagner, Richard : Tristan und Isolde :: Aufzug 1. Vorspiel - Liebestod
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 15 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1857-1859

>Wagner, Richard : Lohengrin :: Aufzug 3. Vorspiel
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 3 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1848

>Wagner, Richard : Lohengrin :: Aufzug 1. Vorspiel
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 7 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1848

>Wagner, Richard : Wesendonck Lieder
  • Performer: Measha Brueggergosman
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 19 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1857-1858

>Wagner, Richard : Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg :: Aufzug 1. Vorspiel
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 8 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1862-1867

>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre :: Walkürenritt
  • Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
  • Running Time: 5 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1854-1856