I reviewed this in standard CD mode.
This disc continues Henk de Vlieger’s exploration and indeed advocacy of Wagner’s music-dramas as standalone orchestral pieces. The earlier volumes are:-
• The Ring – An Orchestral Adventure
• Parsifal – An Orchestral Quest
RSNO/Järvi Chandos CHSA5077
I cannot pretend that Wagner has ever attracted me enough to encourage me to explore any of the operas more than once – except Tristan
. I am sure this must be more my problem than his. I recall dabbling in my early exploratory days. I enjoyed some of Boult’s EMI recordings of the orchestral excerpts. Lohengrin Act III prelude
was a rowdy favourite of mine. I was a little bit interested when I heard a 1970s Radio 3 studio broadcast of Rienzi
. The Siegfried Idyll
does hold tender attractions. The Ride of the Valkyries
was stunningly arrogated in Apocalypse Now
. As for the rest I have sampled from time to time but for the most part I find myself wanting to turn away. It’s probably a problem with a short-breathed attention span.
The idea behind this music is old-fashioned and unfashionable. There’s no intrinsic criticism in that but the sort of thing de Vlieger does is hardly historically informed practice or part of the path to authenticity. Surely this is the way of showman-conductors such as Wood, Sargent and Stokowski? Perhaps not – after all what is untoward in making available accessible concert-hall doorways to music-dramas which are expensive to stage and indeed to attend. Stokowski did in fact produce a 20+ minute Symphonic Synthesis
in two variants. We have heard this in the Serebrier-Stokowski project on Naxos
and also on Chandos
from Bamert. This skilled seven-movement Passion
is of about the size as a major late-romantic symphony. It broods on the broadest canvas reminding me, in the Einleitung
, of Franck’s Psyché
. Järvi evidently relishes the experience because a sort of romantic enthusiasm can be felt at every turn. The Nachtgesang
is especially affecting with its solo violin. In the Vorspiel und Reigen
one can hear how Tristan
influenced film music – especially that of Bernard Herrmann and the late John Barry in their most broodingly expansive moods. The alert and increasingly urgent playing in the Das Wiedersehen
as well as some pert woodwind make this a real delight. The Liebestod
crowns a satisfyingly expansive work in which de Vlieger and Järvi nicely weight, accelerate, holds back and release (3:55) the music-drama’s slow ascent to sustained climax.
Two original Wagner scores preface the Passion
. Järvi drives
the Das Liebesverbot
overture with a fiery will – it’s
a great performance. This has to be an early work given the tendency
towards repetition of orchestral effects including the generously
represented castanets and percussion generally. The manner recalls
more famous but later works from Weber, Sullivan and Rossini.
The brass are abrasively throated. The sound is utterly magnificent.
The Die Feen
overture carries passing prescience of Meistersinger
as does Das Liebesverbot
in relation to Fliegende
. It is however a more Weberian work with even a
shade of the style of writing we now associate with Mendelssohn’s
Midsummer Night’s Dream
music. Once again Järvi gives this
a passionately exciting impulse. In fact he plays both works without
excuse as masterworks completely holding his and our attention.
I doubt they have ever been better advocated.
The thoughtfully extensive notes are by Maarten Brandt.
Järvi on best of best form here.