|Tristan und Isolde|
Studio recording in stereo
|Conductor: Leonard Bernstein|
|Ein Hirt|| |
|Ein Seemann|| |
|Ein Steuermann|| |
|Chor und Sinfonieorchester des|
Review by Graham Clark|
Bernstein has made very few opera recordings, which is truly a shame.
This is one of his finest recordings of all. This was the first
Tristan on CD in fact, though it comes on five instead of four discs.
Philips in fact reissued this recording on four discs, but the price
Berstein, who has a reputation as a wild man when it comes to some
pieces, is here very reflective. The stress he put on his singers to
act the part as well as sing it in the studio creates a true dramatic
sense despite slow tempi, and the murky approach to the music truly
gives a picture of the dark medieval order which the opera focuses on.
The conducting is never too slow, however, and Bernstein, while laying
bare every detail of the music, gives a true sense of tension. The
orchestra works well with him (he was known for getting on the good
side of the most indifferent orchestras. Even the VPO loved him!)
In my opinion, the singing could also hardly be improved upon. Peter
Hofmann was for a while the great hope for the future of Heldentenors,
he was a great actor, looked the parts, and sang well (too bad he never
got around to Siegfried). Unfortunately he ruined his voice with an
overstressed work load, and several attempts at the role of Siegmund,
a role to which his voice was not really suited. Here he is captured
in his prime. His tragic irony bites, his raging is fearful, and his
heroic outbursts are for once genuine sounding.
Isolde is also great. Hildegard Behrens does not, by any means, have
the vocal power that Nilsson could offer, but excels in a more timid
and human portrait of the princess than Nilsson's masquarading Valkyrie.
As the lesser female and male duo (Brangäne/Kurwenal), Minton and Weikl
make a truly sympathetic yet dramatic pair. Amoung the others, Hans
Sotin is a wonderful King Marke. The only slight weakness is a slightly
Whatever the critics say, I consider this recording to certainly be
Karajan's equal, if not Böhm's. Happy listening!
This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published
without the author's consent. I haven't been able to get in touch with him.
If the author reads this, please contact me as soon as possible. If you
don't want it here, I'll take it of the site immediately.