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Tristan und Isolde [Box set]

Richard Wagner Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £14.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The German composer Richard Wagner was born on 22nd May 1813 in Leipzig and was raised by his mother and step-father in Dresden. His step-father, Ludwig Geyer, was an actor and playwright and Wagner's first forays into the creative world were on the stage. Whilst still at school, Wagner wrote the tragic play Leubald which he decided to set to music.

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (6 Mar 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Membran
  • ASIN: B00026YNHS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,831 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Tristan Und Isolde In 3 Acts - Over 30 Tracks On 3 CD's - Richard Wagner

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb value edition of a classic account 12 Sep 2006
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the same 1952 live Bayreuth performance that we have seen in various incarnations on different labels - but much cheaper than most; the new Orfeo label edition is good but three times the price for the same thing and the only competitor pricewise is the inferior Opera d'Oro set. This is a good, clean transfer with minimal distortion in what will never be a sonic extravaganza, but its limitations are well worth enduring in return for an incandescent performance which catches the two great principal singers in top form. There is something peculiarly immediate and vibrant about Modl's assumption of the role of Isolde which puts the magisterial but bland Flagstad in the shade and even outdoes Nilsson in the famous live Bohm performance. She has a Callas-like manner of getting to the heart of the role by a specially intelligent inflection of the text and affecting use of her lower register combined with some thrilling (if slightly "scooped") top notes. Vinay's baritonal tenor is both heroic and tender; the exchange between the lovers just after their discovery in flagrante by the king is particularly moving. Ludwig Weber is past his best and a bit wobbly, but knows how to wring the heart and Hotter, typically woofy and heavy on the vibrato, nonetheless creates a vivid character in his Kurwenal. Despite the limited sound you can hear how Karajan caresses the music without dragging it out or distorting the pacing of the work; he really is good here, free of the later affectations and mannerisms. Uhde turns in another typically incisive vignette as the vicious, obsessive Melot. Malaniuk is just average as Brangane but sings strongly and expressively where it counts in her offstage warnings during the great love duet. Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
SOURCE:
Live performance from the 1952 Bayreuth Festival broadcast by Bavarian Radio.

SOUND:
This recording has led to some crowing about its being a new re-masterings of the original Bavarian Radio tapes.

I think the technical qualities of the recordings of "Parsifal" and "Meistersinger" made at the previous year's festival are better than they are on this 1952 set, but the 1951 "Meistersinger" is a compilation assembled from parts of performances and rehearsals and I strongly suspect that is equally true of the "Parsifal." They were made by EMI technicians under the personal direction of the great Walter Legge. In 1952, the Bavarian Radio engineers, faced with capturing a single live performance on the wing, couldn't match Legge and EMI. They, perforce recorded some annoying audience noise, accepted some occasional distortion (mostly involving Mödl) and placed their microphones in such a way that the orchestra is more distanced than it should be.

There are a few sonic oddities. The offstage voice of the young sailor, for example, sounds extraordinarily echo-y for someone who is supposed to be on the deck of a ship in mid-ocean. From time to time, voices briefly take a nosedive in volume as singers turn away from the microphones or wander into sonic dead spots.

All that said, I find the sound here to be satisfactory for what it is: a historical record of the quite remarkable performance that took place in Bayreuth six decades ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Tristan? 21 Dec 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This may be the greatest recorded Tristan, a searing performance from Bayreuth 1952. Karajan was at his peak as a Wagner conductor and his two leads, modl and Vinay, giving tremendous performances of vocal acting. She in particular was the greatest vocal actress of her age. Just listen to her act one and the duet with Tristan in act two. Vinay is not quite in her class but delivers a very good performance indeed. In fact the only tenor who surpasses him in this role is Vickers in the later Karajan, a very different experience. There are of course sonic limitations in the 1952 mono recording but it is not bad for its age. This particular transfer sounds good. One can just be thankful this recording is available to us at all.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five isn't enough stars for this one!! 16 Dec 2010
By Stephen R. Westman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Owning fourteen Tristans, I feel this is the best overall performance that I own of this opera. This includes three recordings of Melchior/Flagstad, two with Nilsson/Vickers, Bohm's classic release, the 1952 Furtwangler performance, ones with Melchior/Traubel, Solti, Carlos Kleiber, Knappertsbusch, and the stereo Karajan. While there are individual aspects of those other recordings (particularly Vickers's Tristan, Furtwangler's and Kna's conducting, and Nilsson's Isolde), this one hangs together as an organic whole in which the sum of its (incredible) parts amounts to a fantastic whole.

After enduring the Opera d'Oro release, I read rave reviews of this performance and pointing me to better transfers. Since I couldn't bear to listen to that release, I decided to buy this one (even though I had a problem with paying a second time for the same performance) from Amazon in England.

MAN!! What a difference!!! The incredible edge that Modl can have on her voice sounds like screeching or fingernails on a chalkboard on the Opera d'Oro release. On this release, she sounds MUCH better. While I can't say that she will ever be my favorite soprano, she has an incredible intensity that is overpowering and which you could cut with light saber - an intensity that exceeds Flagstad's and even Nilsson's performances (to say nothing of the rest of the pack). It's true she doesn't always make it up to the high 'A's (particularly towards the end of the love duet) but this is a small cavil in that the entire performance almost literally sweeps you off of your feet. Much like Callas, she could pack an incredible interpretive wallop! Isolde's Curse in the first act just about jumps out of the speakers at you. WOW!!

Her Tristan is the incredible Raymond Vinay, a grossly underrated tenor who is able to match both her intensity and vocal presence over a full Wagnerian orchestra. After growing up with a number of malnourished heldentenors doing this role (since there were no Melchior transfers like now and Vickers had not yet done the role until I had graduated from college, we had to make due with the leathery Windgassen who, while expressive, did not have the voice for Tristan), Vinay is the real thing and is a true match for Modl. His ravings in Act 3, while not rising to the interpretive genius of Vickers performance - particularly in the Opera d'Oro recording Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (then again, nobody else does either - not even Melchior), are dramatically intense. Further, Vinay brings an almost boundless stamina to the performance that is unbelievable.

It should be noted that this is the only performance containing two vocal adults that is not disfigured with cuts (Melchior was infamous for doing making cuts and both Nilsson/Vickers performances have cuts). Not only do they bring great gifts to their roles, they work incredibly well together. I can't recall ever hearing such an incredibly committed and passionate love duet as this pair. This performance will almost literally blow you away in its intensity. Yes, Vickers does well with the later Karajan. However, that performance's Isolde doesn't have the voice to carry off Isolde and Karajan's Mantovani-like limp wash of sound completely eviscerates the passion. It's hard to believe that the person who conducted this current performance is the same one who came out with that travesty.

Of the others, all do well. As a big Hans Hotter fan, I am in love with his performance here. Here is a truly noble Kurwenal who expresses all of the character's anguish and fears with a nobility that only a Wotan could bring to the role. Ira Malaniuk sings well, particularly during Brangaene's Watch passage in Act II. Her singing - along with wonderful rich and intense orchestral support from Karajan - will bring you goose bumps!! Ludwig Weber does a good job as Marke and the rest of the cast.

I have saved Karajan until the end because he is the element that makes this whole thing work as a whole - and raises this to a level of greatness maybe matched, but never exceeded by the competition. He has a wonderful sense both of line and of structure. He can move the tempo when necessary but it never feels rushed. At other points, he is able to take time - as in the Prelude to Act 3 - to let the music breathe without dragging. Throughout, he elicits an incredible orchestral sound that can literally overwhelm you even with the 1952 sound (again the Bayreuth acoustic provides a wonderful acoustic ambiance). The performance has a passion, an urgency, and an almost overwhelming drive that will seem to make other Tristan's pale by comparison - even Bohm's.

Maybe it's just the dramatic improvement from the Opera d'Oro release, but I find the sound of this release to be quite good (keeping in mind that it WAS taped at a live performance in 1952). The orchestra sound is both rich and vital and provides an incredible ambiance of richness, detail, and passion that adds to the already incredible singing done by the principals.

Except for the lack of a libretto (which is a small thing, given the incredible budget price of this release), this would be an ideal first recording of the work and belongs in ANY Wagnerian's collection as an example of how great opera should be performed! Buy this! You WON'T be sorry!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb value edition of a classic account 22 July 2009
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the same 1952 live Bayreuth performance that we have seen in various incarnations on different labels - but much cheaper than most; the new Orfeo label edition is good but three times the price for the same thing and the only competitor pricewise is the inferior Opera d'Oro set. This is a good, clean transfer with minimal distortion in what will never be a sonic extravaganza, but its limitations are well worth enduring in return for an incandescent performance which catches the two great principal singers in top form. There is something peculiarly immediate and vibrant about Modl's assumption of the role of Isolde which puts the magisterial but bland Flagstad in the shade and even outdoes Nilsson in the famous live Bohm performance. She has a Callas-like manner of getting to the heart of the role by a specially intelligent inflection of the text and affecting use of her lower register combined with some thrilling (if slightly "scooped") top notes. Vinay's baritonal tenor is both heroic and tender; the exchange between the lovers just after their discovery in flagrante by the king is particularly moving. Ludwig Weber is past his best and a bit wobbly, but knows how to wring the heart and Hotter, typically woofy and heavy on the vibrato, nonetheless creates a vivid character in his Kurwenal. Despite the limited sound you can hear how Karajan caresses the music without dragging it out or distorting the pacing of the work; he really is good here, free of the later affectations and mannerisms. Uhde turns in another typically incisive vignette as the vicious, obsessive Melot. Malaniuk is just average as Brangane but sings strongly and expressively where it counts in her offstage warnings during the great love duet. This recording takes its place alongside my other favourite "Tristans": the old Reiner/Beecham with Flagstad and Melchior (the latter still unbeatable), the live Knappertsbusch set with Treptow and Braun, the famous Furtwangler set, the Bohm DG live and the last and latest Pappano, in lovely sound and preserving a performance of lieder-like intensity and burnished tone by Domingo.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birgit Who? 10 Feb 2014
By penelope hilsdon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It's all about Martha Modl. I'm not a fan of long winded reviews so this (as usual) will be brief and to the point. I have a friend that is an operatic tenor and he introduces me to singers that are new to me. I spend a lot of time with him glued to my laptop and happily exploring tenors both contemporary and past. He chose to showcase Ramon Vinay in Tristan und Isolde. Now I was not really familiar with Wagner, preferring bel canto, but still, I looked forward to hearing Vinay, a powerful dramatic tenor, as my friend has excellent taste. He went immediately to "Night of Love". Vinay was very impressive. However.!......! I became riveted when this marvelous, velvety Isolde came in. Oh my oh my! Mezzo soprano was Modl's natural voice, but she raised her top range to accommodate the roles of a Wagnerian soprano which gives her a dark and sleek, chocolaty timbre. I was smitten. I am still smitten. I rushed to Amazon and ordered the cd. She is absolutely wonderful.

I explored different casts of the same opera. This "Tristan und Isolde" stands out in every way. Take time to listen to it online and it will thrill you and you can decide for yourself the merits before you purchase this cd. One problem is that this cd is from Germany and there are not too many of them.
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