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Tristan und Isolde Hybrid SACD, SACD, Box set


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Product details

  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (15 Oct 2012)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD, Box set
  • Label: PentaTone
  • ASIN: B0085BFVIW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Tristan und Isolde: Act I: PreludeStephen Gould10:26Album Only
Listen  2. Tristan und Isolde: Act I Scene 1: Westwarts schweift der Blick (A Young Sailor, Isolde, Brangane)Stephen Gould 5:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Tristan und Isolde: Act I Scene 2: Frisch weht der Wind (A Young Sailor, Isolde, Brangane, Tristan, Kurwenal, Sailors)Stephen Gould 9:40Album Only
Listen  4. Tristan und Isolde: Act I Scene 3: Weh! Ach wehe! Dies zu dulden! (Brangane, Isolde)Stephen Gould18:30Album Only
Listen  5. Tristan und Isolde: Act I Scene 4: Auf! Auf! Ihr Frauen! (Kurwenal, Isolde, Brangane)Stephen Gould 7:28£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Tristan und Isolde: Act I Scene 5: Begehrt, Herrin (Tristan, Isolde, Brangane, Kurwenal)Stephen Gould25:07Album Only


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Tristan und Isolde: Act II: PreludeStephen Gould 1:48£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Tristan und Isolde: Act II Scene 1: Horst du sie noch? (Isolde, Brangane)Stephen Gould13:09Album Only
Listen  3. Tristan und Isolde: Act II Scene 2: Isolde! Geliebte! (Tristan, Isolde)Stephen Gould16:32Album Only
Listen  4. Tristan und Isolde: Act II Scene 2: O sink' hernieder, Nacht (Tristan, Isolde, Brangane)Stephen Gould21:40Album Only
Listen  5. Tristan und Isolde: Act II Scene 3: Rette dich, Tristan! (Kurwenal, Tristan, Melot)Stephen Gould 1:32£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Tristan und Isolde: Act II Scene 3: Tatest du's wirklich? (Marke, Tristan, Isolde, Melot)Stephen Gould20:53Album Only


Disc 3:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Tristan und Isolde: Act III: PreludeStephen Gould 4:01£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 1: Kurwenal! He! (A Shepherd, Tristan, Kurwenal)Stephen Gould29:00Album Only
Listen  3. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 1: Die alte Weise sagt mir's wieder (Tristan, Kurwenal)Stephen Gould16:49Album Only
Listen  4. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 2: O, die Sonne! Ha, dieser Tag! (Tristan, Isolde)Stephen Gould 3:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 2: Ha! Ich bin's, sussester Freund! (Isolde)Stephen Gould 5:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 3: Kurwenal! Hor! (A Shepherd, Kurwenal, Brangane, Melot, Marke)Stephen Gould 8:02Album Only
Listen  7. Tristan und Isolde: Act III Scene 3: Mild und leise wie er lachelt, "Isoldes Liebestod" (Isolde)Stephen Gould 6:10£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Janowski,Marek/Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Autonome on 23 Oct 2012
Format: Audio CD
When I saw that Stephen Gould was billed to sing this "Tristan", I was scared. His first Siegfried in Bayreuth was disastrous, his second one (which I attended) showed better control in Siegfried Act I through sheer willpower, but resulted in exhaustion in Act III as well as in Götterdämmerung, where he and Linda Watson were (literally) crying with the wolves in the closing/opening duet(s).
He is therefore the biggest surprise of this recording, even if I had ZERO expectation. The "Beghert, Herrin" was tonally uncertain but after that he held up his rank with Stemme in Act II and showed remarkable vocal resilience and projection in Act III when some of his accents could be Vickersian (yes) at times. Stemme is beautiful, ample - and for once her Tristan could sing the part. So overall the two title roles were the MAJOR satisfactions of this recording, which is enough to justify the "4 stars" rating. The rest was bad, bad, bad: Youn has just a big vibrato left for Marke, Reuter is a constricted Kurwenal and Breedt was completely OTT as Brangäne. The orchestra breached new levels of mediocrity, particularly in Act III where I found the cor anglais solo and the strings particularly unpleasant. The brass section was also quite subdued in Act I. Janowski conducted a magnificent Act II but pressed the tempo into the "mild und leise" as if he couldn't care less, which means that the phenomenal "höchste Lust" of Nina Stemme was half lost. That's unforgivable, but this CD is still worth listening to for its two principals and the risk-taking - that was a bit absent from Domingo's Tristan (since Placido never sang the part on stage, as we all know)...
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Entartete Musik on 6 Dec 2012
Format: Audio CD
There are certain operas that have an extremely high interpretative benchmark. Le nozze di Figaro is one and Tristan und Isolde is the other. Recordings come and go, yet few stick. You have to bring something exceptional to the party to topple the likes of Furtwängler, Böhm, Karajan, Thielemann and, of course, Kleiber.

Even among recent less vintage accounts there is the Pappano-led version with Nina Stemme and Placido Domingo. Stemme returns for this latest offering conducted by Marek Janowski, part of PentaTone's bid to offer a complete cycle of Wagner's mature operas for the composer's bicentenary. But while there's much to commend, not least the nascent theatrical thrill of Janowski's approach, this disc doesn't offer a new prizewinner.

The major plus about this recording it is sense of dramatic urgency. Recorded in the Berlin Philharmonie on 27 March 2012, the results immediately communicate the energy of a live event. An initially passive prelude comes to a sizzling climax. Late on, Janowski underlines 'Todgeweihtes Haupt! Todgeweihtes Herz!' with marked intent, the end of Act 1 is astounding and the build-up to the lovers' meeting in Act 2 veritably crackles with sexual tension. But these are moments, when the score requires majesty.

The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin responds well to Janowski, but doesn't have the finesse to sustain such a driven approach. The woodwind, so important in this score, is often shrill, while individual solos are simply not ravishing enough. Janowski pushes everything to the extreme. The balance privileges the strings (wonderful in the Act 3 prelude) but Wagner's impeccably fused textures soon become unsettled.

Despite these orchestral shortcomings, Janowski has a strong cast to hand.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Feb 2013
Format: Audio CD
I am beginning to feel like a very lonely voice but I maintain that if you want a paradigm, a snapshot, the epitome of what has happened to Wagner singing in this last generation you have only to sit down and listen - right through if you can but I confess I couldn't - to this live concert performance from the Berlin Philharmonie last March.

I appreciate that recording microphones can accentuate the flaws in even a fine voice but it cannot be the case that every singer here is done a disservice by the medium and virtually every singer is audibly afflicted with the dreaded wobble so easily and effortlessly satirised by those to whom the charms of opera remain nugatory. But as the great comedienne Anna Russell liked to say about her summary of the "Ring", "I'm not making this up, you know!" Certainly the best voice here is that of one of our remaining Wagner singers Nina Stemme and she decidedly improves as the performance progresses, rising to an intense and convincing "Liebestod" despite being somewhat harried by her conductor - but there is no getting away that her tone is carried upon a pronounced wobble and I could adduce legion examples of great Wagnerian sopranos who remain free of that affliction to prove my point. She flubs that glorious moment when she recalls how she was unable to avenge Morold by being unable to sustain a steady pianissimo on the penultimate syllable in "Er sah mir in die Augen". She has the amplitude, volume, even the ping but not the steadiness of the best - yet she is a paragon of steady emission of tone compared with the King Mark of Kwangchul Youn, whose bass relies so heavily upon such a heavy beat that he actually ceases phonation between pulses.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Superconductor Review: Efficient German Sex 15 Feb 2013
By Paul Pelkonen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marek Janowski's new recording of Tristan und Isolde has arrived, marking the midpoint of the conductor's ambitious plan to issue new live recordings of the ten mature Wagner operas on the PentaTone label in a three-year time-frame. (In case you're wondering, Tannhäuser is next.)

This set features the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in a live concert performance (from March 27, 2012) at the Philharmonie in that city. Like its four predecessors, this recording preserves the visceral thrill of live opera with manageable semi-staged conditions and minimal intrusions from stage noise or audience.

Tristan is at once the most mysterious and unapproachable of the "middle" Wagner operas, an internal drama of disastrous courtly love that is also a length meditation on longing and death. It requires five top-flight leads, but the success or failure of the opera rests squarely on the shoulders of its title characters. Wagner's flexible, chromatic musical idiom and heady philosophical libretto leave this opera open to interpretation from artists and listeners alike.

Mr. Janowski conducts the Prelude with an artful balance, choosing a moderate tempo that keeps the music interesting without being too brisk. Wagner's long lines for woodwinds and horns interact delicately against a painterly swell of low strings. The phrases are tentative in their first expression of longing, and then become tender and finally passionate as the themes flower into being. The first climaxes of the score have the same raw, primal energy that can still shock an audience.

Enter Nina Stemme. The soprano (this is her second recorded Isolde) makes her presence felt. Isolde's very first lines are delivered with an almost elemental anger. She is even better in the long "Tantris" narrative, presented here, like many of the long sections of this score as a single CD cue. She runs the emotional gamut: grief, compassion indignation and finally white hot rage that makes her decision to poison Tristan (and herself) sound perfectly...rational.

Stephen Gould's Tristan has a resonant quality to his voice, with a dark rounded edge that sounds baritonal in some passages. Mr. Janowski makes his entry for the long Act I duet almost mysterious--one hears the rigidly controlled sexual need and sense of puzzlement at Isolde's actions--even as the orchestra tells the listener what's going on in the princess' head. sing some very difficult passages at a quick clip in Act III, with the added benefit of compressing the length of Tristan's suffering.

The whole point of this opera (before all the death and suffering happen in Act III) is to bring the lovers together. Mr. Janowski does this superbly in the Act II duet, having Mr. Gould and Ms. Stemme sing at a very slow tempo in "O sink' hernieder," the central section of that epic love duet that is the warm-up for the final Liebestod. Their voices blend and blossom, creating a sensation of genuine bliss for the listner. They are interrupted twice: first by the fresh-sounding mezzo Michelle Breedt as Brangäne. Skilled engineering makes her watch-song sound ghostly and remote.

Anyone who knows this opera is aware that the second interruption (forcefully delivered) comes from (Isolde's new husband) King Mark, sung here by bass Kwangchal Youn. In Mr. Janowski's hand this "gotcha" moment becomes thrilling, and then heart-breaking. Mr. Youn is not afraid to make Mark sound old and vulnerable, injecting a slight quaver into his notes that might echo the sound of the Cornish ruler's broken heart. Danish baritone Johan Reuter is a sturdy and fiercely loyal Kurwenal, bluff in the first act, heartbroken in the third.

The final payoff for Wagnerians is the Liebestod, Isolde's final peroration over her lover's corpse. Thanks to Ms. Stemme and Mr. Janowski's artistry, this climactic aria has a transcendent, orgasmic quality as she bursts into the thrilling high phrases at "Heller schallend." Ms. Stemme's rich, resonant instrument keeps growing and swelling in power as the orchestra rises in power and speed. She reaches the second climax, urged on Mr. Janowski. "In des Welt-atems" leads off a long chain of descending high notes leave the listener spent and exhausted.

And that's just as it should be.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A fine Isolde from Stemme leads the way to a successful performance 30 Oct 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Up to now, having heard the first four installments of PentaTone's Wagner cycle, I've mostly lamented dull conducting and inferior singing. We are living in an era where even the major opera houses can't assemble casts for Wagner's masterpieces. For that reason, I think the best way to experience them is on DVD, where the staging can play its part in protecting the singers from harsh comparisons with the great Wagnerians of the past.

This new Tristan rises considerably above its predecessors in the cycle. Its raison d'etre is Nina Stemme's highly accomplished Isolde. As a young singer she was chosen personally by Placido Domingo in this role; their EMI studio recording from 2005 was expected to be the last expensive Wagner opera made by a major label, and to date that remains true. (On DVD we've had a pairing that was vocally even better in Jane Eaglen and Ben Heppner from the Met, but neither singer was recorded on disk.) Arguably Stemme was too young to be really satisfying in hr first try, but now she is a stage veteran; the voice remains beautiful and secure; it is ample, and she can sustain Wagner's long, vocally exhausting scenes. Innately there is more voice from top to bottom than Deborah Voigt demonstrated in her rather unfortunate live Isolde on DG under Thielemann, which was only satisfying in the upper half of the voice. Stemme's Liebestod is quite lovely - she sounds vulnerable and rises beautifully to the music's transcendent climax without strain.

For Stemme alone this Tristan would be worth hearing, but there's more good news. Janowski has been lackluster in the earlier installments of this cycle, but here he is several notches above competent; nothing is inspired, but the pacing is good, and each scene is given its due. The recorded sound (as heard in MP3 format, not in SACD) is lifelike and full. The orchestra isn't virtuosic but plays well. Finally, to round out the reasons to be glad, the Kurvenal of Johan Reuter is strong and committed, and the Brangane of Michelle Breedt is the same; she carries real passion in her first act scene with Isolde as she realizes her mistress's dire plans. Kwangchul Youn makes for a noble, sonorous Marke whose voice is reminiscent of the Finnish sound that has dominated the role since the says of the great Martti Talvela.

If you are waiting for the other shoe to drop with the most problematic role, that of Tristan, so was I. Stephen Gould belongs in the upper ranks of make-do Heldentenors who come and go without leaving a lasting impression. No one expects any better these days. Gould was Thielemann's Siegfried in a Ring cycle recorded live from Bayreuth in 2008, but this is my first encounter with him. Surprise, his voice is virile, strong, appealing in timbre, and records quite well. I have no idea what his stamina is like on stage, but under concert conditions he fares well in all three acts.

There are two severe tests for any Tristan, the Act II Liebesnacht and the murderous Act III soliloquy. I don't want to exaggerate Gould's abilities. He's no Domingo or Windgassen, to name two non-helden Tristans who were convincing nonetheless. Vocally, he's not even Rene Kollo or Peter Hoffmann, as we slide down the scale. But Gould knows how to shape a vocal line, and he's not wobbly, squally, or shrill. As a result, even though neither of the crucial scenes is a joy, they aren't embarrassments, either.

In the end, this is the strongest of the PentaTone series to date, thanks to a solid cast and Stemme's fine Isolde. The EMI Tristan is still preferable, I think, because of Domingo and the excellent conducting of Antonio Pappano, but this new recording offers real pleasure in its best parts.

Stephen Gould (Tristan), Nina Stemme (Isolde), Kwangchul Youn (König Marke), Johan Reuter (Kurwenal), Michelle Breedt (Brangäne), Simon Pauly (Melot), Clemens Bieber (Ein Hirte/A shepherd), Arttu Kataja (Ein Steuermann/A steersman) & Timothy Fallon (Ein junger Seemann/A young sailor)

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin & Rundfunkchor Berlin, Marek Janowski
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to wobble city... 2 Feb 2013
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am beginning to feel like a very lonely voice but I maintain that if you want a paradigm, a snapshot, the epitome of what has happened to Wagner singing in this last generation you have only to sit down and listen - right through if you can but I confess I couldn't - to this live concert performance from the Berlin Philharmonie last March.

I appreciate that recording microphones can accentuate the flaws in even a fine voice but it cannot be the case that every singer here is done a disservice by the medium and virtually every singer is audibly afflicted with the dreaded wobble so easily and effortlessly satirised by those to whom the charms of opera remain nugatory. But as the great comedienne Anna Russell liked to say about her summary of the "Ring", "I'm not making this up, you know!" Certainly the best voice here is that of one of our remaining Wagner singers Nina Stemme and she decidedly improves as the performance progresses, rising to an intense and convincing "Liebestod" despite being somewhat harried by her conductor - but there is no getting away that her tone is carried upon a pronounced wobble and I could adduce legion examples of great Wagnerian sopranos who remain free of that affliction to prove my point. She flubs that glorious moment when she recalls how she was unable to avenge Morold by being unable to sustain a steady pianissimo on the penultimate syllable in "Er sah mir in die Augen". She has the amplitude, volume, even the ping but not the steadiness of the best - yet she is a paragon of steady emission of tone compared with the King Mark of Kwangchul Youn, whose bass relies so heavily upon such a heavy beat that he actually ceases phonation between pulses. The trouble starts with the first singer's first notes: you hear the tight, tremolo-ridden bleat of Timothy Fallon's Seemann. When we come to Tristan, Stephen Gould has a voice of no tenorial distinction: it is grey and worn-sounding without the virility demanded of a hero albeit a flawed and befuddled one. For crying out loud, even the Melot bleats rather than sings his few notes. The Brangäne, Kurwenal and Shepherd are vocally undistinguished and each has ...well, you've guessed it...

By far the best thing here is Janowski's conducting which is often genuinely sensitive and dramatically apt, with excellent pacing. I was genuinely excited by his Prelude and he has the measure of the febrile introduction to Act 2. The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra is fine without having the sheen of the finest and there are both intonation and ensemble problems in that Act 2 orchestral prelude; during Isolde's subsequent ecstatic outpouring both strings and woodwind are sour. There are few of the little refinements and details which make Karajan's recordings so compelling, little of Goodall's transcendent concentration or Böhm's thrilling propulsion.

All in all, I can see no reason other than the excellent sound to prefer this over a dozen live and studio recordings, some of which might be sonically inferior but all of which are infinitely preferable artistically.
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