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Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Dietsch: Le Vaisseau Fantome (Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble / Marc Minkowski) [Box set]

Louis Dietsch Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Performer: Sally Matthews, Ingela Brimberg, Bernard Richter, Eric Cutler, Russell Braun, et al.
  • Orchestra: Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble
  • Conductor: Marc Minkowski
  • Composer: Richard Wagner, Louis Dietsch
  • Audio CD (28 Oct 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B00DUXR8V8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,873 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Overture
2. Hojohe! Hallojo! Hojohe! Ho!
3. Die Frist Ist Um
4. He! Holla! Steuermann!
5. Summ' Und Brumm', Du Gutes Rädchen
Disc: 2
1. Johohoe!
2. Bleib', Senta!
3. Mein Kind, Du Siehst Mich Auf Der Schwelle
4. Wie Aus Der Ferne Längst Vergang'ner Zeiten
5. Verzeiht! Mein Volk Hält Draussen Sich Nicht Mehr
See all 7 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Ouverture
2. Sur Cette Terre,aux Limites Du Monde - Vous Ne Savez Pas Tout!
3. Pourquoi, Magnus, Seul Avec Moi
4. Il Fait Nuit
5. Votre Père, Minna!
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Entracte
2. De La Grandeur Divine - Dans Ce Port, À L'abrides Tempêtes Humaines
3. Ici, Seule Avant L'heure, Je Vais Prier
4. Désormais Plus De Plainte - Minna,du Nom D'épouse
5. Quel Secret En Ce Jour
See all 6 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

When he arrived in Paris on 17 September 1839, the young Richard Wagner aspired to one single consecration: to have his music performed on the stage of the Opéra, for the French capital was, for an operatic composer, the sole temple of posterity. Inspired by reading a novella by Heine he began composing 'Der fliegende Holländer'. Unfortunately, Léon Pillet, the director of the Opéra who took up his post during the summer of 1840, shattered Wagner s hopes at a stroke. Anxious to comply with his brief in all respects, Pillet may perhaps at one time have considered commissioning from the young German one of those single acts whose composition could be confided to a foreigner. But he quickly went back on this and proposed merely to buy from Wagner his idea , which he found appealing. To meet an urgent need for funds, Wagner sold the subject of the work to the new management for 500 francs. More precisely, he submitted a synopsis in broken French summarising an operatic adaptation of the story of the Flying Dutchman. Entrusted to Paul Foucher and Bénédict-Henri Révoil in the summer of 1841, Wagner s synopsis soon assumed the form of a French libretto, enriched with new influences: Walter Scott s 'The Pirate', the writings of James Fenimore Cooper, and especially 'The Phantom Ship' by Frederick Marryat (translated into French in 1839 under the title of 'Le Vaisseau fantôme'). Once it had been set to verse by Foucher, it was handed over to the composer Pierre-Louis Dietsch, Léon Pillet's friend and protegée, newly-appointed chorusmaster at the Opéra. Wagner s missed opportunity with the Paris operatic stage (the first in a long series) therefore gave rise to two distinct works: Dietsch s 'Le Vaisseau fantôme', performed for the first time at the Paris Opéra on 9 November 1842, and Wagner s 'Der fliegende Holländer', premiered in Dresden on 2 January 1843. Founded in 1982 by Marc Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble breathes new life into the Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoires, performed on period instruments. Recent operatic successes include a Mozart gala for the orchestra s 30th anniversary and Offenbach s 'Les Contes d Hoffmann' (Salle Pleyel); Wagner s 'Der fliegende Höllander' (Opéra de Versailles, MC2 Grenoble, Theater an der Wien, Palau de la Música in Barcelona); and Mozart s 'Lucio Silla' at the Salzburg Mozartwoche and Festival, and at the Musikfest Bremen where it has appeared regularly since 1995. The orchestra s recordings for naïve include the complete London Symphonies of Haydn in 2010 and the Schubert symphonies in 2012, bestsellers on the label.

Review

5* '…an excellent performance, sweeping, vital and atmospheric' --BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the Month '…revelatory'...'swift and exciting'...'[A] splendid new recording…' --Opera Magazine

'What a fascinating enterprise.'...'Russell Braun s Troil is a model of style and elegance... Minkowski had the idea of presenting the two operas in a single evening. Enthralling, mad, or both?' --Opera Now

'...Minkowski gets vivid playing from his Musiciens de Lourve and there is a palpable sense of the dramatic impact the opera must have had in the 1840 s.' --International Record Review

'What a fascinating enterprise.'...'Russell Braun s Troil is a model of style and elegance... Minkowski had the idea of presenting the two operas in a single evening. Enthralling, mad, or both?' --Opera Now

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
My last purchase of Wagner recordings in the anniversary year 2013 was in some respects the most interesting if not the most enjoyable. I'm known as no fan of HIP/HAP performances of his music-I absolutely detested the Norrington/LCP recording of some years back, and Rattle's performance of Das Rheingold with the OAE (available on CD from certain sources) leaves me baffled.

What attracted me to this recording was that it is of the original 1843 Score, not the second revision of 1845 that we normally hear, when the work was set in Scotland, with Daland named Donald though Senta still retaining her most un-Scottish name.

Those unfamiliar with this version need not fear-there are no additional bagpipes or eightsome reels in the score!

Thus, in this instance, there is some validity in adopting HIP practice, for this is certainly very near to how those early Dresden performances would have sounded.
Marc Minkowski and his usual Grenoble band are renowned for their virtuosity, and they are joined by the highly acclaimed Estonian Chamber Choir, more familiar to us in the works of Arvo Part.

The orchestra is about 50 strong-the musicians are listed but I haven't counted-and the sound is punchy and surprisingly rich, with the added transparency that a more chamber like ensemble brings to any score.
We know what to expect-brisk tempi, clipped rhythms, no vibrato, short stopping, rich horns, thin trumpets, over ripe tuba and genuine wooden woodwind all played at a much lower pitch-and that's exactly what we get in this very well recorded set.
The tam-tam is the "lightening sheet" specified by Wagner-a thin rectangular sheet of metal which provides quite a startling effect.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly of curiosity value 23 Feb 2014
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Stewart Crowe has already provided an admirably perceptive and exhaustive review of this double-opera issue so I can add only my personal reaction to listening to them. I am not as generous or enthralled as he, insofar as there are, for me, two insurmountable obstacles to my taking much pleasure in either. While I am interested to hear the original 1843 version of the "Holländer", it is in no way preferable to the revised item we hear performed today, published in 1860.

I found this original version conducted by Minkowski very disappointing not because of the smaller orchestra, the period practice or even the musical content but more because of the quality of the singing. I found all the singers with the exception of Eric Cutler to be inadequate or at best undistinguished. Nikitin is grey-toned and weak above the stave so that he is sometimes yelling and even fails to cut through the band of 50 instrumentalists; his "Niemals der Tod" is a non-event. Ingrid Brimberg is shrill and monotonous as Senta. The small Estonian chorus seems underpowered although the ladies sing beautifully.

The orchestra plays well but there are problems with synchronising between it and the off-stage horns.

The companion piece by Dietsch simply confirms why it is that his opera has disappeared from the repertoire. The music is well-crafted but utterly, totally predictable rather in the manner of the most uninspired Meyerbeer (which is most of it!) so that absolutely nothing is memorable. It is designed to give singers showpiece arias but the melodies just melt away like candyfloss in the mouth.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 30 Jun 2014
Format:Audio CD
excellent
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 early versions of the same legend provide fascinating-and enjoyable- insights. An unexpected pleasure. 2 Jan 2014
By D. S. CROWE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My last purchase of Wagner recordings in the anniversary year 2013 was in some respects the most interesting if not the most enjoyable. I'm known as no fan of HIP/HAP performances of his music-I absolutely detested the Norrington/LCP recording of some years back, and Rattle's performance of Das Rheingold with the OAE (available on CD from certain sources) leaves me baffled.

What attracted me to this recording was that it is of the original 1843 Score, not the second revision of 1845 that we normally hear, when the work was set in Scotland, with Daland named Donald though Senta still retaining her most un-Scottish name.

Those unfamiliar with this version need not fear-there are no additional bagpipes or eightsome reels in the score!

Thus, in this instance, there is some validity in adopting HIP practice, for this is certainly very near to how those early Dresden performances would have sounded.
Marc Minkowski and his usual Grenoble band are renowned for their virtuosity, and they are joined by the highly acclaimed Estonian Chamber Choir, more familiar to us in the works of Arvo Part.

The orchestra is about 50 strong-the musicians are listed but I haven't counted-and the sound is punchy and surprisingly rich, with the added transparency that a more chamber like ensemble brings to any score.
We know what to expect-brisk tempi, clipped rhythms, no vibrato, short stopping, rich horns, thin trumpets, over ripe tuba and genuine wooden woodwind all played at a much lower pitch-and that's exactly what we get in this very well recorded set.
The tam-tam is the "lightening sheet" specified by Wagner-a thin rectangular sheet of metal which provides quite a startling effect.

This "urtext" one act version begins with the original version of the overture which does not end with a reprise of Senta's theme and which we hear trotted out every so often-Woldemar Nelsson utilised it in his Bayreuth version-and breezes through the work with little of the oppressive darkness that Karajan and Levine bring to the work, but there is great momentum to the drama and in this version the debts to Beethoven and especially Weber have never been more apparent.

There are differences in the text throughout-not just scoring but in the composition, notable examples being Senta's ballad and Eric's cavatina, and it is fascinating to hear the work in this form- though I would have to say that Wagner knew what he was doing when he revised it!
With these forces and at these tempi, I'm bound to observe that the choruses remind me strongly of Gilbert &Sullivan-but then Sullivan was very adept at pastiche, and all the G&S works contain send-ups of popular composers.

The recording doesn't allow for much change in ambience between the lusty Scots and the ghostly Dutchmen, and the "big reveal" doesn't have the impact of other versions, but it is all in keeping.

In 2013 both Jonas Kaufmann and Rene Pape opined in separate interviews that orchestras playing louder than ever and at a higher pitch was putting extra strain on singers, particularly in Wagner, but here this does not apply and this enables lighter, more bel canto voices to be cast in the leading roles with the exception of the Dutchman himself.
Mika Kares cast as Donald/Daland has a lighter more refined voice than Evgeny Nikitin, which reverses the usual position, Ingela Brimberg is a very fine Senta though she does not get the chance to convey much of the obsessive nature of the role, and the rest of the cast sing with beauty and elegance with voices we would normally expect to hear in Mozart.

Ironically, with the opportunity to cast a lighter voiced Dutchman, Minkowski has cast the familiar Nikitin who is a mainstream singer who has given us fine recorded performances of Amfortas and Fasolt for Gergiev.
His is the most conventionally familiar reading, but he struggles at the top of the stave-the voice doesn't wobble, but it fades and becomes "grey" of tone on a few occasions, most noticeably in the final peroration.
With this conception of the work overall, he was never going to be able deliver the kind of intensity that van Dam, Fischer-Dieskau or Uhde achieve but it is a good, robust performance even if it is a little incongruous among such a lighter, lyrical cast.

The other attraction of this set is the opportunity to hear Pierre-Louis Dietsch's take on the same story, "Le Vaisseau Fantȏme" of 1842 composed for the Paris Opera.
I was aware that the work existed, and also that Dietsch had conducted Wagner's revised Tannhauser in Paris during which exercise some rancour was vented by both parties regarding who copied what from whom etc., but beyond that my knowledge was nil.

It is a standard format 2 Act Opera in the style of early Gounod, Rossini, Meyerbeer or even early French Verdi and musically is as far removed from the style of Wagner as it would be possible to conceive.
The music conveys none of the sense of the story and drama being unfolded but consists of a series of prolonged cavatina leading into an aria designed to allow the singer to show off and give us some vocal fireworks, with some very high notes indeed. This is interspersed with recitative and a few lusty choruses-or as lusty as this attenuated chorus can achieve.

The music is unfailingly pleasant and melodious-and to my ears totally unmemorable. It is not difficult to guess why it is not performed more often.
Still, it is a fascinating listen with Britain's own Sally Matthews stealing the honours among an excellent cast, as Minna (Senta) (which had the timescales been different might have been seen as a dig at Wagner!)
Several members of the cast in the Wagner work reappear in this work, notably Bernard Richter whose tenor voice leaps above the scale causing me to think he had cried out in pain, but the beautifully toned Russell Braun sings this more charming Hollander with refinement and aplomb.

What this pairing of works serves to emphasise so well is just how revolutionary Wagner's opera was compared to the standard fayre of the era, and it is perhaps a little sad that the main value of hearing the Dietsch is that it serves to emphasise the revolutionary genius of Wagner.

I'm not going to pretend that this is how I want to hear Hollander in future-I prefer the revised version with as big an orchestra as possible-but I have enjoyed this performance and have returned to it several times and intend to again and not just out of academic interest.
I would suggest that all true Wagner lovers-even if they share my usual aversion to HIP practice in his works-will find this set fascinating and rewarding, and most crucially-enjoyable.
It is beautifully presented with extensive notes and libretti, and is very reasonably priced.
First choice recommendations for Hollander remain the reissued Konwitschny, the stereo Keilberth (best from Pristine Classics) and I have a warped fondness for Levine's massive, slow interpretation which equates the work with Tristan (but I accept that this is a somewhat personal and perverse choice. )
5 Stars for this set for enterprise and artistry. Stewart Crowe.
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly of curiosity value 23 Feb 2014
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Stewart Crowe has already provided an admirably perceptive and exhaustive review of this double-opera issue so I can add only my personal reaction to listening to them. I am not as generous or enthralled as he, insofar as there are, for me, two insurmountable obstacles to my taking much pleasure in either. While I am interested to hear the original 1843 version of the "Holländer", it is in no way preferable to the revised item we hear performed today, published in 1860.

I found this original version conducted by Minkowski very disappointing not because of the smaller orchestra, the period practice or even the musical content but more because of the quality of the singing. I found all the singers with the exception of Eric Cutler to be inadequate or at best undistinguished. Nikitin is grey-toned and weak above the stave so that he is sometimes yelling and even fails to cut through the band of 50 instrumentalists; his "Niemals der Tod" is a non-event. Ingrid Brimberg is shrill and monotonous as Senta. The small Estonian chorus seems underpowered although the ladies sing beautifully.

The orchestra plays well but there are problems with synchronising between it and the off-stage horns.

The companion piece by Dietsch simply confirms why it is that his opera has disappeared from the repertoire. The music is well-crafted but utterly, totally predictable rather in the manner of the most uninspired Meyerbeer (which is most of it!) so that absolutely nothing is memorable. It is designed to give singers showpiece arias but the melodies just melt away like candyfloss in the mouth. Eric Cutler sings well as Éric and Sally Matthews negotiates her coloratura and stratospheric passages with aplomb; unfortunately, her basic tone is not very attractive and her over-vibrant vibrato threatens to get away from her. The Magnus, Bernard Richter, who sings Der Steuermann in the Wagner, has a rather pale, plaintive, white-toned tenor. Russell Braun has a pleasant, light, flexible baritone which reminds me in tone of Romanian singer Alexandru Agache but without his heft; he makes more of his big aria "Dans ce port" than its conventional music merits.

The whole enterprise leaves me wondering whether it was all worth it and I wonder how many punters will be tempted to buy this set. I applaud Stewart Crowe's generosity in awarding five stars but reading between the lines in his review you can clearly detect this own reservations; he is simply a kinder soul than I. The official review organs have all gone overboard to praise it but that's standard practice these days which is why amateur reviewers are more likely to be reliable. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to listen to the Dietsch very often and the earlier version of Wagner's first masterpiece - the earliest to be admitted into the Bayreuth canon of ten - only serves to stress how much better his second, third and many more thoughts were right through to the time of his death when he was still considering revisions.
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