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Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, Tristan und isolde
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
If you want to be alternately caressed by the cool, tapering fingers of attendant naiads, wafted aloft on roseate clouds, rocked while reclining upon the ample pneumatic charms of Venus's bosom then you might like to buy this disc.

This concert was the product of the late re-emergence of the love-affair between Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic once he had irreparably fallen out with his long-time orchestral spouse in Berlin and the orchestra play for him like one silky, muscular, homogenous organism; I don't think I've ever heard a band play more beautifully. The amount of detail which emerges through the glorious blend of sound is astonishing; never before have I so clearly heard the scurrying sixteenth note figure for the violas in the "Tannhäuser" overture. Balances are perfect -and this was a live concert.

The "Siegfried Idyll" is a miracle of deft tenderness and nuance while the Prelude and Liebestod from "Tristan" make a supremely satisfying conclusion to a master-class in conducting and playing. While I prefer this music delivered a tad more urgently, the sheen on the sound and the application of cumulative tension despite the restrained tempo create an overwhelming erotic tension. Wheeling out Jessye Norman's plush velvet and steel soprano was the ideal programming; what other voice could have so aptly matched the sound of the VPO in this music? (What a pity she never felt able to record the whole role.) The final "unbewusst, höchste Lust" is magical.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2014
This concert was recorded on the Feast of the Assumption in 1987. It was the centrepiece of the turpitudinous `Karajan in Salzburg' documentary. While this disc has never been remastered, the sound is terrific for a live recording where people were hanging off the rafters, ghoulishly trying to glimpse the Maestro before the Grim Reaper brought down the scythe.

The Tannhauser Overture, as performed here, is an exemplar on how to sustain momentum, tension and nobility in Wagner (ineptly played, nothing is coarser in the world). Like Christ's garment, Karajan's conception is seamless and miraculously so. No mere speed merchant, he builds inexorably towards the climax and then lets fly with an orgasmic excitement that is astounding. It is so much more gripping than Abbado's flaccid `Beauty is All' expositions of the same work Wagner: Orchestral Music- Tannhauser / Parsifal / Tristan &Wagner: Gala (Tannhaüser, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Die Walküre).

Next comes the Siegfried Idyll. What a paean it is to the bliss of domestic life: however momentarily, we are union! There are some colours for which there are no names and they can be glimpsed at 16'40" ff in this performance. It is stupendous. Karajan's touch throughout is unerring and as light as a feather - entranced, the Vienna Philharmonic venture into realms far removed from a mere concert hall.

The second half of the concert is less memorable. The Tristan Prelude is consummately played but it cannot compete with the `postcards from the edge' performance with the Berliners from 1984 Wagner: excerpts from: Tannhauser / Die Meistersinger / Tristan

Come the Liebestod, the merits of Jessye Norman's contribution will come down to taste. While I ultimately find her lacking in anguish and vulnerability, is it wrong to revel in a voice that is so sonorous, powerful and yet delicate? Others will demur either way.

This was a great concert. Relive it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is very memorable live recording of Wagner's orchestral works. Tannhauser Overture is absolutely thrilling and magnificent. Siegfried Idyll is more spontaneous and sensitive than his studio recording. Prelude & Liebestod with Norman is deeply moving and powerful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2013
Von Karajan died less than one year after this performance, and I love to think that you can feel his urgency to deliver a final supreme interpretation of the music he loved most.At times, he seems overwhelmed by the beauty of Wagner's music.
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on 24 September 2014
A great recording of the wonderful Jessye under the eye of the old maestro.
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on 4 February 2015
A most moving recording !
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2014
Excellent service,couldn't be better.
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