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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like this type of confection-then you'll like this!!
It seems a shame that given the dearth of new orchestral records they now release that DG should use their contract with the Cleveland Orchestra and Welser-Most to release an old fashioned "bleeding chunks" of Wagner CD. True, there has not been one such for a long time, but the catalogue really did not need another one. Of course, this is recorded from a concert, and the...
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by D. S. CROWE

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3.0 out of 5 stars "Safe" Wagner with a controversially voiced singer
So lovely is the playing from the Clevelanders here and so seductive is this selection of Wagnerian orchestral set pieces that it took me a while to realise that nobody is pushing the boat out and providing the kind of thrill the music can generate when in the hands of a more passionate conductor. There is a bloodless quality here that hardly satisfies although as sheer...
Published 5 months ago by Ralph Moore


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like this type of confection-then you'll like this!!, 24 Sep 2010
By 
D. S. CROWE "Music Lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music (Audio CD)
It seems a shame that given the dearth of new orchestral records they now release that DG should use their contract with the Cleveland Orchestra and Welser-Most to release an old fashioned "bleeding chunks" of Wagner CD. True, there has not been one such for a long time, but the catalogue really did not need another one. Of course, this is recorded from a concert, and the concert was not promoted by DG, so we must treat it as a welcome opportunity and not be too churlish.
The recording is superb, warm and detailed, confirming that FWM has built upon upon the warm Germanic style playing developed and encouraged by Dohnanyi during his tenure, so different from the whipcrack but glacial brilliance under Szell. FWM conducts these items as stand- alone concert pieces, not "extracts from the operas", and the programming and tempi reflect this. The Wesendonck Lieder are a particular success-although the voice seems to be in a slightly different acoustic, but this is not a major distraction. The Meistersinger Overture is very fast-as fast as Solti in Chicago-but the rhythmic flow is gentler, and the dynamic more "fluid" and less incisive than Solti, with a resulting greater success. Given the excellence of his Solo Artist, I had expected the Liebestod to be sung, but what we get is the full orchestral Prelude and Liebestod with no vocal contribution. A missed trick here I feel.
The Walkurenritt was obviously an encore, and is greeted rapturously!
All in all then, a superbly played and recorded collection, winningly conducted by FWM with a really fine Wesendonck Lieder. If this song collection is on your wish list, then this is a real contender. There are fine Wagner collections available in modern sound, most notably Maazel with the Berlin Philharmonic, and this does not supplant these as a "must hear" requirement, but if the selection appeals, you are a particular fan of the Conductor or Orchestra and are attracted to the concert then this disc will not disappoint.The current modest price adds to the 5 Star Status. Enjoy! Stewart Crowe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Safe" Wagner with a controversially voiced singer, 28 Feb 2014
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music (Audio CD)
So lovely is the playing from the Clevelanders here and so seductive is this selection of Wagnerian orchestral set pieces that it took me a while to realise that nobody is pushing the boat out and providing the kind of thrill the music can generate when in the hands of a more passionate conductor. There is a bloodless quality here that hardly satisfies although as sheer sound it’s impeccable, as is the technical brilliance of the orchestra. The Prelude to Act III of "Lohengrin" is neat, elegant and rather tame, while the vertical sense of spirituality that Kempe brings to the Act I Prelude is simply absent - maybe its absence derives from the foursquare phrasing or lack of variation in dynamics but it doesn't move the listener as it should; the introduction of the woodwinds at 1'52" is perfunctory. The overture to "Die Meistersinger" is simply plodding and stolid; there is no sense of release at the climax. The "Rienzi" overture needs more enthusiasm and attack, although the medley of great tunes is attractive in itself. The Prelude and "Liebestod" to “Tristan" is the most successful orchestral item here: poised and intense but hardly rapturous.

My disappointment is compounded by my adverse reaction to Measha Brueggergosman's voice. I wasn't impressed when a friend introduced me to her some while back, although she has been gaining rave reviews. Although she has a warm vocal personality, I find her vibrato intrusive and her phrasing lumpy; I can name half a dozen more alluringly sung versions of this lovely set of songs.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From One Colonial to Another, 26 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music (Audio CD)
I felt a premonition of dread when I played this disc. Contents-wise, it was not dissimilar to the Wagner Gala disc that DG had published in the mid-1990s featuring Abbado, Studer, Terfel and a Berlin Philharmonic in free-fall Wagner: Gala (Tannhaüser, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Die Walküre). It did not impress Gramophone's Alan Blyth - no mean reviewer - one little bit. He sent in the Lancasters. Both performances end in the Ride of the Valkyries, played energetically to the gallery . . . . .

The Wesendonck Lieder are the best items on this disc and highly enjoyable. Brueggergosman has a fine timbre and exemplary diction but I suspect it is a voice in transition. It's like cellaring a bottle of wine with potential: it could become magical or transform into vinegar. But my focus here is the orchestral works.

I agree that Rienzi needs some `crash & bash' to sustain any interest: who cares. But I am puzzled that anyone could see merit in these ho-hum performances of the Preludes to Tristan, Lohengrin and the Meistersingers. To my ears, they are pedestrian - and all the more so when laminated in that `high gloss' sonority which is the hallmark of American orchestras (nowadays, I hasten to add). A comparison with the plumb-line - the Karajan '74 Wagner: Orchestral Music or '84 for the Tristan Wagner: excerpts from: Tannhauser / Die Meistersinger / Tristan- shows up their lack of poise and grip. Welser-Most's Lohengrin is earthbound, not mystical: there is no 'falling upwards into radiant light' (Baudelaire). WM's inability to carve out a climax in Die Meistersingers is genuinely alarming.

These works are also included in Szell's famous performances with the Clevelanders from 1968 Wagner: Orchestral Music from Der Ring des Nibelungen Die Meistersinger - Tristan und Isolde. No-one is going to pretend Welser-Most is in the same class as our bespectacled friend but he does not even come close. The orchestra - sad to say - has also lost its Klang.

Subjectivity is king in the domain of Amazon reviews but I wonder whether other considerations are in play when our American brethren praise this concert to high heavens.

Should I summon the Redcoats?
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Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music
Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Orchestral Music by Measha Brueggergosman (Audio CD - 2010)
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