Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Isolde, but also a Tristan ladies and gentlemen!, 23 Oct 2012
This review is from: Tristan und Isolde (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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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Nov 2012 10:39:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Nov 2012 10:40:14 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
You've left me nothing to review! OK, I would dock another star-Gould's performance is remarkable because it's not unremittingly awful, and I think you are a TAD generous to him, but otherwise your review says it all.
Best regards, Stewart.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012 12:57:56 GMT
Autonome says:
No worries Stuart - thanks for the comment - I will probably not review anymore what you review since we seem to have exactly the same ear (phenomenon which is not given to a lot of people). Thence I am going to make it easier on my time: any good recos for a complete set of Bruckner's symphonies (or individual). Obviously I'll know I'll be able to buy blindly. Good W-E, A

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012 15:24:47 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
Now you've done it-we 've strayed into very dangerous territory with Bruckner! It works well so many ways-from Celibidache to Sawallisch! If you want a one-off complete set in excellent sound then my own recommendations when asked are: If you are content with Nowak, then the Maazel BRSO set which I have reviewed and whch nearly caused a war (my review that is!) is superb on all fronts in my view.
If you prefer Haas, the best overall set has to be Karajan, despite some harsh recordings of the earlier symphonies. There is a newly released Klemperer set of the the later symphonies, and the Celibidache of 3-9 with the Te Deum is monumentally good!
The Maazel includes symphony 0 and what we used to call 00, but is now classed as 2a, so it is really complete.
Those who love that set REALLY love it-those who don't seem to hate it, and I can't fathom why unless it's just animus towards Maazel.
My absolute favourite Bruckner conductor is Giulini-his 8 &9 with the VPO are incomparable, and his live 7th with the BPO is also stunning-but that's it!
Chailly has universally great sound, but is often a bit bland, Solti often misses the mark, Haitink is worthy but dull, Wand is reliable- and dull-and Jochum (DG) is variable, and overall not for me.
I'm not a fan of the Barenboim sets, either Chicago or Berlin, but others really admire them.
So, I'll stick with my recommendations of Maazel and Hvk!! Hope this helps! As ever, Stewart.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012 15:43:26 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
By the way, Bernard O'Hanlon who really KNOWS and loves his Bruckner, LOVES the Karajan-see his review-but does NOT like the Maazel-but SFL, on the other hand, the SHARPEST of critics really rates it! If pushed to one choice, it would be that one-but the HvK is really cheap, so why not get both-then you've got all the bases covered. Once again, I could have written your Solti and Pappano Tristan rerviews myself-just what I would have said (though in inferior English no doubt!) Uncanny. As ever, S!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012 21:56:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Nov 2012 21:57:47 GMT
Autonome says:
Thanks Stuart - My life is going to probably get busy again (which is not bad) therefore no more reviews for a while. I'll have to rely on reliable troops so pls keep up the good work - and yes Maazel has taken much too much slack IMHO. I saw him with the WP in London in 2003 (or thenabouts): honest, ample, great. And then Gergiev 6 months later...Couldn't believe it was the same orchestra. Thank you VERY MUCH again, A.

Posted on 10 Nov 2012 08:49:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jan 2013 14:28:27 GMT
Dag Kyndel says:
If you want to hear Stemme's fantastic Brünnhilde you can buy the complete Ring from San Fransisco 2011 (it was sensational) from premiereopera.net
And Götterdämmerung from München 2012 (extremely well recieved) from premiere.opera.com
Please note the difference between .com and .net in the adress. And soon we can her her Brünnhilde in a complete Ring with Gergiev.

Posted on 10 Nov 2012 16:32:50 GMT
Dag Kyndel says:
Stemme sings her first Turandot in Stockholm Februari 2013.
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