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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde Box set

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
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Audio CD, Box set, 10 Aug 2010
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Carlos Kleiber
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (10 Aug. 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: DG
  • ASIN: B0006ZFQP8
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product description

KOLLO / MOLL / KLEIBER / STAAT

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think that in order to avoid getting bogged down in debate over whether singers such as Margaret Price have any business singing a role which they would not - and indeed, in her case never did - attempt on stage, this recording is best viewed as a product of the recording studio rather than an attempt to replicate a live performance, and devised in order to enshrine the conception of a great conductor making the best of the resources available to him. Undoubtedly the DG engineers' adjustments are enabling lighter voiced artists to be heard but the same could be said of the covered pit at Bayreuth and to this day true Wagner singers who may be properly heard over the orchestra are as rare as hen's teeth.

This is undoubtedly beautifully played and directed; Kleiber's sensitivity and lyricism infuse every bar but he also packs a punch at the climactic conclusions of Acts 1 and 2. Being a devotee of the live 1966 recording at Bayreuth conducted by Böhm, I miss a certain propulsion in passages such as the "O sink hernieder" duet and too often his singers are almost crooning not just because they lack vocal heft but because a Lieder-like restraint and delicacy are clearly what the conductor has demanded of them. That can pay dividends: this is clearly the most minutely prepared of recordings with every textual and musical nuance thought through for maximum impact; nothing is skimped or blandly performed.

Fischer-Dieskau croons and fakes notes because by this stage of his career - the set was recorded between August 1980 and April 1982 - the juice has gone out of his voice and he no longer has the resources but he creates a bluff, credible Kurwenal.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Phantastic !
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Format: Audio CD
A wonderful set - and an outstanding bargain. Top contenders in this opera would be the versions of Furtwängler and Böhm. The recorded sound of this issue alone - it is beautifully spacious with perfect balance between singers and orchestra - puts it way ahead of the old Furtwängler, which in any case has in Flagstad an Isolde who sounds far too matronly. One gets more orchestral detail than in the Böhm version for Kleiber is a master at bringing out tiny details of woodwind colouring, as is immediately apparent in the Prelude. Margaret Price and René Kollo both sound convincingly young. Price is the loveliest-sounding Isolde I have ever heard, also the most ecstatic: no-one would know she hadn't sung the role onstage. Kurt Moll gives full attention to every word and is a rare example of a King Marke who isn't a bore. In fact, there isn't a single passage throughout the opera which drags, thanks to Kleiber's inspired direction. The opera can also be bought as part of a 12-CD set, an absolute bargain but the remastering may not equal the sound on this version.
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Format: Audio CD
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this recording of "Tristan und Isolde," and that that is the case is due mainly to the superb direction of Carlos Kleiber. In all three of these long acts, he finds a way to keep the pulse going and find a musical narrative that sustains and enriches the narrative that is being enacted and sung. The DGG sound is beautiful, and the Dresden orchestra plays magnificently throughout. The control of dynamics and phrasing always seems to be alive and expressive, so that even in the places where the voices are under stress, and at times overwhelmed, one never feels that the drama isn't moving forward. It's easy to forget, over the long spans of the piece, that each act has its distinctive sound-world, though if that were not the case, the ear would surely tire. That is never a problem here.

If one wants to isolate individual vocal performances from the overall musical progression, one can find things to criticize. The most obvious of these is Kollo's Tristan -- his is not a particularly beautiful sound here, in 1982. In the Karajan 1970 "Meistersinger" and when I heard him live in 1969 in "Das Lied von der Erde" in Edinburgh, there was more sweetness with the power -- though it was never heldentenor power. But he sings with great attention to the text, and the phrasing and dynamics receive their due too (his singing is not an undifferentiated bellow), even if the tone isn't always sweet and if the voice seems near its limit. He sings very expressively in Act 3. though he might be at his best in the confrontation with Marke late in Act 2, where his voice seems at its freshest. Fischer-Dieskau's voice shows some wear, but he's a perfectly effective Kurwenal, and Anton Dermota, at 72, sounds marvelously fresh and firm as the Herdsman.
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Format: Audio CD
Having listened to the whole of this recording in a state of almost hypnosis, it is easy to see why Tristan was ready to depart this life. Margaret Price is to die for. Her lightness and flexibilty combined with exceptional musicality and emotive power makes this one of the finest available recordings of the role of Isolde. Price, though, has ample vocal power when needed. Combine this with Carlos Kleiber's visionary conducting and the ravishing string sound of the Dresden Staatskapelle and you have special ingredients indeed. The liebestod is a sublime culmination where Price achieves something extraordinary and will leave you in awe of this great singer. Even Rene Kollo as Tristan sound more youthful and lighter than in other recordings. If you buy only one recording of this work, it has to be this one.
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