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on 11 December 2010
For a budget price on 2 cd's you can listen to some lesser known,and unknown Wagner.
1.The Overture to Liebesverbot(The Ban on Love)Wagners 1834 Opera,based on Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure"
Being early it doesn't sound like Wagner,more like Rossini or Meyerbeer!but there are flashes of the Wagner that was to come.
2,The Symphony in E Major.Written when Wagner was 19!
3.The Faust Overture.This was written in 1839,and was intended to be part of a Faust Symphony(never finished) Wagner tinkered with it till 1855,when he was happy with it.
4.The five Wesendonck Lieder.Words written by Wagner's mistress(?)Wagner wrote these songs for solo voice and piano,and only orchestrated "Traume" in his lifetime.The Austrian composer Felix Mottl orchestrated them,and this is the usual way we hear them.However,on this recording we have the 1976 orchestration for chamber orchestra by Hans Werner Henze.Different to the Mottl,but much more light,transparent& spiritual.
Marjana Liposvek sings them with incredible feeling and a voice that carries them straight into your heart.
5.The Overture to Rienzi.Written in 1842,this was Wagners first sucessfully stage work.
6.Columbus Overture,written in 1835 for a drama of the same name.
7,Overture to Die Feen(The Fairies)written in 1833,Wagner's first completed opera.
8.Wagner wrote his Huldigungsmarsch (Homage March) in 1865 as a tribute to his patron, King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was originally composed for wind band.
10.Kaisermarsch (Emperor March). Orch. work by Wagner, comp. 1871 to celebrate Ger. victory in Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and election of Wilhelm I as German Emperor.
11.Großer Festmarsch (Centennial March) for the centenary of the independence of the USA.Wagner had forgotten to check how much his fee was for this work.Cosima suggested (the then) outrageous fee of $5,000,but they paid it.
12.Wagner composed the Siegfried Idyll as a birthday present to his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. It was first performed on the morning of Christmas Eve (Cosima's birthday) in 1870 by a small ensemble on the stairs of their villa at Tribschen (today part of Lucerne) in the Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland; Cosima awoke to its opening melody.

Well, the only compositions I knew before buying these discs were Rienzi,The Wesendonck Lieder and the Siegfried Idyll.If like me you want to know more of Wagner than just the usual works, then this set will let you see what Wagner was doing earlier in his career.
All the conductors and orchestras (and their interpretations) on these discs are highly recommended.
A real eye(or should that be ear?) opener.
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on 25 May 2012
Good addition to the catalogue these pair of Cds. We can find here real gems which have been sadly neglected, specially the overtures: Das Liebesverbot, Faust, Columbus ( completely new to me this work ), Die Feen and more household titles, like Rienzi. These overtures were composed by Wagner in his twenties and all of them bear the stamp of romanticism.
Another marvellous piece is the first movement of the symphony in E Major, Allegro con spirito. Wagner wrote the sketches of this movement in 1834, and then embarked on the sketches for the second movement but only got as far as the first twenty nine bars. Apparently, they turned up in 1886, three years after the composer's death.His widow entrusted their orchestration to the conductor Felix Mottl. On this Cd we can only hear the first movement.
To me it is a pity these Cds should contain this symphony only, because Wagner, on the other hand, wrote the C major
symphony when he was nineteen, work full of verve and enthusiasm, but even more remarkable is the grandess of the musical conception.
The weakest point of this selection are certainly the marches the composer wrote in 1870s. They lack the vitality and vigour of youth, are the reaction to official occasions. These works turn pale before the spirit of the others. One may wonder what would have happened if the composer had followed the symphonic path and not that of the opera.
Good performances by world class orchestras and conductors.
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