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WAGNER, R.: Scenes from Tristan und Isolde and Gotterdammerung (John Horton Murray/ John McGlinn/ Lubov Doronina/ Margaret Jane Wray/ Nancy Maultsby/ Russian State Symphony Orchestra) (Naxos: 8.555789)


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Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Scenes from Tristan und Isolde and Gotterdammerung
Richard Wagner inspired in his contemporariesextremes of reaction. His career was in many waysthoroughly discreditable. He betrayed friends andpatrons, accumulated debts with abandon, and seemed,in pursuit of his aims, an unprincipled opportunist.Nevertheless, whatever his defects of character, heexercised a hypnotic influence over his immediatefollowers, while his creation of a new form of musicdrama,in which the arts were combined, and themagnitude of his ambitious conception continue tofascinate.As a boy in Leipzig Wagner was inspired by theexample of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, while hisliterary ambitions drew strength from a study ofShakespeare. Study of music in Leipzig was followed in1833 by appointment as chorus-master at the opera inWurzburg, through the agency of an elder brother, aprincipal tenor there. The next year he became musicdirector to Heinrich Bethmann's theatre company,moving with it to Magdeburg, largely at the insistenceof the actress Minna Planer, whom he followed toKonigsberg, marrying her there in November 1836. Thefollowing spring saw him as music director to theKonigsberg theatre and in the summer he took up anappointment as music director in Riga, where he wasjoined again by Minna, who had earlier deserted him forother lovers. Employment in Riga ended in March 1839and debts now forced Wagner to take flight, sailing toLondon, but finally finding refuge and a possiblerealisation of ambitions in Paris.While the French capital offered experience thatproved fruitful, there were practical difficulties inearning a living. In 1842, however, Wagner succeeded,with the help of Meyerbeer, in securing a staging of hisopera Rienzi in Dresden, followed by Die fliegendeHollander and appointment as music director at thecourt opera. He held this position until involvementwith revolutionaries in 1849 forced him to seek refugein Switzerland. Years spent there, interrupted byperiods in Paris, Venice, and Vienna, brought growingachievement as a composer and the patronage of KingLudwig II of Bavaria in Munich, where the great musicdramas of his maturity were staged. Rivalries forced hisdeparture, again to Switzerland, where, on news of thedeath of his wife, who had remained in Dresden, he wasjoined by Liszt's illegitimate daughter Cosima, the wifeof the pianist and conductor Hans von Bulow. A yearbefore her divorce from von Bulow, she bore Wagner ason, Siegfried, and brought with her two daughters thatWagner had fathered. The couple married in 1870 andthe following year Wagner turned his attention to thebuilding of his own opera house in Bayreuth, withfurther support from King Ludwig, from whom Wagnerhad been estranged for some years. It was in the newtheatre that the first complete performance of Der Ringdes Nibelungen was performed in 1876, to be followedin 1882 by the first staging of Parsifal. Over the yearsWagner had generally spent the winter in the warmerclimate of Italy. He died in Venice in February 1883.After his escape from Dresden Wagner had beenhelped in Switzerland by the banker Otto Wesendonck,with whose wife the composer established arelationship, finally exposed by Wagner's wife, Minna.This domestic intrigue lay, in part, behind the story ofdoomed lovers in Tristan und Isolde, in which the hero,Tristan, betrays his king and benefactor, King Marke,whose bride, Isolde, he has escorted over the water toher new husband. Their love is brought about by a lovepotion, administered, during the course of their journey,by Brangane, Isolde's servant.[1] The second act of the opera is set in the groundsof King Marke's castle in Cornwall on a summer night.The garden is surrounded by high trees, with stepsleading up to Isolde's chamber. There is a torch burningby the open doors. The King, himself has just left on ahunting expedition and the horns are heard in thedistance. Brangane, standing on the steps, looks towardsthe departing huntsmen and then back at the chamber,from which Isolde emerges. [2] Isolde listens to thesounds of the night, oblivious to Brangane's concernthat the hunt is still within hearing; [3] no horn-call is sogentle as the sound of the flowing spring. Branganewarns her mistress that she should beware of Melot, atreacherous friend of Tristan, who has organized theKing's night-time expedition as a ploy to catch thelovers unawares, and laments the potion she hadadministered to the lovers, the source of their trouble.[4] Isolde dismisses Brangane's warning; it was lovethat brought her and Tristan together, and she dismissesBrangane's presentiments of danger. Seizing the torch,she dashes it to the ground, the signal for Tristan to joinher in the garden. Aware of nothing but the power oflove, she awaits Tristan's arrival, while Brangane goesto keep watch for the return of the hunt.[5] Tristan hastens in and the lovers greet each other,intoxicated by their love for each other that seems adream. [6] They regret their separation, apart so long,inveighing against distance, and praising their nearnessto each other. [7] The day, treacherous and a bitterenemy, seems hateful to them, deceiving Tristan intobringing Isolde as bride for the King. [8] Isoldecontinues her reproaches against day that had deceivedher into plotting Tristan's death, together with her.[9] Tristan continues praise of night and of the draughtof death that, instead, brought their love, after thedeception of daylight. Isolde adds that the false potiondeceived him in his hope for death. Tristan claims itbrought him deeper understanding of the night. [10] Nowthey are consecrated to the night, no longer deceived bythe light of day. [11] Tristan kneels by Isolde's side,calling on the night of love to come down on them,singing a prolonged hymn to the night. [12] In their heartsthere is the light of love, joining them, heart to heart.[13] Their ardent expressions of love are interrupted onlyby Brangane's admonition as she keeps vigil in a nearbytower. [14] Emotions intensify, the lovers seeking deathrather than awakening from their love. [15] Their love foreach other defies death. [16] Their love is Tristan andIsolde and will destroy death. [17] Their death meanseternal happiness, for ever, without end. Brangane isagain heard briefly, warning the lovers that day is near.[18] The love duet continues, as they seek the night andlove, [19] rising unrestrainedly towards an ecstaticclimax.The scene that follows opens with a horrifiedscream from Brangane, as Kurwenal rushes in, warningTristan to make his escape, followed by the King, Melotand their friends. The King questions Tristan,reproaching him for this betrayal of trust. Tristan repliesobliquely that he no longer feels himself to be a creatureof this world and invites Isolde to join him in the sunlessland of his birth. She agrees, Tristan kisses her, butMelot, incensed by the frustration of his own love forher, attacks Tristan who falls wounded into the arms ofKurwenal.Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods) was thelast opera of the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung.It was first staged at Bayreuth in 1876. The workreaches its climax in the funeral pyre of the heroSiegfried, joined in death by the Valkyrie Brunnhilde,and culminating in the final conflagration thatoverwhelms Valhalla.Siegfried, who had awakened with a kissBrunnhilde, the Valkyrie, condemned by her father to arock surrounded by fire, has been killed by Hagen.[20] In the Immolation Scene she orders the men to raise apyre for Siegfried, to bring his horse, to share with herthe funeral rites. [21] She tells of the purity of Siegfried,the truest, who yet had broken every oath and vow.[22] She calls on Wotan to hear her, now with herknowledge restored to her; his ravens may take him amessage of peace. [23] She gives a sign to the men to bearSiegfried's body to the pyre and takes from his fingerthe ring, which she now will return to the Rhine withher ashes. [24] She t
Facts
Item number 8555789
Barcode 747313578924
Release date 23/07/2004
Category Opera / Operetta | Classical Music
Label Naxos Classics | Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Margaret Jane Wray
John Horton Murray
Nancy Maultsby
Composers Richard Wagner
Conductors John McGlinn
Orchestras Russian State Symphony Orchestra
Producers Lubov Doronina
Disc: 1
Tristan und Isolde: Act II, Scenes 1 and 2
1 Einleitung (Prelude)
2 Horst du sie noch?
3 Nicht Hornerschall tont so hold
4 Dein Werk? O tor'ge Magd!
5 Isolde! Tristan! Geliebte(r)!
6 Wie lange fern! Wie fern so lang!
7 Dem Tage! Dem Tage!
8 O eitler Tagesknecht!
9 In deiner Hand den sussen Tod
10 Doch es rachte sich der verscheuchte Tag
11 O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe
12 Barg im Busen uns sich die Sonne
13 Einsam wachend in der Nacht
14 Lausch, Geliebter!
15 Unsre Liebe? Tristans Liebe?
16 Doch unsre Liebe
17 So sturben wir, um ungetrennt
18 Soll ich lauschen?
19 O ew'ge Nacht, susse Nacht!
Gotterdammerung: Act III, Scene 3
20 Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort
21 Wie Sonne lauter strahlt mir sein Licht
22 O ihr, der Eide ewige Huter!
23 Mein Erbe nun nehm ich zu eigen
24 Fliegt heim, ihr Raben!
25 Grane, mein Ross! Sei mir gegrusst!
26 Apotheosis
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