Wagner: Overtures & Preludes - Järvi

Wagner: Overtures & Preludes - Järvi

Chandos  CHSA 5126

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Wagner: Overtures & Preludes from/on Die Feen, Columbus, Das Liebesverbot, Rienzi, Faust, Der fliegende Hollander, Lohengrin (Act III), Tristan & Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg

Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Neeme Järvi

On this album we bring together some of the highlights from Neeme Järvi’s five-volume Wagner series with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. As an added bonus, we have included the Overture to Der fliegende Holländer, a piece not before released.

Among Wagner’s most revolutionary scores is the tragic-romantic opera Tristan und Isolde. The key themes of anticipation, longing, rapture, separation, hope, death, and transfiguration are suggested already in the famous Prelude to the opera, recorded here.

The Overture to Rienzi, Wagner’s third completed opera (1838 – 40), incorporates the melody of Rienzi’s prayer at the start of Act V, which since became the opera’s best-known aria, and ends with a dazzling military march. Die Feen was the composer’s first great romantic, although less well-known, opera. The overall style of the work, based on La donna serpente by Carlo Gozzi, owes its essentials to Beethoven, Marschner, and Weber.

Wagner based Das Liebesverbot on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. It is perhaps the most Mediterranean-sounding of his operas, something especially apparent in the brimming vitality of the Overture with its sparkling contributions of castanets, triangle, and tambourine. ‘Rollicking good fun’ wrote American Record Guide of this piece.

Also enriching the album are the Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, and the seldom performed and recorded, Weber-inspired Overture which Wagner wrote in 1835 for the play Columbus by Theodor Apel. Eine Faust-Ouvertüre followed in 1840. Taking its inspiration from Goethe’s famous play, this work, together with Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, became the main example of nineteenth-century programme music.

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PCM recording

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
18 and 19 August 2009 (Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin)
16 and 17 February 2010 (Overtures to Die Feen and Das Liebesverbot, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde)
17 and 19 August 2010 (Overture to Columbus, Eine Faust-Ouvertüre, Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
21 and 22 March 2011 (Overtures to Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen and Die fliegende Holländer [not previously released])

24Bit 96Khz
Reviews (1)

Review by Graham Williams - August 27, 2013

Purely in orchestral terms Neeme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra have done Wagner proud over the past few years with their four discs of Henk de Vleiger's 'orchestral syntheses' of seven of Wagner's most well-known operas – each superbly played by the RSNO and recorded in sumptuous sound quality by Chandos. In addition, Järvi has also given us a fifth disc of rarities that included his two early, and quite rarely performed, symphonies.

This new SACD – issued quite appropriately towards the end of the Wagner bi-centenary year – collects together some of the fill-ups from the previous five discs and also includes a previously un-issued fiery account of the Overture to 'Der Fliegende Holländer'. Its generous playing time of 80 minutes makes it a most attractive proposition for those wanting a collection of Wagner Overtures and Preludes, but unwilling to purchase the earlier issues.

The order of the nine pieces on this disc follows that of the Wagner Werk Verzeichnis (WWV). So playing this disc through from start to finish enables one to follow the remarkable development of the composer's style from his earliest completed opera 'Die Feen' (1833) with its debt to Weber and Marschner up to its confident maturity in 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' (1868).

As has been noted in reviews of the earlier issues, some of Järvi's generally fast tempi are occasionally questionable – sometimes verging on the eccentric (the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde being a case in point), but overall these pieces are given thrilling performances splendidly recorded in 24-bit/96kHz 5.0-channel surround sound by engineers Ralph Couzens and Jonathan Cooper in the spacious acoustic of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.

Strongly recommended to both Wagnerites and audiophiles alike.

Copyright © 2013 Graham Williams and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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