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Une Soiree Musicalle Chez Albert Baron De L'espee - Wagner Transcribed For Organ / Thorp, Kuhlmann


Release Date: 05/06/2008 
Label:  Aeolus   Catalog #: 10271   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph KuhlmannSuzanne Thorp
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Albert Baron de l’Espée had two obsessions: organs, and Wagner. Possessed of a vast fortune, he indulged both, building opulent residences around several huge–and I mean concert hall-sized–pipe organs during his eccentric lifetime (1852-1918). These gave him the opportunity to play Wagner to his heart’s delight. None of these instruments exists in precisely its original form. One is now housed in the Church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, while the organ on the present recital was originally the showpiece of the private concert hall at the Baron’s castle at Ilbarritz. Most of this organ eventually found its way to church of San Salvador in Usurbil, Spain.

Unfortunately, the stops that did not make it to
Read more Usurbil, for obvious reasons given the organ’s new liturgical use, included a whole host of percussion contraptions: drums, cymbals, and other organ exotica. These are essential to any plausible rendering of the Rienzi Overture, as this sadly lumbering approximation makes abundantly clear (first sound clip). However, both the organ and Christoph Kuhlmann’s playing of it make a much more convincing case in the Parsifal Prelude and Good Friday Music, the Prelude to Tristan and Isolde, and even Siegfried’s Funeral Music (though a good drumroll would have been nice there too).

In the Wesendonck-Lieder voice and organ work surprisingly well. Soprano Suzanne Thorp’s voice floats magically in the vast church acoustic. “Traüme,” for example, really is dreamy (second sound clip), and whether close to Wagner’s intentions or not, Aeolus’ fine engineering does justice to both performers. This is, obviously, a very specialized production, but it illuminates a curious niche of the romantic repertoire in a most entertaining fashion.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Parsifal: Prelude(s) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
2.
Parsifal: Good Friday Music by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
3.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 1, Der Engel by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Suzanne Thorp (Soprano), Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
4.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 2, Stehe still! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Suzanne Thorp (Soprano), Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
5.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 3, Im Treibhaus by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Suzanne Thorp (Soprano), Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
6.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 4, Schmerzen by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Suzanne Thorp (Soprano), Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
7.
Wesendonck Lieder: no 5, Träume by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Suzanne Thorp (Soprano), Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1858; Germany 
8.
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral Music by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
9.
Tristan und Isolde: Prelude(s) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1859; Germany 
10.
Rienzi: Overture by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christoph Kuhlmann (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1843; Germany 

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