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Gemini - Wagner: Orchestral Music / Tennstedt, Berlin Po


Release Date: 02/15/2005 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 86248   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 37 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

One is struck by the fact that the BPO, who must have been through all this music so often, can under a conductor who obviously inspires them, produce playing that is at once so polished and so fresh. One of the very finest Wagner orchestral collections in the catalog.

An exciting collection for those who like their Wagner without voices and recorded with self-conscious brilliance. Indeed, the sound cannot fail to make an effect when it is so clear. The cymbal clashes in the "Ride of the Valkyries" make a steely impact (although I confess I miss the whoops of the Valkyries themselves, however ungainly they may be). There is a thumping great drum-thwack at the beginning of the "Entry of the Gods into
Read more Valhalla" and the double chords at the climax of "Siegfried's Funeral March" have a similar penetrative power. But the playing itself is, of course, first class and Tennstedt keeps the tension high. The digital effect is at its most telling in the pianissimo detail, especially in the atmospheric "Forest Murmurs". But at fortissimos (and they really are!) there is the kind of fierceness on top that one associates with hi-fl demonstrations. The brass is relatively dry and I feel that a little more resonance here would have balanced the treble. Even so, with some adjustment of the controls one can get impressive reproduction through really big speakers, while the evocative qualities of the music-making undoubtedly grip the listener at the opening of "Siegfried's Rhine Journey" and in the "Magic Fire Music".

– Ivan March, Gramophone [10/1981, reviewing the original LP release of the Ring selections]

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I enjoyed Tennstedt's earlier digital Wagner selection (concentrating on excerpts from The Ring—ASD3985, 10/81) but this one is even finer. The performances are all characteristically steady, but as before there is electricity in every bar and the playing of the BPO is absolutely first class. Tennstedt's manner is highly individual, his slow and spacious approach to the famous Pilgrims' theme opening of Tannhäuser is magnetic and when the tune is reprised at the end against (at first) delicate cascades of violin scales and the climax built with the most eloquent brass playing, the effect is noble and contained instead of extrovert, with a touch of vulgarity, as it so often is. Similarly, the gorgeous string melody at the opening of Rienzi is moulded gently (almost elegiacally). The effect is deliberate but the high tension beneath the surface of the playing prevents any hint of heaviness, and later the lighter, rhythmic material 'on the strings is elegantly pointed, so that even when the brass enter with their resonant fanfares any hint of the bandstand is banished. At the radiant beginning of the Lohengrin Prelude to Act I Tennstedt lingers lovingly on detail, and surely the closing pages also have never sounded more refined on record. Unlike, say Furtwangler's early version, the performance is without a relentless forward tread; instead Tennstedt presses on just before the climax (very effectively) and then relaxes again.

Textures are fresh in Die Meistersinger and there is admirable detail. This is without the massive effect one experiences on most records (and in the concert hall) as the bass is light (a drawback I think) and the sound is without a richly glowing resonance; yet Tennstedt draws out the closing pages satisfyingly. The Third Act Lohengrin Prelude is direct and suitably brilliant without being over-done. One is struck by the fact that the BPO, who must have been through all this music so often, can under a conductor who obviously inspires them, produce playing that is at once so polished and so fresh. A most rewarding collection—one of the very finest Wagner orchestral discs in the catalogue.

– Ivan March, Gramophone [12/1983, reviewing the original LP release of the overtures and preludes] Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Funeral Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 37 Secs. 
4.
Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5.
Siegfried: Forest Murmurs [Instrumental] by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6.
Die Walküre: Leb' wohl..."Farewell and Magic Fire music" by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 21 Secs. 
7.
Tannhäuser: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (12/1982 - 04/1983) 
8.
Rienzi: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1843; Germany 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (12/1982 - 04/1983) 
9.
Lohengrin: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (12/1982 - 04/1983) 
10.
Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (12/1982 - 04/1983) 
11.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (12/1982 - 04/1983) 

Sound Samples

Die Walküre: Walkürenritt (The Ride of the Valkyries) (Act III)
Götterdämmerung: Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt (Siegfried's Rhine Journey), Vorspiel
Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Death and Funeral March
Das Rheingold: Entry of the Gods into Valhalla
Siegfried: Forest Murmurs
Die Walküre: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
Tannhauser: Overture
Rienzi: Overture
Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I
Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act I

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Great Essential Wagner September 1, 2014 By George D. (Charleston, SC) See All My Reviews "From the solemn but beautiful Gotterdammerung,to the stirring preludes and exciting overtures, what a great collection of Wagner favorites presented at their best by the Berliner Philharmoniker." Report Abuse
 One of the exceptional Wagner recordings May 14, 2014 By peter w. See All My Reviews "I have this set, along with lots of other Wagner recordings, and I find it one of THE best overall. Tenstedt does an absolutely terrific Rienzi Overture here. A measured pace with the wonderful Berlin Phil string section squeezing out the maximum drama and emotion. And Tenstedt's powerful Tannhauser Overture is the 3rd best I've ever heard, and I've heard plenty. Numbers 1 & 2 are; 1) Chicago Symphony under Barenboim. 2) Berlin Staatskapelle under Barenboim (2002). And of course the usual excellent German sound engineers give us a crystal clear recording that can easily stand up to maximum volume on your stereo system." Report Abuse
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