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German Overtures / Thielemann, Vienna PO


Release Date: 11/08/2005 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 474502   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnOtto NicolaiHeinrich MarschnerRichard Wagner,   ... 
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews






That Christian Thielemann is the great German conductor of the day should be no surprise to anyone who attended his opening concert with the Munich Philharmonic. The performance of Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, as recorded in concert by DGG, is one for the ages and lays down the gauntlet to Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. I heard the final rehearsal and concert for Thielemann’s valedictory tour with the Deutsche Oper Berlin: act II of Parsifal and the final act of Die Walküre in Baden-Baden. What Thielemann accomplished with the often Read more under-performing Berlin pit musicians would have been astonishing enough, but it was allied to interpretations of great breadth, detail, and imagination.


Here, in a recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, is Thielemann on musical home territory—the German romantics—and the results are nothing short of sensational. The Mendelssohn Overture is reminiscent of both Furtwängler and Klemperer: the sonic weight of Furtwängler and the clarity of Klemperer. These are points of departure only: Thielemann’s sound world and vision are uniquely his own. His Midsummer Night fairies are not the quick and gossamer creatures we often hear. This Overture starts in shadow and proceeds to a radiant daybreak with unhurried urgency. There are numerous details to savor along the way from the Philharmonic, completely in tune with their conductor. Other favorites of this always to be enjoyed Overture are Szell, razor-sharp with plenty of sparkle, the warm and humane Colin Davis with the Boston Symphony, and Abbado, perfect in a completely different hue. Nonetheless, Thielemann finds the German core of this music in a performance unlike any other.


Weber’s Overture to Euryanthe sings with a lighter, brighter timbre, but retains Thielemann’s characteristically full sound at all dynamic levels. His pacing of the heroic triplets is just right, never rushed and finely phrased. The German maestro’s control of line in the first lyrical string theme is similarly masterful.


Hearing the Vienna Philharmonic’s principal play the magical horn call to open Weber’s Oberon says everything about how it should be played—perfection of sound and phrase. The wind interjections trip lightly and are not rushed—as one so often hears. The ritard leading into the clarinet solo is another memorable moment.


In this collection of superlatives, Thielemann’s performance of The Hebrides occupies even higher ground, with its superbly balanced orchestra, transparency, and inflection of inner voices. In the popular Nicolai Overture, the raucous moments are given full play alongside the incomparably lyrical string-playing that is the Vienna Philharmonic at its best. The Marschner is on a similar level of virtuosity.


With Rienzi —the Overture in the original version—Thielemann takes us, at least scenically, out of the German forest to Italy. It may be this recording’s surfeit of riches that led me to find this performance on a somewhat lower plane of inspiration than all that came before. Karl Boehm’s DGG recording, also with the Vienna Philharmonic, has always been a favorite. Yet, I am sure that when I listen to Thielemann’s Rienzi again, on its own and not as the climax of a full program of overtures, I will esteem it as highly as the rest of this extraordinary recording.


FANFARE: Michael Fine
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Works on This Recording

1. Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Germany 
2. Hebrides Overture, in B minor Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1832; Rome, Italy 
3. Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor: Overture by Otto Nicolai
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Berlin, Germany 
4. Hans Heiling: Overture by Heinrich Marschner
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Germany 
5. Rienzi: Overture by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1843; Germany 
6. Euryanthe, J 291/Op. 81: Overture by Carl Maria von Weber
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822-1823; Dresden, Germany 
7. Oberon, J 306: Overture by Carl Maria von Weber
Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825-1826; Dresden, Germany 

Featured Sound Samples

Oberon (Weber): Overture
The Hebrides Overture "Fingal's Cave" (Mendelssohn)

Sound Samples

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21: Overture
Euryanthe: Overture
Oberon: Overture
The Hebrides, Op.26 (Fingal's Cave): Allegro moderato
The Merry Wives of Windsor (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor): Overture
Hans Heiling: Overture
Rienzi: Overture

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