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Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Elder, Gustafson, Bickley, Dalayman, Cleveman, Jun, Shore

Wagner / Halle Orchestra / Elder
Release Date: 08/10/2010 
Label:  Hallé   Catalog #: 7525   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Madeleine ShawKatherine BroderickCeri WilliamsSusan Bickley,   ... 
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony ChorusHallé OrchestraBBC Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Recorded live in Manchester's Bridgewater Hall over two evenings in May, 2009, this concert recording of Wagner's Götterdämmerung easily stands among the work's three or four finest on disc. For starters, it is sumptuously yet naturally engineered, with voices and instruments in ideal perspective, and there's realistic depth and definition to the orchestral image no matter how texturally complex or threadbare. As with Reginald Goodall, Mark Elder's tempos are slow, but they never, ever drag because the conductor's strong inner rhythm fuels the carefully coaxed and painstakingly balanced linear strands.

This is mainly apparent in orchestral interludes. In Siegfried's Rhine
Read more Journey, for example, notice the churning string accompaniment's pronounced dynamic gradations, and the rarely heard leitmotivs that bubble to the surface. The myriad tempo changes and drawn out rests in the hunting scene leading up to and including Siegfried's dying words are taken on faith as they often are not, and the conductor plays up the gnawing half-step steerhorn dissonances in Act 2 while letting the low strings slightly drag, creating a kind of primeval sound world that couldn't be more appropriate for the moment. It also allows for the choral antiphony to build momentum and maintain full comprehensibility.

And what a cast! Lars Cleveman's multi-leveled vocal acting and musical security add up to an impressively tender, proud, and vulnerable Siegfried. Katarina Dalayman's Brünnhilde holds equal allure, and equal tonal command in all registers. In Alberich's brief scene at the start of Act 2, Bayreuth veteran Andrew Shore is a little too guttural at times, but Attila Jun's dark yet agile Hagen nearly steals the show--and that's not to take anything away from Peter Coleman-Wright's sensitive singing as Gunther. Some listeners may find Susan Bickley a more understated, less emotive Waltraute than "tradition" deems, yet her impeccable diction and legato control speak for themselves. I also should mention the Norns and the Rhinemaidens--what splendid and superbly blended vocal trios!

Although the opera could have fit onto four CDs, a five-disc deployment allows Act 2 to stand alone on one disc, and for Act 3 to be logically divided across two discs as Act 1 usually is. The fifth disc contains a full libretto and English translation as a PDF document. Even if you already own Solti (Decca), Keilberth (Testament), or Barenboim (Teldec), Elder's Götterdämmerung adds up to a most fulfilling and modestly priced dramatic and musical experience that no serious Wagnerian should miss.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Madeleine Shaw (Mezzo Soprano), Katherine Broderick (Soprano), Ceri Williams (Mezzo Soprano),
Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano), Lars Cleveman (Tenor), Attila Jun (Baritone),
Andrew Shore (Baritone), Katarina Dalayman (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Coleman-Wright (Bass),
Nancy Gustafson (Soprano), Yvonne Howard (Mezzo Soprano), Miranda Keys (Soprano),
Leah-Marian Jones (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  Hallé Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871-1874; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Thrilling December 30, 2013 By Herb C. (Sandwich, IL) See All My Reviews "I bought this recording primarily to hear Dalayman and Cleveman as I had never heard either of these singers before. Based on what I hear here they are as close to definitive in their roles as I can even begin to fathom. Cleveman has a true ring to his voice and Dalayman (despite a tad of strain) is thrilling. The entire recording is recorded in clear balance and Elder's control of the orchestra and chorus is above reproach. This recording is now my go to for Gotterdamerung's." Report Abuse
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