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 Post subject: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:22 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Opera in three acts: Tannhäuser (full title Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg / Tannhäuser and the Singers).

Tannhäuser (full title Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg / Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg Castle) is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through most of Wagner's mature work.

Heinrich Heine had provided Wagner with the inspiration for Der fliegende Holländer. Wagner drew on Heine for the plot of Tannhäuser: Heine's sardonic poem Elementargeister, telling of the lure of the grotto of Venus, was published in 1837 in Der Salon. Wagner also drew material from E. T. A. Hoffmann's story The Singer's Contest and Ludwig Tieck's 1799 story Faithful Eckhart and Tannhäuser. Other possible sources include the 15th century folk ballad Das Lied von dem Danheüser and Ludwig Bechstein's collection of Thuringian legends Der Sagenschatz und die Sagenkreise des Thüringerlandes. Wagner wrote the prose draft of Tannhäuser between June and July 1842 and the libretto in April 1843.

The libretto of Tannhäuser combines the mythological element characteristic of German Romantic opera and the medieval setting typical of many French Grand Operas. Wagner brings these two together by constructing a plot involving the 14th century Minnesingers and the myth of Venus and her subterranean realm of Venusberg, 'the mountain of Venus'. Both the historical and the mythological are united in Tannhäuser's personality; although he is a historical poet composer, little is known about him other than myths that surround him. Furthermore, half of the opera takes place in a historical setting, and half takes place in the mythological Venusberg.

Wagner began composing the music during a vacation in Teplitz in the summer of 1843 and completed the full score on 13 April 1845; the opera's famous overture, often played separately as a concert piece, was written last. While composing the music for the Venusberg grotto, Wagner grew so impassioned that he made himself ill; in his autobiography, he wrote, "With much pain and toil I sketched the first outlines of my music for the Venusberg.... Meanwhile I was very much troubled by excitability and rushes of blood to the brain. I imagined I was ill and lay for whole days in bed....". The instrumentation also shows signs of borrowing from French operatic style. The score includes parts for on-stage brass; however, rather than using French brass instruments, Wagner uses twelve German waldhorns. Wagner also makes use of the harp, another commonplace of French opera.
More at Wikipedia

Libretto in German
Libretto in English

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:22 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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I've never been much of a Wagner fan but we haven't many topics for him here, so I take this opportunity to present some free music for all members to download legally. Firstly the well-known overture, provided thanks to , performed by the Luxembourg Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Louis de Froment...

"The overture to Tannhäuser, now a concert standard on its own, brings together three themes from major scenes in the opera. The first, presented by an ensemble of winds alone, is the pilgrims’ chorus, followed by the sensuous music of the Venusberg, and Tannhäuser’s hymn to Venus in Act II. The overture ends triumphantly with a return of the pilgrims’ chorus."




Also a complete archive recording by the Munich State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Robert Heger...



Enjoy!

Any comments, videos, recommended recordings etc. welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:05 am 
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This knowledge I can find it myself or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:09 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Shinoruka wrote:
This knowledge I can find it myself or not.

You can find it all on the Internet!

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:19 am 
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Rod you picked one of my favorite Wagner operas. Here is the young Fischer Dieskau's "Song to the Evening Star" "O du mein holder Abendstern":






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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:18 pm 
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Here is a stirring excerpt for the Metropolitan Opera traditional production I attended with Eva Martin and John Macurdy in this scene: "Entrance of the Guests" conducted by James Levine.


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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:55 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Digiti wrote:
Rod you picked one of my favorite Wagner operas. Here is the young Fischer Dieskau's "Song to the Evening Star" "O du mein holder Abendstern":

Having played the YT I have sympathy with the comment writer there about the "unbearable" slowness of this performance, it seemed to go on forever (not that I'm familiar with other renditions!). Or at least some more dynamism could have been injected into the piece.

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:06 am 
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Hi TMT,

“The Overture to Tannhäuser”.

Although my knowledge and liking for Richard Wagner’s music is fairly limited to date, I have enjoyed listening to the "Tannhäuser Overture" MP3 , as played by the Luxemburg Symphony Orchestra, directed by Louis de Froment.

I must confess that in the past I had been deflected from exploring his work by reports of his negative attitude towards other composers' music. I got the impression that he hadn’t the pleasantest of personalities! However I haven’t been able to avoid hearing some of his work---eg.“The Ring Cycle”, ”The Overture to the Flying Dutchman”, and the present Overture.

Personal qualities aside, it has to be said that Wagner could write some exciting and melodic music. In this CD I liked the full orchestral tone, the declaration of the melody introduced very grandly and accompanied by the distinctive pizzicato of the lower strings.

The main melody gets to be repeated in varying ways during the overture. A lighter melody is introduced around 5.25 mins. which brings to mind the fey qualities of some of Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. At 10.25 mins. the main theme returns again, in rather a reflective vein, whilst In the background there are some very quiet high pitched squiggles repeated.

Then, finally, a grand reprise with the brass very evident. One thing that Wagner and I have in common is a love of the Brass sound!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:18 am 
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Hi Digiti,

I enjoyed listening to Dietrich Fischer Deskau singing “Song to a Morning Star”.
He sang, with beautiful and varied nuances of tone, fluency in his approach, and excellent diction., but without the maturity of his later years. The orchestra complemented the vocal presentation perfectly.

This live recording was at the Bayreuth Festival of 1955, with Dietrich Fischer Deskau accompanied by the Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester which was conducted by André Cluytens.

I also liked your 2nd video, Digiti,---“Entrance of the Guests”, which was staged at the Met. with the orchestra directed by James Levine.The rich orchestral sound and the fine choral singing made for very pleasurable listening.

As well as the musical content, I found the staging was impressive, with the large numbers onstage choreographed well. The colours of the clothing, all within the related palette of muted browns upwards, was most impressive. Later the yellow of the heralds’ drapes hanging from their trumpets, and the dull reds of the standards paraded and swished around, stood out in startling relief.

I liked the simplicity of the clothing, with its flowing lines. All in all an air of grandeur was achieved, as an excellent frame for Wagner’s music.

Thank you for sharing these with us.

Regards,

Polly


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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Here is a YT excerpt "Pilgrims Chorus" with the final miracle of Tannhauser's arid staff blooming flowers after Elisabeth's death from the end of the opera:




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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:06 pm 
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Here is a "Rome Narrative" from Act 3 sung by Max Lorenz where Tannhauser recounts his failed pilgrimage to Rome to receive absolution from the Pope for his profane stay in the Venusburg:


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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:22 pm 
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Another Wagner opera where the heroine dies way before her time-


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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Gwyneth Jones as the pure Elisabeth from Act 2 of Tannhauser:



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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Digiti wrote:
Gwyneth Jones as the pure Elisabeth from Act 2 of Tannhauser:

I have her on DVD playing the less pure Leonore with Karl Bohm. She sure has a big voice but she definitely "scoops" (as noticed by someone at YT) more in this performance than can be heard in my DVD, fortunately for me. She deals with the lengthy orchestral part where she is not singing pretty well, con't be easy looking around in wonderment like that for so long with nothing to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Wagner - Tannhäuser
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:06 pm 
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Rod, Dame Gwyneth Jones always scooped but did not have a wobble here. I included her because she is from your neck of the woods. I always thought she was an attractive woman as well.

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