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Orchestra Music From Tristan, Die Walkure, Etc

Richard Wagner , Charles Gerhardt , National Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Orchestra: National Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Charles Gerhardt
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (October 15, 1997)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chesky Records
  • ASIN: B000003GEO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,748 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Tristan And Isolde: Love Music From Acts II & III
2. Die Walkure: Wotan's Farewell And Magic Fire Music
3. Siegfried Idyll
4. Gotterdammerung: Siegfried's Death And Funeral Music
5. Die Walkure: Ride Of The Valkyries

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(5)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional September 26, 2001
CDs of orchestral excerpts from Wagner operas are a dime a dozen: the catalog bulges with performances of these popular works by famous conductors, famous orchestras, on well-known labels, many of them at mid or even budget prices. So why should you be interested in this CD, by a conductor, orchestra, and label that will be unfamiliar to many, perhaps most, classical music lovers, and at full price to boot?
The answer is simple: because it is outstanding. Whether you are an audiophile, a Wagnerite, or just a lover of great orchestral music, this CD is exceptional. Let's start with the label. Chesky Records is a small, independent, Grammy-winning "audiophile" record company, which specializes in sonically state-of-the-art classical and jazz recordings, some of them older analog originals which Chesky has remastered to the highest standards, "preserving the fidelity and transparency of the original source," some of them new recordings. These Wagner highlights are in the latter category: modern digital recordings, all recorded in and about London, the five excerpts recorded in no less than five different venues (!) at five different recordings sessions, spread out over a full decade (1985 to 1995), and made by no less than four different recording engineers (some of them well known for their expertise, e.g., John Dunkerley and Tony Faulkner). Sounds like it might be a recipe for disaster, but instead what emerges is one of the best collections of Wagner orchestral music ever recorded.
The sound on this disc is simply stunning, sonically the best Wagner highlights I've ever heard (and I have over 20 CDs of this music).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorial to a great musician October 29, 2005
The other reviewers have offered most of the details about Charles Gerhardt and his acclaimed career as record producer and sometime conductor. He died in obscurity and from what I am told, depressed and alone. He deserved much better. This CD alone is so musical, so full of expressive intensity and conducting skill, that it far surpasses similar Wagner collections conducted by Szell, Maazel, Mehta, and Gerard Schwarz. With the exception of Bernstein and Levine, Gerhardt could be the greatest Wagner conductor from America.

The sonics are superb, as one would expect from the audiophile label Chesky. These recordings were made in London between 1985 and 1995. If any one selection stands out, it is Gerhardt's rapturous reading of the Tristan love music made by Stokowski. It's hard to imagine Stokowski himself doing it better. Altogether, a great tribtue to a nearly forgotten but highly gifted musician.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Release August 8, 2009
Although in these PC times one must be careful about what one says in praise of the music of Wagner, I will confess a great enthusiasm for orchestral arrangements of his operatic highlights, so to have a disk of Wagner with Chesky production values is quite appealing. Included are a long medley from Tristan and Isolde (more than just the Love/Death excerpts you usually hear) and several Ring excerpts, including Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music, Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music, and of course The Ride of the Valkyries. In the midst of all this is stuck the Siegfried Idyll, which seems out of place and breaks the mood.

Overall, this is quite a nice release, with excellent sound, although I must say I found the deep bottom to be missing, and the dynamics a bit on the restrained side, too, but maybe this is a function of the scoring. The performances sounded very tasteful, but lacking a bit in ultimate excitement. This is a Wagner recording more for musical purists than those Wagnerites who just love to wallow in souped-up sound and melodramatic interpretations.

The liner notes deserve special mention. They focus on the recording rather than going off into musicological tangents. Chesky is to be congratulated for a fine release all the way around.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagnerian opera WITHOUT the singing--nirvana! February 21, 2000
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It's common knowledge that opera lovers are (sorry opera lovers) a rather small subset of "classical" music folks (yours truly being included among the latter, but not the former). What a better way to solve this "issue" than to release a CD of glorious operatic music without that darn annoyance--singing! This is what we have here and more. The numbers: five stars (out of five) for orchestral arrangement and performance (folks, we are dealing here with one of the master conductors of the late 20th Century, Mr. Charles Gerhardt); five for sound quality; and five for selection and sequencing (let's choose to forget about the anemic CD booklet--it adds nothing new). Wagner has been described by some as the "inventor of film scores" (where themes are tied to characters/ locations) even though he died well before sound films came into existence. This line of reasoning has some merit, since Wagnerian operas utilize the technique extensively (and with truly wondrous impact). But it remained for Erich Wolfgang Korngold (EWK) to first apply this mechanism to sound films in the mid 30's (EWK, of course, was heavily influenced by fellow Austrian Wagner). EWK (a renowned composer of operas in his own right) often remarked that film symphonies were essentially operas without singing. One is then left with the intriguing question of what EWK's operas would sound like without singing. CD producers, listen up! Bottom line: this absolutely suburb CD should be in your collection, opera lover or not!
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