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Overtures

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Audio CD, June 15, 2004
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0001Z65J4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,595 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laon on August 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is an interesting and worthwhile disk of Wagner rarities, offering the _Rienzi_, _König Enzio_, _Das Liebesverbot_, _Die Feen_, _Christolph Columbus_ and _Faust_ overtures.

These are mostly minor pieces, and mostly attractive, as well as being fascinating products of a brash young genius learning his trade. The _Rienzi_ overture is the best-known piece, and perhaps the least "minor". Still, the best piece here is probably the _Faust_ overture. This tautly dramatic piece imitates Beethoven and Weber, as Wagner does in most of his early work, but also establishes an interesting darkness in harmony, and reveals skill in building up tension, which shows Wagner starting to find his own voice. Wagner said that it was with the _Faust_ overture that he first "became Wagner", and he was right. (By the way the cover gives the Faust overture's timing as 12 minutes, 19 seconds. Actually it's 12' 15". It's not that there are four seconds of music missing from the CD; it's just a misprint.)

The best disk of early Wagner overtures I know is from a two-CD set by Marek Janowski. One CD, with the French Radio Phil, offers mainstream Wagner excerpts from _Tannhäuser_, _Tristan_, _Lohengrin_ and _Meistersinger_, plus _Siegfried Idyll_, all very well played. But disk 2, with the London Symphony Orchestra, offers some rarities: the _Kaisermarsch_, the _Faust Overture_, the _Huldigungsmarsch_, the _Die Feen_ overture, the _American Centennial March_ and the _Das Liebesverbot_ overture. Janowski's may be the best account of the _Faust_ overture (also performed by Rahbari on this Naxos disk) that I know of.
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Format: Audio CD
Over the years the folks at Naxos have provided the classical-music public some solid, well performed, reasonably well recorded, and fairly priced discs. The present album, however, isn't necessarily one of them unless you are specifically looking for something out of the way.

The strongest virtue of this collection of early Wagner overtures is that it offers up some little-known, little-heard music by the composer. Beyond that, I'm afraid it can get a little dicey. Pleasant, but dicey.

The most popular item on the album is the opening work, Richard Wagner's "Rienzi" overture, the composer's first big hit as it were, which he premiered in 1842. Maestro Alexander Rahbari and the Malaga Philharmonic give it an appropriately swaggering performance, emphasizing all the pomp and ceremony that Wagner could muster. There is definitely a reason why Rahbari starts the program with this number.

The other four works, though, are not so well known, and for a reason; they aren't as interesting as the opening piece and certainly not as important as Wagner's much-later material. Written mostly in the 1830's, before people even knew who Wagner was, the disc's early Wagner works show a marked inclination toward melodrama, borrowings from other composers; and, while pleasing enough, they lack the kind of invention we would later expect from Wagner. Nevertheless, they make intriguing mementos of the composer's past and should be of value to anyone interested in the composer's early efforts, espcially in Rahbari's capable hands.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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By Bjorn Viberg on December 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Wagner: Overtures is a compilation of Wagner's early works when the composer was in his early 20's and by that time learning his craft. His main influence at the time was Berlioz, Meyerbeer and Weber. Here we get to hear overtures from works such as Rienzi, König Enzio and Die Feen to mention a few. The liner-notes have been written by Keith Anderson and are quite well-written and informative. Highly recommended. 5/5.
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