Jeffrey Tate is a fine opera conductor, and this collection gives him ample opportunity to strut his stuff. He always has been particularly attentive to orchestral textures, which makes Wagner a composer he has a lot to say about. The Bavarian Radio Symphony is a splendid vehicle for Tate. As recorded here in 1988, the orchestra possesses a deep and beautiful tone quality, as well suited to Wagner as the Berlin Philharmonic or the Dresden Staatskapelle. The Parsifal Prelude goes very well, although not as memorably as on Ormandy's RCA recording. The Columbus Overture is an early work from 1835, but it already sounds like Wagner. The Tristan excerpts are perhaps the highlight of the album, with Cheryl Studer singing quite well in the Libestod. The sound engineering is very good, with a convincing representation of the orchestra's full sonority. My one caveat about the album is that the readings lack the electricity associated with some of the more exciting performances of this music. Nevertheless, Tate's take on this repertoire is very valuable, and I doubt purchasers will be disappointed by it.
Was this review helpful to you?