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Parsifal: An Orchestral Quest

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, March 10, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Don't be fazed by the cover photo (by Dutch-based artist Erwin Olaf): this isn't an irreverent take on Wagner's final and most controversial opera, and it's not Parsifal-lite either, though there is indeed just one disc here (and no singing). Netherlands Radio Philharmonic percussionist Henk de Vlieger has instead joined together sections of the original score--with slight alterations in the original order as well as imaginatively crafted instrumentation of some of the vocal lines--into a compelling tone poem. (de Vlieger has subjected Tristan and the Ring cycle to similar treatment.) The effect isn't so much one of "highlights" as a distillation of what is arguably Wagner's most beautiful score; the resulting "suite" conveys a solid sense of construction and narrative weight. Moreover, Edo de Waart's account never plods but summons just the right sense of exquisite power as well as a stunning clarity and balance of orchestral choirs. The players seem to positively glide into the ether, hovering in the opera's final pages, while the Flower Maidens' music sounds as diaphanous as Debussy. de Waart adjusts the temperature to highlight Wagner's opposition of eros and agape, of lust and compassion, but always foregrounds the sheer gorgeousness of the musical fabric. If this inspires you to explore Parsifal entire, you can't go wrong with the version by Knappertsbusch or Barenboim. --Thomas May

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Vorspiel
  2. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Parsifal
  3. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Die Gralsritter I
  4. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Die Blumenmadchen
  5. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Karfreitagszauber
  6. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Die Gralsritter I
  7. Parsifa - An Orchestral Quest: Nachspiel

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Edo De Waart
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (March 10, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B0000064X3
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,468 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am slowly and cautiously exploring the Wagnerian output and found this arrangement a very interesting and enticing way to approach the Wagnerian genre. As unfortunately I do not know any German, an orchestral version is far more palatable. I tried looking for the same type of arrangment for Tristan and the Ring but was unable to find them. Can you help?
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