Monique Musique writes:
Levine started out with a wonderful tempo, but then
maddeningly slowed down to a snail's pace and rather
stayed that way throughout the act.
Maybe it's just me, but I really miss hearing Wagner
conducted the way Bohm, Furtwangler and Krauss did
it...decently brisk tempi, everything
flowing and knitted together well, an ebb and flow to
the music. Anyone else feel the same way?
I am a HUGE Furtwangler fan but have to say I am
maddened by the way he begins the 1954 VPO studio
Walkure with such energy and then slows down, as you
described Levine doing.
However, Furtwangler live maintains a tremdous forward
pulse and inner glow, with a real feel for the music's
ebb and flow, that makes his slow tempi quite
exciting. The best example, for me, is the end of the
RAI 1953 live Siegfried where the tempo is slower than
Bohm or Solti but the fire and energy, the huge
rythmic swagger and inner propulsion, combined with
abandoned singing from Modl in particular, keeps me on
the edge of my seat. It is truly amazing conducting.
I do not enjoy quick 'lighter' Gotterdammerungs a la
Bohm. This is music of epic, monumental power and
should sound such. Compare the epic conducting of
Knappertsbusch in Bayreuth 1951 with Bohm.
Knappertsbusch is slower but the grand inner fire
means his conducting has greater propulsion. Try the
opening scene with the Norms. Under Kanppertsbusch
Modl's great crescendos have an epic visionary power,
under Bohm these moments sound comparative skipped
Finally, Levine's studio Gotterdammeung is rich,
saturated and deeply felt. A shame about the unsteady
Brunnhilde who ruins this recording for me. I'd love
to have a recording of Levine in this opera, live with
a better principle singer. Please rerecord it Mr
Levine. I'd suggest Christine Brewer as your
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