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Subject: Re: Best Tristan recording
From: Jim Bodge <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jim Bodge <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:50:54 -0400

text/plain (83 lines)

My completely personal, biased and singular opinion leans towards 
either the Furtwangler EMI set or Von Karajan's Bayreuth performance 
from roughly the same year (1952).

I tend towards Karajan and Modl, while acknowledging the genius of 
Flagstad.  I like both tenors - and I always have.  It was much too 
late for Melchior anyhow.

For modern sound, I am quite happy with Bohm at Bayreuth in 1966. 
Yes, it's "live", or under performance conditions, anyhow (some of 
the dress rehearsal is used).  Many find this a cold, rapid traversal 
of the score, and Bohm  conducting is the least of the set's 
accomplishments.  It's good, decent stereo plus two towering 
performances of the leads and excellent supporting artists.  Later 
recordings in better sound do not have Nilsson or Windgassen.

Still, I think the recent Pappano/Domingo effort for EMI is an 
excellent pieced-together-in-the-studio kind of recording.

Three fine videos (two from Bayreuth and one from LaScala) all 
feature the outstanding conducting of Barenboim and any one of them 
shoujld make a Wagner fan happy.  I slightly prefer either of the 
sets with Waltraud Meier over the one with her American namesake, 
Joanna Meier.  But the latter has the absolutely gorgeous, drop dead 
scenery of Jean Pierre Ponnelle.  All three have fine supporting 

Bernstein's set is best for his work.  It's sad about Peter Hofmann, 
but it just doesn't work, and Behrens can't carry the work alone. 
Goodall's set is astonishing, considering the venue and the fact that 
these singers really didn't do this opera all that often.  But it's 
hardly a "first-choice" set.

Another video, if you can find it:  the Wieland Wagner Bayreuth 
production transferred to the Osaka Festival in Japan in 1967.  It's 
in black and white, and very primitive video at that.  But it 
preserves the flavor of that astonishing production.  And the cast!! 
Nilsson, Windgassen, Hotter and Hertha Topper conducted by Pierre 
Boulez.  'Nuff said.  By me, at any rate.

Jim Bodge

At 10:25 AM -0400 10/25/11, James Camner wrote:
>What do members of the list consider to be the best Tristan und Isolde
>Is it the Furtwangler? Bohm? Thielemann? Reiner? Other (s)?
>What is the best one in reasonably modern (stereo at least) sound? Best
>I don't think this has been covered on the list in a while (I did an
>archives search) but apologies if I'm mistaken.
>There is a mesmerizing and haunting new film by Lars Von Trier "Melancholia"
>which uses the music of Tristan very effectively (IMHO).
>James Camner

Jim Bodge

You really only need two things:  Duct Tape and WD-40.  If it's 
moving and it shouldn't, use duct tape.  If it won't move and it 
should, use WD-40.

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