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Subject: Furtwangler Tristan
From: Scott Grunow <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Wed, 3 Jan 2018 17:31:16 -0500

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It is interesting how this set has undergone much reevaluation through  the years. Ethan Mordden claims Flagstad is rigid and immobile, and that the Brangaene is pale and the Mark is vinegary. Some have complained about orchestral imbalance and recession, but recent reissues have cleaned this up. 

I have heard more fiery (Modl and Nilsson) Isoldes in Act 1, and though Dernesch has been criticized for taking on roles too heavy and too high for her, there are many points in both Act 1 and Act 2 in the Karajan set where her tone and manner is beautiful and vital, such as "Ungemmint." 

Regarding Flagstad, what makes her recording in Furtwangler really special is the invocation to Frau Minne at the beginning of Act 2: her voice all in one piece rises majestically from the mass of orchestral sound. Really peerless singing and conducting.

I heard that Thebom was a last-minute replacement for Margarete Klose, who pretty much owned the part for some time, along with Thorborg and Branzell. I have come to prefer a lighter voice in the part (in the original stories Brangaene is a young woman, not Isolde's nurse or nanny). And the score does say soprano, and sopranos have sung the part, including Marjorie Lawrence, Anny Helm, and Viorica Ursuleac. 



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