Author Topic: Wagner's Parsifal  (Read 38300 times)

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Mark

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2008, 06:26:20 AM »
Actually, both Mendelssohn and Wagner are quoting the famous "Dresden Amen":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_amen

Ah, thank you. Most informative. :)

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2008, 07:05:50 PM »
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?

Aye. It was, in fact, one of the two primary reasons for my purchase of the Decca "Wagner Cube," the other being, as I think I've said, Varviso's Meistersinger. It's the slowest of my handful of versions, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, except for the fact that Levine comes off as self-consciously grand at times. That doesn't really work with Parsifal, unless one really does want to rob it of any dramatic significance and turn it into a dull pageant. Peter Hofmann really wasn't the best choice for the eponymous fool in my book, either, but that's a preference thing. I think, either here or elsewhere, that Levine is the counterpart to Boulez. They're both doing, essentially, the same thing, which is making a tempo decision at the outset. I think Boulez has the better cast and, if nothing more can be said, at least his approach doesn't verge on creating either longueurs or the conscious thought, "Gee, isn't this grand?"

More and more, the extreme examples - e.g., Levine and Boulez - seem, unless you have a predisposition to either approach, to be untenable as primary recordings. If you like Boulez, then, as most folks would assume, you'll probably like his Parsifal (assuming a taste for Wagner); the same goes for Levine. The moderate approaches - dare I say, the idiomatic approaches - seem, ultimately, to be more immediately successful and appealing for repeated listenings. My first Parsifal was the Boulez set, which didn't cost as much then as it does now, but I end up with either Knappertsbusch or Kubelík as often as not these days.

Eh, but what do I know?

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2008, 08:23:08 PM »
Interesting. Thanks, PSmith.

When it comes to Levine, I have no trouble at all getting along with his approach to the Ring, despite his slowish take. He seems to use the time alloted to him wisely. I get the sense every bar, every phrase is opened up and micro-examined, without losing control of the line. Which I take to easily.

But making this work in Parsifal? On the basis of what three posters have now said it would seem the magic didn't happen for Levine in Bayreuth. Pity.


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Haffner

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2008, 02:58:39 PM »
My first Parsifal was the Boulez set, which didn't cost as much then as it does now, but I end up with either Knappertsbusch or Kubelík as often as not these days.

Eh, but what do I know?



The Kubelik Parsifal!!!! (my envy is green and stinking). I wish I was you...sigh.

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2008, 09:06:45 PM »
Interesting. Thanks, PSmith.

When it comes to Levine, I have no trouble at all getting along with his approach to the Ring, despite his slowish take. He seems to use the time alloted to him wisely. I get the sense every bar, every phrase is opened up and micro-examined, without losing control of the line. Which I take to easily.

But making this work in Parsifal? On the basis of what three posters have now said it would seem the magic didn't happen for Levine in Bayreuth. Pity.

I'll say this up front: I am not that big of a fan of Levine's Ring. I think it still suffers from a "set it slow and let it go" attitude, though less severely than does his Parsifal. I also think that it is poorly cast, to say the least, considering some of the singers who were available. I'm clearly thinking of Reiner Goldberg and James Morris, but I'm not necessarily representing the majority view on one of the two. I view Barenboim's Bayreuth set to have near-ideal casting, all things considered, and Haitink's set isn't far behind (though I'm not over-enamored with the podium contribution). That having been said, I think Levine got his range when he got to Götterdämmerung, the standalone of which I highly recommend (not, though, the ArkivCD version - not enough clarity of sourcing for me to take a CD-R sitting down and not enough documentation).

I think the problem with Parsifal lies in the music. There is some margin for error, even on Wagner's part, as is well known, in the Ring. Parsifal, however, is the Master's magnum opus, and there is much less margin for error there. Everything in that score is so well-balanced and perfectly considered that one must really understand the Wagnerian idiom at a deep and almost intuitive level (though that isn't as hard as some might assert) before one can go treading in Parsifal without danger of mucking things up too badly. Boulez and Kegel proved that, if one sacrifices strict idiom to a certain degree, there can be some external acceleration without much ill effect - depending on one's position to the interpretation. Levine, though, proves that things get dicey when there is an external deceleration. The music adopts, to my ears, a sort of self-consciousness and apparent tendency to overemphasize what Wagner made clear with ideal poise and precision. In other words, it's like declaiming Cicero's Pro Caelio or In Catilinam and melodramatically overemphasizing Cicero's killer lines. Effect that is dramatically perfect and intelligent with discretion becomes at the very least self-conscious and verges toward self-parody at the worst. I don't think Levine goes whole hog, but I do think he runs afoul of a serious peril inherent in the musical text.

Parsifal, in my mind, should be handled with care, as when one is cutting a rare gemstone: one wrong move and you've ruined things. Once you're there, it's only a question of how convincing "Plan B" is, and I suppose that's fine, but I'd rather "Plan A" were done right at the outset. But that's me, and, as for the foregoing, YMMV of course.

The Kubelik Parsifal!!!! (my envy is green and stinking). I wish I was you...sigh.

Thank you for the compliment, and now's the time to jump on it at Arkiv. Then all you'd need is to chuck your social life, pick up grad school, and - boom! - you'd be, more or less, me. Hooray!

Offline Valentino

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #45 on: July 08, 2009, 02:14:32 AM »
Thanks, folks. Kubelik then.
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Offline Coopmv

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2009, 06:47:05 PM »
But this was supposed to be a top-rated Parsifal when it was first released in the early 80's ...


Offline Valentino

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2009, 11:56:33 PM »
No doubt it's great. I shall hear this one too. And Boulez, of course.  0:)
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes

Offline Coopmv

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2009, 08:26:30 PM »
No doubt it's great. I shall hear this one too. And Boulez, of course.  0:)

One of the three Ring Cycles I have consists of these recordings on LP, which I bought back in the mid 80's for $109.


Wilhelm Richard

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2009, 05:55:02 PM »
In honor of the anniversary of its premiere tomorrow, a Parsifal related question --
Does anybody know how the bells were created in Karajan's studio recording?  I swear I remember reading somewhere that they were "exact" digital reproductions of what the original Bayreuth bells sounded like, but I cannot track that version of the story.

And, in the same vein, which recording(s) do you think have the most imposing bells in the Transformation scenes?

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2009, 07:38:13 PM »
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval. I

n any case, I yet have to listen to 3 more recordings of Parsifal that sit on my shelves. Honestly, it's far from my favourite opera - which it is not in any case: closer to an oratorio ('sacred drama') - it's not even high on my Wagner list. But it does contain some incredible music.

Offline Valentino

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2009, 10:25:51 PM »
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval. I
A good reply cannot be replied to often.  :)
Actually, both Mendelssohn and Wagner are quoting the famous "Dresden Amen":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_amen
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes

ChamberNut

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2009, 04:42:20 AM »
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.

I can definitely hear the similarity.  Incidentally, that is one of my favorite Preludes (Parsifal's Act I), and I love the Mendelssohn 5th Symphony 1st movement, both are fantastic!  :)

Brünnhilde ewig

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2009, 06:44:51 AM »
Across the hall, I received this message from ACD:

Uffeviking : On your opera forum over at GMG, member Lilas Pastia wrote the following in a post in the thread on Wagner's Parsifal:

Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin [in] (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.
You may inform that poster that the motif is neither Mendelssohn's nor Wagner's, but is the common property of many 19th-century and later compositions. It's a cadence known as the Dresden Amen. Its composition is attributed to Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, and it was written sometime in the mid- to late-18th century.

NCFTS

ACD

Brünnhilde ewig

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2009, 06:47:09 AM »
Followed with this post by Peter:

Re: Current Discussion (Opera)
by pczipott on 30 Jul 2009, 22:07

Yep, it was a favorite of Berlioz', which is no doubt where both Mendelssohn and Wagner got it -- musical influence, you know. pczipott
Registered User
 

ChamberNut

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2009, 06:47:16 AM »
Across the hall, I received this message from ACD:

Uffeviking : On your opera forum over at GMG, member Lilas Pastia wrote the following in a post in the thread on Wagner's Parsifal:

Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin [in] (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.
You may inform that poster that the motif is neither Mendelssohn's nor Wagner's, but is the common property of many 19th-century and later compositions. It's a cadence known as the Dresden Amen. Its composition is attributed to Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, and it was written sometime in the mid- to late-18th century.

NCFTS

ACD


Excellent, did not know that!  :)

Offline knight66

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2009, 08:14:41 AM »
One is of course both relieved and grateful that ACD maintains his nugatory interest in us here and steps down from Mt Parnassus on occasion to provide his wisdom via his very own pythea.

I am sure that confirmation of what a regular member had already provided is an all round boon.

 8)

Mike
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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #57 on: July 31, 2009, 08:25:46 AM »
Indeed, that's the theme (click on the arrow for the sound bite) !

I had no idea this was "the" Dresden Amen, a term I've seen many times before. I had never connected it with this particular theme  ::).

Brünnhilde ewig

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #58 on: July 31, 2009, 09:29:15 AM »
I, for one, appreciate ACD's interest in what goes on at GMG at the opera/Wagner section. Lilas Pastia appreciated ACD's information; learn something new every day! Even learning something from ACD! Who wouldasot?! ;D

Brünnhilde ewig

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Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #59 on: July 31, 2009, 09:34:13 AM »
Mike, I am lousy at interpreting those Abkürzungen; what does pythea.stand for?  ???

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