Wagner: Operatic Highlights
- Warner Bros.
- Date First Available:
- February 4, 2013
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer:
- Warner Classics
- Number of discs:
- Original Release Date:
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Otto Klemperer's death, EMI Classics pays tribute to the incomparable conductor with the release of an extensive edition of 11 luxurious yet affordably-priced boxsets. Two new sets devoted to operas by Mozart, Wagner and Strauss are available this March. This 5-CD collection sees Otto Klemperer lead the Philharmonia and New Philharmonia orchestras in compelling performances of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss. The set features highlights from each of Wagner's most acclaimed operas, as well as Strauss s Don Juan and a 1962 account of Tod und Verklärung that was hailed as one of Klemperer's finest late recordings.Ambivalent is the word which best describes Klemperer's feelings about Germany's two great musical Richards, Wagner and Strauss. During his early years as an opera conductor in Germany, Klemperer conducted a modicum of Strauss and a good deal of Wagner, though from the outset it was clear that he was never going to be an unthinking fan of either. The music of both composers did, nonetheless, cast its spell. Klemperer's attitude to the operas of Richard Strauss was no less mixed. He thrilled to Salome, which even as an old man he considered to be one of the twentieth century's most original scores, revered Elektra, and took great delight in Ariadne auf Naxos. On the other hand, he found too much 'sugar-water' in Der Rosenkavalier and was baffled by Die Frau ohne Schatten of which he conducted a handful of performances in Cologne in 1919.The Strauss work which had first impressed Klemperer he was 15 at the time was Tod und Verklärung. What struck the young enthusiast were the quality of the orchestration and the remorselessness of the build-up of the thematic material, qualities Klemperer would later bring to his own reading of a work which does indeed advance implacably towards its sought-for goal: the soul's transfiguration as memories of childhood visions and unattained artistic ideals grandly mingle.
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