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Wagner: Parsifal

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All Music Guide - James Leonard
Who could resist a 1913 recording of the orchestral suite from "Parsifal" played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Alfred Hertz? Certainly not any rabid Wagner fan: Hertz was the conductor who broke the ban on "Parsifal" by performing it at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1904, the first time the work had ever been performed outside of Bayreuth. And his way with the score is beguiling: the soft contours of the themes, the ambiguity of the harmonies, the quivering expectancy of the tone; all of these things are essential to the music of "Parsifal" and Hertz realizes them with rapturous precision in this performance. And any fan of historic recordings ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Who could resist a 1913 recording of the orchestral suite from "Parsifal" played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Alfred Hertz? Certainly not any rabid Wagner fan: Hertz was the conductor who broke the ban on "Parsifal" by performing it at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1904, the first time the work had ever been performed outside of Bayreuth. And his way with the score is beguiling: the soft contours of the themes, the ambiguity of the harmonies, the quivering expectancy of the tone; all of these things are essential to the music of "Parsifal" and Hertz realizes them with rapturous precision in this performance. And any fan of historic recordings couldn't resist: this Berlin Philharmonic recording preceded its famous recording of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" by two months, the first compete recording of any symphonic work. As a historical document of the early days of recording, this "Parsifal" is of overwhelming significance. And no fan of historical performance practice could resist either: although the B.P.O. was scaled down to 30 players because of the requirements of early recording techniques, the sound of the slimmed down B.P.O. is still the sound of the world's greatest orchestra playing at the top of its virtuosic form. If the strings sound perhaps too tremulous and the brass perhaps too bold, that has more to do with the recording than with the orchestra. The warm sound, the brilliant sonorities, the seamless legato, the portamento between pitches: all of the things that defined the B.P.O. before WWI are here in this performance. This is an irresistible recording with superb remastering.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/26/1999
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 636943104927
  • Catalog Number: 8110049/50

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Prelude to Act 1 - Richard Wagner & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (14:37)
  2. 2 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Act 1 Transformation Music - Richard Wagner & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (7:36)
  3. 3 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Act 3 Transformation Music - Richard Wagner & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (4:46)
  4. 4 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Good Friday Spell - Richard Wagner & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (10:02)
  5. 5 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Prelude to Act 1 - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (15:55)
  6. 6 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Transformation Music - Richard Wagner & Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester & Chorus (7:21)
  7. 7 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Zum letzten Liebesmahle - Richard Wagner & Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester & Chorus (5:40)
  8. 8 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Durch Mitleid wissend, der reine Tor - Richard Wagner & Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester & Chorus (8:08)
  9. 9 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Wein und Brot des letzten Mahles - Richard Wagner & Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester & Chorus (4:28)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Flower Maidens Scene - Richard Wagner & Anny Helm (4:53)
  2. 2 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Act 3 Prelude - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (6:38)
  3. 3 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Heil mir, dass ich dich wieder finde! - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (4:36)
  4. 4 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: O Gnade! Höchstes Heil! - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (13:50)
  5. 5 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: So ward es uns verhiessen (Good Friday Spell) - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (13:02)
  6. 6 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Mittag: die Stund' ist da (Transformation Music) - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (5:00)
  7. 7 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Geleiten wir im bergenden Schrein - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (3:40)
  8. 8 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Ja, Wehr! Wehe! - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (7:02)
  9. 9 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: Nur eine waffe taugt - Richard Wagner & Berlin State Opera Orchestra (9:54)
  10. 10 Parsifal, opera, WWV 111: So ward es uns verhiessen (Good Friday Spell) - Siegfried Wagner & Richard Wagner (10:34)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Karl Muck Primary Artist
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