For the History of Wagner's Progress
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1841 version of Richard Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman' may not be a recording of merit as far as the performance is concerned and for Wagnerites who lust after the larger than life stories and music of Wagner this is definitely not a recording that will be durable in a collection. But taken for the important place it holds in Wagner's development as the penultimate romantic music opera composer it is a worthy entry.
The original orchestration is here played on original instruments of the time (1841) and adds a rather dry but eerie sound to this powerful ghost story of love and redemption. Bruno Weil conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Capella Coloniensis and the soloists are relative unknowns and include Jorg Durmuller, Fran-Josef Selig, Terje Stenwold, and Astrid Weber. Though there are interesting moments (and for those who know the ultimately revised version performed today those moments will be many), the entire performance feels tentative and the recorded sound is distant and not well mixed. But given those reservations, this is a recording of importance in that it allows us to hear Wagner at the beginning of his incredible learning curve - and for that it is worth hearing. Grady Harp, July 05