Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), opera, WWV 63: Overture
Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen, opera, WWV 49: Overture
A Faust Overture, for orchestra in D minor, WWV 59
Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra turn in a juicy pair of Tannhäuser excerpts, and the rest of the disc belongs to the incomparable George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra combination. The great novelty is the best ev... more »er performance of the rarely heard Faust overture. One of the very few mature Wagner works not related to an opera, the piece has been largely ignored by critics, performers, and audiences for no discernible reason. It's really good music, and if you like Wagner and don't know it, you should snap this disc up without delay. Not only are the performance standards of the very highest quality, the disc is also sold at a budget price. Where else can you find such a good deal? --David Hurwitz« less
Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra turn in a juicy pair of Tannhäuser excerpts, and the rest of the disc belongs to the incomparable George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra combination. The great novelty is the best ever performance of the rarely heard Faust overture. One of the very few mature Wagner works not related to an opera, the piece has been largely ignored by critics, performers, and audiences for no discernible reason. It's really good music, and if you like Wagner and don't know it, you should snap this disc up without delay. Not only are the performance standards of the very highest quality, the disc is also sold at a budget price. Where else can you find such a good deal? --David Hurwitz
"George Szell is a true master at capturing the essence of Wagner. His balancing of orchestration and phrase interpretation is as close to perfection as I have heard. He provides a stunning rendition of Rienzi Overture which has never been one of my favorites, but now it is! Hard to beat Szell when it comes to Wagner.I very much enjoy Eugene Ormandy with most Tchaikovsky works and a few others, but his Wagner is spotty. The Philadelphia string section comes through great....sometime too great. When I am expecting the brass section to make their statement, I have to concentrate just to hear it. The one exception is the Grand March from Tannhauser, where Ormandy does very well.Recommendation: A great CD to own in a basic Wagner collection."
The Grail Recovered
richard mullany | waynesville, north carolina United States | 08/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many my age I cut my musical teeth on Toscanni. A piece by him when heard determined forever what it should sound like. I grew out of that mindset eventually but, all in all, it served me well. One time when I was in The Liberty Music Shop in Ann Arbor(a memorable place in an equally memorable city) I asked one of their knowledgeable clerks that, given my Toscanni bent what would be a good stero version and without a moments hesitation she said, "George Szell". She picked out a two lp album that included the Prelude to act one of Lohengrin. When I played it I knew the lady was right. Like Toscanni, Szell makes sparks with Wagner. I must have had a dozen versions of this music but none to compare with this. That album was one I treasured and when cd's came along Columbia reissued it but didn't include the first act prelude so it was a case of searching for something that came close. Over ten years later I found this cd and it is wonderful to hear the glorious Cleveland Orchestra in all it's power: the grail theme with cymbals exploding over the strings, brass with real bite, the whole thing is almost organic in the way it develops, blooms and becomes still. I find myself , when listening to this music, hitting the pause button because to follow it with anything is to destroy a sense of miracle. One of your reviewers said that something he had heard had, among other things, made him thank God that he had ears. This recording makes me glad I have a sound system that recreates music close to the original but even more glad that there is a recording in the first place and musicians to make it and producers to decide to put it all together. This cd is one of my "miracle recordings" that fill me with gratitude. It is simply superb."
More Great Wagner By Szell
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 04/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a huge fan of opera, but I loved George Szell's "Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts" disc on Sony Essential Classics so much, that I bought this companion title of Wagner Orchestral Music. While this disc is not fully dedicated to Wagner recordings by the great Szell and Cleveland combination, it is every bit as delightful as the "Excerpts" title. (Eugene Ormandy conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra on the first two tracks, and the fourth track "Prelude to Act III" from "Lohengrin" as well). Simply put, I have enjoyed these two discs so much that I am ready to go see (gasp) a Wagner opera. Or at least watch one on Great Performances."
Why not the Szell Tannhauser Overture
HB | Fort Mill, SC | 04/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the days of LP, Epic Records issued a Wagner disc of George Szell and his Cleveland Orch. performing the Die Meisteringer Prelude, the Prelude and Love Death from Tristan and the Tannhauser Overture. All three performances were nothing less than amazing. But for some crazy reason, Sony has chosen only to release the Meistersinger and Tristan music on CD. The Tannhauser Overture has disappeared. So on this CD, we have an inferior Tannhauser Overture by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Where is the Szell recording? Fortunately, I have it on a very good sounding cassette. But it should be on CD. Sony please wake up and issue this great overture performance."