Wagner's Orchestra: Tristan and Isolde.
At this time also he first began to lay out the plan of Tristan and Isolde, and to think over the possibilities of Parsifal.
In 1857 he completed the libretto of Tristan and Isolde at Venice, adopting the Celtic legend modified by Gottfried of Strasburg's medieval version.
Wagner now settled for a time in Vienna, where Tristan and Isolde was accepted, but abandoned after fifty-seven rehearsals, through the incompetence of the tenor.
On the 10th of June 1865 at Munich, Tristan and Isolde was produced for the first time, with Herr and Frau Schnorr in the principal parts.
Compare the mere fairy-tale mystery of Lohengrin's command that Elsa shall never ask to know his name, with the profound fatalism of Isolde's love-potion.
In his next work, Die Meistersinger, Wagner ingeniously made poetry and drama out of an explicit manifesto to musical critics, and proved the depth of his music by developing its everyday resources and so showing that its vitality does not depend on that extreme emotional force that makes Tristan and Isolde almost unbearably poignant.
The overwhelming love-tragedy of Tristan and Isolde is hardly less perfect, though the simplicity of its action exposes its longueurs to greater notoriety than those which may be found in Die Meistersinger.
Tristan and Isolde; 3 acts (poem written in 1857; music, 1857-1859).
Thomas's work, fortunately, fell into the hands of a true poet in the person of Gottfried von Strassburg, whose Tristan and Isolde is, from a literary point of view, the gem of medieval German literature.
Like the story of Perceval that of Tristan has been made familiar to the present generation by Richard Wagner's noble music drama, Tristan and Isolde, founded upon the poem of Gottfried von Strassburg; though, being a drama of feeling rather than of action, the story is reduced to its simple elements; the drinking of the love-potion, the passion of the lovers, their discovery by Mark and finally their death.
Gottfried's Tristan and Isolde has been several times published; the best editions are those of Bechstein (1890) and Golther (1889); modern German versions by Kurz, Simrock and Hertz; English prose rendering, J.
Isolde leads us through a park to a street where a number of horse-drawn landaus are plying their trade.
The love that is disguised in the deadly feud between Isolde and Tristan, before the drinking of the fatal potion, rises even above the music; the love-duet in the second act depends for its greatness on its introduction, before the lovers have met, and its wonderful slow movement (shortly before the catastrophe) where they are almost silent and leave everything to the music: the intervening twenty minutes is an exhausting storm in which the words are the sophisticated rhetoric of a 19th-century novel of passion, translated into terribly turgid verse and set to music that is more interesting as an intellectual ferment than effective as a representation of emotions which previous dramatists have wisely left to the imagination.
Sometimes, too, when a great dramatic climax has given place to a lyrical anticlimax, retrospective moods, subtleties of emotion and crowning musical thoughts press in upon Wagner's mind with a closeness that determines every word; and thus not only is the whole third act of Tristan, as Wagner said when he was working at it, of " overwhelming tragic power," but Isolde's dying utterances (which occupy the last five minutes and are, of course, totally without action or dramatic tension) were not unlike fine poetry even before the music was written.
Beethoven's Nine Symphonies; Berlioz's " Symphonie fantastique," " Harold en Italie "; Benediction et Serment (Benvenuto Cellini); Danse des Sylphes (Damnation de Faust); Weber's overtures, Der Freischiitz, Euryanthe, Oberon, Jubilee; Beethoven's and Hummel's Septets; Schubert's Divertissement a la Hongroise; Beethoven's Concertos in C minor, G and E flat (orchestra for a second piano); Wagner's Tannhauser overture, march, romance, chorus of pilgrims; Lohengrin, Festzug and Brautlied, Elsa's Brautgang, Elsa's Traum, Lohengrin's Verweiss an Elsa; Fliegender Hollander, Spinnlied; Rienzi, Gebet; Rheingold, Walhall; Meistersinger, " Am stillen Herd "; Tristan, Isolde's Liebestod; Chopin's six Chants Polonais; Meyerbeer's Schillermarsch; Bach's six organ Preludes and Fugues; Prelude and Fugue in G minor; Beethoven, Adelaide; 6 miscellaneous and 6 Geistliche Lieder; Liederkreis; Rossini's Les Soirees musicales; Schubert, 59 songs; Schumann, 13 songs; Mendelssohn, 8 songs; Robert Franz, 13 songs.
Tristan + Isolde (12A) Published: 21 April 2006 This legend of star-crossed love is given a handsome refit here.
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