This Sunday at 1 pm on WRTI, it's a performance of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 by The Philadelphia Orchestra. The work, and the composer, are very close to Yannick's musical heart.
Paired with Wagner's tender Siegfried Idyll, you're in for an orchestral treat, in this rebroadcast of a Verizon Hall concert first heard last January, and broadcast a week after the death of the Orchestra's Conductor Laureate Wolfgang Sawallisch.
The prayers of a desperate woman are answered in the form of a noble warrior in Richard Wagner's most accessible opera, which contrasts the lust for power with the search for faith. The title role is sung by Brandon Jovanovich, "a first-rate Wagner tenor" (San Francisco Chronicle) who was an electrifying Siegmund in Die Walküre (2011). As his doubt-plagued bride, soprano Camilla Nylund "evokes an affecting degree of dreamy distance in Elsa's account of her mysterious savior" (Gramophone).
from Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, Prelude and Liebestod
The Prelude and Liebestod from Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Wildner, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.
There are those who feel, quite frankly, that the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde is the greatest piece of music ever written. The final climax of the music drama probably inspired by Wagner’s affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, is certainly one of the peaks of the operatic repertory. Here, before our very ears, we experience the beginning of the move away from conventional harmony and tonality, and witness Wagner laying the groundwork for the direction of classical music in the 20th century as early as 1857!
The very first chord in the piece, the Tristan chord, is of great significance in the move away from traditional tonal harmony as it resolves to another dissonant chord! For me, the anticipation of final release in that last chord of the Liebestod is almost unbearable; but, when it finally comes, the lasting sense of ecstasy is as spine-tingling and blissful as anything in all art. I dissolve every time I hear it, and ask myself, “How could any human being have written this?”
Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection broadcasts Saturday, September 7th, 5 to 6 pm. The two most famous composers for whom 2013 is a bicentennial are Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. They were born in 1813, but in the spirit of Discoveries we’ll dig a little deeper to see what else happened that year.
Wagner’s Wesendonck songs and Siegfried Idyll are his only non-operatic works heard with any regularity these days. The songs are also unusual among his output because the words are by someone else (most of the time he set his own texts).
The legend of the ghostly ship condemned to wander the oceans forever has fascinated opera lovers - and more recently, movie lovers - for hundreds of years. An enthralling score powers a thrilling journey into an unsettling, mythic world where a tormented spirit seeks true love as his redemption. James Conlon, one of the foremost Wagner interpreters of our time, leads a world-class cast in a mesmerizing production. Richard Wagner: THE FLYING DUTCHMAN ((Der fliegende Holländer), Saturday, August 10, 1 to 3:30 pm.
How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.
As this year's Metropolitan Opera broadcast season comes to a close, join us to hear Götterdämmerung, the last opera in Richard Wagner's four-opera cycle, "Der Ring des Nibelungen." The Ring's cataclysmic finale stars Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde opposite Lars Cleveman as Siegfried - the star-crossed lovers doomed by fate. Hans-Peter König is Hagen and Fabio Luisi conducts. Sunday, May 11, *11 am to 5 pm (*note early start time)
Wagner’s final masterpiece explores the many facets of this mystical score. Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of the innocent who finds wisdom. His fellow Wagnerian luminaries include Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry, Peter Mattei as the ailing Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin as the wicked Klingsor, and René Pape as the noble knight Gurnemanz. Daniele Gatti conducts. Saturday, March 2, * 12 noon to 6 pm (*note early start time).
This year is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The man widely called the greatest living Wagnerian tenor is marking the occasion in style — and asking listeners who may have turned away from the German composer to give his music another chance.
Later this year we’ll mark the Richard Wagner bicentennial, but it was this week in 1883 that the great German composer died. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, in his later years, Wagner would write a piece of orchestral music commissioned by a Philadelphian and premiered in the city.
Wagner was 69 years of age when he passed. He had spent his last years raising money to establish a permanent home to showcase his works in the Northern Bavarian town of Bayreuth. To this end when the American Centennial celebrations of 1876 wanted a march to celebrate the role of German Americans in the history of the country, a Philadelphia socialite Elizabeth Gillespie sought the counsel of the German-born conductor Theodore Thomas. He suggested the $5000 commission be offered to Wagner. Wagner gratefully accepted, and delivered the work. Temple Art History professor Therese Dolan, who has written a book about the intersection of music and the visual arts in 19th century Paris says Wagner’s Grand March is not one of his grandest works.
You can tell that his heart wasn’t in it. He was building Bayreuth, so he charged five thousand dollars for this twelve minute piece of music and it was played when Roosevelt came to the Worlds’ Fair.
And though it’s been rarely played since, whatever the piece lacked in musical quality it made up for with typical Wagnerian bombast.
A hundred and fifty piece orchestra and then he also wanted a canon to be set off at the end of it. Critics felt there was no American feeling in it. Well what did they expect? They commissioned a German to do it.
Therese Dolan’s book Artworks of the Future: Manet, Wagner and Liszt will be published later this year.