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Cat. No. CHAN 10313 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10313 - Strauss: Overture and Dance/ Duett-Concertino - Wagner: Wesendonk Lieder/Siegried Idyll/Träume
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Available From: 09 May 2005
"Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll was composed in 1870 as a surprise birthday present for his wife, Cosima. Their son, Siegfried, had been born in June 1869 in the house where they lived at Tribschen on Lake Lucerne. Rehearsals of the work were held in secret under the supervision of Hans Richter and the first performance was given on the staircase of the villa on Christmas morning 1870. The five Wesendonk Lieder are also intimately connected with Wagner’s private life. They are settings of poems by Mathilde Wesendonk, who had become Wagner’s mistress in the 1850s. She was also the inspiration for Isolde and Sieglinde. Two of the Wesendonk Lieder were described by Wagner as ‘studies for Tristan’. Of these five songs, Wagner orchestrated only Träume, for Mathilde’s birthday, and this version is included on this disc. The remaining four songs were orchestrated under Wagner’s supervision by the conductor Felix Mottll, but the scoring for chamber orchestra recorded on this disc was provided by Hans Werner Henze in 1976.

Strauss’s Duett-Concertino for clarinet, bassoon, strings and harp was one of his last works. He told Hugo Burghauser, former principal bassoon of the Vienna Philharmonic, that he had written it ‘thinking of your beautiful tone’. Like the other works of Strauss’s so-called Indian Summer, it has a classic simplicity of outline. The chromatic Overture from ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’ reflects the unhappiness of Ariadne, abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover, Theseus, and awaiting the messenger of death; in the Dance Scene the leader of the comedian’s troupe, Zerbinetta, flirts and dances with the male comedians before disappearing with Harlequin. All this is set to music of elegant lightness and charm, scored for chamber orchestra with all Strauss’s fabled skill.

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Reviews

This is a disc for anyone who prefers Wagner out of the opera house, and more intimate than grandiloquent… Richard Hickox coaxes sophisticated playing…
BBC Music Magazine

Robert Plane and Stephen Reay are the excellent soloists on this delightful disc…
The Times on Strauss’s Duett Concertino

… the mezzo Jard van Nes and Hickox catch both the desolate atmosphere of that song and the sense of Tristanesque reverie in Träume.
The Times on the Wesendonk Lieder and Träume

 

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