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Wesendonck Cycle - Eileen Farrell , Leopold Stokowski , Mathilde Wesendonck , Richard Wagner
(1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5)
From Album : Most important work of Wagner not an Opera
Release : 1949
(5650 hits)
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Label : RCA Victor | Year : 1858
- Note - Piano Performances of the Wesendonck Cycle do not do justice to theses works. Wagner always heard Orchestra when he composed. The Felix Mottl orchestration (referencing on Tristan und Isolde) convincingly realizes Wagner's inner creation. Conceptually, it is more likely that the Prelude to Act III or Tristan was the source for Im Treibhaus rather than the reverse as stated above. They are presented here in the standard order which give a more meaningful unity that one based on creation dates. Note that one can visit the site of these sparks in Zurich, although there is more to see at the meticulously maintained villa near Lucerne where he was most happy later with his second wife and true love - Cosima - (nee Lizst - and formerly von Bulow) R.E.C.

Date: 1857 -1858 Wagner met Otto Wesendonck in Zurich in 1852. By April 1856, Wagner moved into this crucial patron's guest house and was much enchanted with Wesendonck's wife, Mathilde. By June 1857, he'd dropped Der Ring and its mythological profundities for Tristan und Isolde and its mystical sexualities. By September, he finished the libretto and started the music. By November, he figured out he didn't know how to write music that could fulfill the sexual yearnings of Tristan and he decided to devise a whole new chromatic harmonic language by composing songs setting poems of endless erotic longing by none other than Mathilde Wesendonck. The last of the Funf Gedichte von Mathilde Wesendonck was Im Treibhaus (In the Hot House) composed in May 1858. Mathilde's poem describes the sorrows of separation that Wagner embodies in melodies of heartbroken loneliness and harmonies of infinite grief. When he came to compose the Prelude to Act III of Tristan, Im Treibhaus became the source of its aching, throbbing music. Originally scored for voice and piano, conductor Felix Mottl arranged the song for orchestra in 1880. ~ All Music Guide *

Leopold Stokowski was one of the half dozen top conductors in the U.S. in the 1930's and 1940's, which was and era of giants in such positions. It was especially fitting that he was chosen to conduct the brilliantly innovative Walt Disney contribution to Classical Music via the 1940 film "Fantasia". He was not particularly known as a Wagnerian conductor but this 1949 Wesendonck cycle shows he had the goods for such. The other side of the single LP held his doing of the Tannhauser overture brilliantly. Eileen Farrell (February 13, 1920–March 23, 2002) was a famous American opera and concert singer soprano. During her career, Farrell was greatly admired as an opera singer, but she preferred the concert hall and radio to the theater. In the 1955 film Interrupted Melody, which starred Eleanor Parker as Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence, Farrell's voice was used for the singing parts while Parker lip-synched. Two Wagnerian scenes were climactic moments in the plot. This film, along with the Wesendonck recording featured in Artsconverge, demonstrate how she might have had a top career as Dramatic and Wagnerian Soprano. But she did not conform to the complex biases of Rudolph Bing, GM of the Met. She was every ounce American, which was not an advantage for an Opera singer those days. She is also featured in our Beethoven and Von Weber album.

01 Der Engel
English- RECMusic, German- RECMusic, Russian (cyrillic)- Robert Ellis Crawford
02 Stehe Still
English- RECMusic, German- RECMusic, Russian (cyrillic)- Robert Ellis Crawford
03 Im Treibhaus
English- RECMusic, German- RECMusic, Russian (cyrillic)- Robert Ellis Crawford
04 Schmerzen
English- RECMusic, German- RECMusic, Russian (cyrillic)- Robert Ellis Crawford
05 Traume
English- RECMusic, German- RECMusic, Russian (cyrillic)- Robert Ellis Crawford
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