Composer(s):
Genre(s):
Opera
Period(s):
Romantic
Label:
Orfeo
Catalogue No:
C690074L
Barcode:
4011790690421
Release Date:
03/2017
Available Format(s):
CD

Richard Wagner - Parsifal

When Hans Knappertsbusch conjured up the sounds of the Prelude to Act One of Parsifal from the "mystic abyss" of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in 1964, few in the audience can have suspected that this would be the seventy-six-year-old conductor's final season on the Green Hill. Retrospectively his performances at that year's Festival quickly came to be seen as the last in a performing tradition that dated back to the early years of the 20th century but which had also left a decisive mark on the style of New Bayreuth since its reopening in 1951. Knappertsbusch was arguably unique in his ability to bring a sense of tension to the specific qualities of the Bayreuth acoustic, with its well-blended, compact sound, while never allowing his broad tempos to sacrifice any of the details in Wagner's orchestral writing.

During his final season in Bayreuth, Knappertsbusch had at his disposal a team of singers fully capable of helping him to shape this synthesis of tonal fullness and the art of subtly nuanced interpretation. Prominent among the soloists in this live recording, which is now being released by the Bayreuth Festival in collaboration with Orfeo, is Jon Vickers in the title role. He first sang the part in Bayreuth in 1964, bringing to it a vocal power that took Festival audiences by complete surprise. As in virtually all the Canadian tenor's performances, the listener is additionally moved by the singer's ability to rein in his voice and produce the subtlest nuances, most notably in the Good Friday scene. His equal in this regard was the Gurnemanz of Hans Hotter, whose qualities as a lieder singer allowed him to create islands of extreme intimacy in the character's lengthy narrations. One of his great successors as Wotan in the Ring was Thomas Stewart, who is heard here as Amfortas, his somewhat lighter – but by no means lightweight – timbre and art of characterisation producing an outstanding psychological study of the ailing Grail king. His antagonist Klingsor is played by the indestructible Gustav Neidlinger, Bayreuth's legendary Alberich, whose pitch-black bass brought a real sense of menace to the part. It is also the dark colours of Barbro Ericson's Kundry that are the most fascinating aspect of her performance, her voluptuous contralto none the less able to master the awkward intervals and emotional outbursts of this complex character. The Bayreuth Festival Chorus under the direction of Wilhelm Pitz adds further lustre to this performance, while the luxury casting of the smaller parts, including Heinz Hagenau as a rich-voiced Titurel, leaves today's listener in no doubt that the myths that have grown up around this 1964 Parsifal are fully justified and timeless in their validity.


Parsifal
1.     Act I Part 1: Prelude
12:13
2.     Act I Part 1: He! Ho! Waldhuter ihr (Gurnemanz, Second Knight)
05:28
3.     Act I Part 1: Seht dort, die wilde Reiterin! (Second Esquire, First Esquire, Second Knight, First Knight, Kundry, Gurnemanz)
03:21
4.     Act I Part 1: Recht so! Habt Dank! (Amfortas, Second Knight, Gurnemanz, Kundry)
07:03
5.     Act I Part 1: He! Du da! (Third Esquire, Kundry, Fourth Esquire, Gurnemanz)
07:34
6.     Act I: O wunden-wundervoller heiliger Speer! (Gurnemanz, Esquires)
04:29
7.     Act I Part 1: Titurel, der fromme Held (Gurnemanz, Esquires)
11:08
8.     Act I Part 2: Weh! Weh! - Hoho! - Auf - Wer ist der Frevler? (Esquires, Knight, Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
07:54
9.     Act I Part 2: Nun sag! Nichts weisst du, was ich dich frage (Gurnemanz, Parsifal, Kundry)
07:11
10.     Act I Part 2: Vom Bade kehrt der Konig heim (Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
01:59
11.     Act I Part 2: Verwandlungsmusik
03:59
12.     Act I Part 2: Nun achte wohl und lass mich seh'n (Gurnemanz, Knights of the Grail, Youths, Boys)
06:18

Disc 2

1.     Act I Part 2: Mein Sohn Amfortas, bist du am Amt? (Titurel, Amfortas)
03:08
2.     Act I Part 2: Wehvolles Erbe, dem ich verfallen (Amfortas, Chorus)
09:42
3.     Act I Part 2: Nehmet hin meinen Leib (Chorus, Titurel)
04:42
4.     Act I Part 2: Wein und Brot des letzten Mahles (Chorus)
08:31
5.     Act I Part 2: Was stehst du noch da? (Gurnemanz, Stimme, Chorus)
02:07

Disc 3

1.     Act II: Prelude
02:26
2.     Act II: Die Zeit ist da (Klingsor)
04:01
3.     Act II: Ach! Ach! Tiefe Nacht! (Kundry, Klingsor)
03:15
4.     Act II: Furchtbare Not! (Klingsor, Kundry)
04:05
5.     Act II: Ho! Ihr Wachter! Ho! Ritter! (Klingsor)
04:02
6.     Act II: Hier war das Tosen (Flowermaids, Chorus, Parsifal)
04:19
7.     Act II: Komm'! Komm'! Holder Knabe! (Chorus, Flowermaidens, Parsifal)
05:39
8.     Act II: Parsifal! Weile! (Kundry, Parsifal, Flowermaids, Chorus)
02:58
9.     Act II: Dies alles… hab' ich nun getraumt? (Parsifal, Kundry)
03:25
10.     Act II: Ich sah das Kind an seiner Mutter Brust (Kundry)
05:36
11.     Act II: Wehe! Wehe! Was tat ich? (Parsifal, Kundry)
05:23
12.     Act II: Amfortas! Die Wunde! Die Wunde! (Parsifal)
06:10
13.     Act II: Gelobter Held! Entflieh dem Wahn! (Kundry, Parsifal)
01:57
14.     Act II: Grausamer! Fuhlst du im Herzen (Kundry)
06:45
15.     Act II: Auf Ewigkeit warst du verdammt mit mir (Parsifal, Kundry)
06:12
16.     Act II: Vergeh, unseliges Weib! (Parsifal, Kundry, Klingsor)
04:14

Disc 4

1.     Act III: Prelude
04:34
2.     Act III: Von dort her kam das Stohnen (Gurnemanz, Kundry)
07:06
3.     Act III: Wer nahet dort dem heil'gen Quell (Gurnemanz)
06:58
4.     Act III: Heil mir, dass ich dich wieder finde! (Parsifal, Gurnemanz)
03:39
5.     Act III: O Gnade! Hochstes Heil (Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
07:53
6.     Act III: Nicht so! - Die heil'ge Quelle selbst (Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
03:48
7.     Act III: Gesegnet sei, du Reiner, durch das Reine! (Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
05:02
8.     Act III: Wie dunkt mir doch die Aue heut so schon! (Parsifal, Gurnemanz)
02:40
9.     Act III: Du siehst, das ich nicht so (Gurnemanz, Parsifal)
06:35
10.     Act III: Mittag: Die Stund' ist da (Gurnemanz)
04:36
11.     Act III: Geleiten wir im bergenden Schrein (Chorus)
04:09
12.     Act III: Ja, wehe! Weh' uber mich (Amfortas, Chorus)
07:00
13.     Act III: Nur eine Waffe taugt (Parsifal)
05:12
14.     Act III: Hochsten Heiles Wunder! (Chorus)
03:10

Total Playing Time: 04:09:36