Wagner - The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhauser: Orchestral Highlights (Slovak Philharmonic, Halasz) (CD)

Wagner - The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhauser: Orchestral Highlights (Slovak Philharmonic, Halasz) (CD)

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The Overture to The Flying Dutchman, with its story of the legendary haunted Dutchman, fated to sail the seas in his ghostly ship until redeemed by true love, sets the scene of what the composer described as a storm-swept ballad. Leit-motifs, themes or fragments of themes, appear and re-appear, dominated by the horn call associated with the Dutchman and the rushing strings of the sea and wind. Another theme that appears in the Overture is associated with Senta, the girl who loves the Dutchman and dies for him, as he sails away in apparent disappointment at what he believes to be her betrayal. Her sacrifice brings him final redemption.

The Prelude to Tannhauser includes a number of themes and motifs that have later importance in the score. The sound of the Pilgrims' Chorus is heard and a motif of repentance, contrasted with the Venusberg music and the Hymn to Venus. The Dresden version of the overture ended with a return to the Pilgrims' Chorus, while for Paris Wagner led straight into the Bacchanal, a pagan celebration of love. This is the Venusberg music of the first act. The entrance of the nobility in the second act is accompanied by a festal march, followed by the entrance of the contestants in the song contest on the subject of love. The introduction to the third act gives a musical account of Tannhauser's pilgrimage to Rome, in search of absolution.

Lohengrin was first performed at the Court Theatre in Weimar in 1850, with Liszt conducting. Wagner himself had taken refuge in Switzerland, after his indiscreet support of revolution in Dresden against his royal patron.


Track listing

  1. Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman): Overture
  2. Overture Tannhauser (excerpts)
  3. Venusberg Music Tannhauser (excerpts)
  4. Act II: Entrance of the Guests Tannhauser (excerpts)
  5. Introduction to Act III: Tannhauser's Pilgrimage Tannhauser (excerpts)
  6. Prelude Lohengrin (excerpts)
  7. Act III: Prelude Lohengrin (excerpts)