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Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:44 am
by dwil9798
Does anyone have a full score for the prelude to the first act of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, with the composer's own concert ending? If anyone could upload it, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:37 am
by daphnis
Are you certain such a publication exists, or are you more hopeful than anything?

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:37 am
by sbeckmesser
I'm pretty sure the concert ending is published in the Norton Critical Score of the piece (ed. Robert Bailey), which also contains some interesting essays. So it is available if you're willing to pay a little. I'm also pretty sure that Adrian Boult made a recording of the prelude with this ending for EMI.

http://www.amazon.com/Prelude-Transfigu ... 456&sr=8-1

I think I have a copy of the Norton volume but it isn't on the shelf where it should be (I hate when this happens). It may still be packed away among my uncataloged moving boxes. When I find it I'll post it, unless somebody beats me to it.

In the meantime does somebody have the full score to the uncut Grail Narrative from Lohengrin, published as an appendix to what I believe was a Broude score and likely also its German antecedent (from Peters?)? I saw this once in a library decades ago and I wish I had the presence of mind to copy it then and there.

--Sixtus

PS: Just looked at the Amazon peek-inside preview of the Norton score and the index lists the concert ending as starting on page 70.

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:41 am
by madcapellan
Is there seriously a concert ending to the prelude? The actual ending is more than fine enough. In fact, I'd say it's one of my favorites. I guess most audiences won't realize a piece is over without a large and inappropriate V-I cadence. There's a similar one included with the Petrushka score; one that I hope is never played. The real version has a quiet ending (a pizzicato tritone), that like the Wagner is one of my favorites, partially because of how different it is.

I hope this is for curiosity's sake, because there's no reason any "concert" ending for the Tristan prelude should ever be performed. I assume you were not talking about Isolde's Liebestod, which is often played immediately after the prelude in concert (and does provide a more "normal" ending since it's the end of the opera).

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:36 am
by dwil9798
In 1859, Wagner wrote a concert ending to to the prelude. It was this version of the prelude that premiered in Paris the following year. The concert ending should show us how Wagner would have resolved the tension presented in the prelude, tension usually resolved three hours later.

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:12 pm
by sbeckmesser
Yes, this is an authentic concert ending by Wagner himself. I rather prefer it to just stopping dead in the water if one is performing the Prelude alone. And I prefer the concert ending over the common segue into the Transfiguration (Wagner's given name to the so-called Liebestod), especially if it the latter is not done as written, that is with a vocalist. The Transfiguration only really makes musical, not to mention dramatic, sense at the end of the entire opera. It's emotional power is extraordinarily heightened by what has gone before, not only the Act ii Love duet which it serves to complete but also, and especially, the agony and death of Tristan earlier in the 3rd Act. I'm always moved by the end of the opera, but never by a Liebestod in concerts or recordings. As on of my musicology professors in college put it, Wagner really knows how to end an act, and this ending is the best of them all (2nd would be Gotterdammerung Act III, 3rd would be Walkure I, 4th would be Walkure III, etc.)

--Sixtus

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:49 pm
by dwil9798
The third act of Tristan, not just the Transfiguration, but Tristan's three solos and his ecstasy when the ship arrives are my favorite moments in music of all time. The climaxes Wagner builds are just unbelievable.

sbeckmesser wrote:As on of my musicology professors in college put it, Wagner really knows how to end an act, and this ending is the best of them all (2nd would be Gotterdammerung Act III, 3rd would be Walkure I, 4th would be Walkure III, etc.)


I would say Tristan iii first, than Walkure ii, than Meistersinger i, than Gotterdammerung iii (everything but those last seven bars, which annoy me to death. He couldn't have thought of anything better?)

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:47 am
by sbeckmesser
dwil9798 wrote: Gotterdammerung iii (everything but those last seven bars, which annoy me to death. He couldn't have thought of anything better?)


The end of Gotterdammerung works intensely well in the theater, IF the production isn't a post-Chereau Eurotrash travesty none of whose ending's I've seen on DVD have worked at all, much less worked well. My reference production, of course, is the late MET staging which unfortunately is probably the most realistic -- I'd say 85-90% true-to-the-libretto -- production that I will ever see, short of the movie I've always wanted to make of the Ring. In that movie, during the build up to the last 7 bars, I'd include Wagner's published final scene (never staged, even in Wagner's own production, as far as I can tell) in the interior of Valhalla with a close-up of Wotan. Flames leap up in front and behind him, Valhalla starts falling around him in flaming ruins. Smoke everywhere. Then, 7 bars from the end, seen through the smoke and flames Wotan . . . smiles. Slow fadeout over 7 bars.

--Sixtus

PS: Musically, the last 7 bars might work better if they weren't preceded the unnotated "Luftpause" commonly inserted before them. For my movie version, however, I think the Luftpause would help.

PPS: That same professor also said that if you don't like how an opera works when just listening then see it live on-stage, in a good production. He said this is especially true of Wagner and he was right. Regardless of the prevailing conventions, all the great opera composers wrote theatrically effective music (which is not quite the same thing as dramatically effective).

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:21 pm
by dwil9798
I love the Met's staging, but James Levine's conducting is a little slow fo my taste. The immolation scene is great, but Donner's "Heda! Heda hedo!" is way too slow for my taste. The same goes for part's of Karajan's Rheingold with the Berlin Philharmonic. I liked Chereau's staging of Walkure, but the others failed to do it for me. I thought Valencia's staging with Zubin Mehta conducting was hilarious. Loge on a power scooter! That's one way of doing it I guess.

My favorite recorded part of the cycle is without a doubt Joseph Keilberth's Gotterdammerung with Astrid Varnay and Wolfgang Windgassen (an overatted tenor though if you ask me). Glorious sound from the orchestra and one of the finest Brunhildes make this my favorite bar none.

I love your movie idea actually. The closest thing I've seen is Stockholm's production from 2008 in which the projector closes in on Wotan's face, but instead of smiling, he shed's a ear and than bursts into flames.

And to stay back on topic, have you located your score?

Re: Concert Ending of Wagner's Tristan Prelude

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:20 am
by sbeckmesser
dwil9798 wrote:And to stay back on topic, have you located your score?


Too busy to look. It requires opening many sealed boxes. I'll find it eventually.

--Sixtus