Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday Classics: Did Wagner know how to give a birthday present, or what?


Marta Carretón conducts the first half of the chamber version of the Siegfried Idyll in a concert at the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia); the second half of the performance is here. (The instrumentalists are all identified on YouTube.)

by Ken

We've been angling toward Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, on Friday night touching on the story of its composition, with reference to Groucho Marx's semi-famous parody-in-anger of its first performance, then last night actually hearing the piece.

Last night I quoted part of the Wikipedia note concerning the history of the Siegfried Idyll. What I left out was a Wikipedia editor's hectoring, almost derisive clamoring for sourcing, strongly suggesting that the writer had, like, made all this stuff up. I sympathize with the editor's desire for sourcing. Proper sourcing is a good thing. Of course links that might well satisfy his/her craving may, for all he/she knows, equally well be all made up, or at least doubtfully reliable.

Whereas the source for the article's information, as I knew because I happened to be looking at it, sure appears to be Deryck Cooke's liner note for the performance of the Siegfried Idyll conducted by Georg Solti included, along with a performance of the virtually unknown Kindercatchismus, in the original LP edition of his Introduction to Der Ring des Niblungen done as a companion to, and making use of, Decca's pioneering Solti-conducted recording of The Ring.

I don't know that D.C.'s liner note exists anywhere in linkable form, but I consider it a mighty good source, because in my experience he was pretty darned persnickety about facts. So today we're going to let him guide us through the Siegfried Idyll. But first I thought we'd listen to the piece again, in this lovely, unfussy performance conducted by frequent DWT "contributor" Sir Adrian Boult.

WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll (full-orchestra version)

London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult, cond. EMI, recorded January 1973



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