Monday, 27 May 2013

Die Walküre, and Otto Klemperer

During the current period, it is not too often that I settle down and listen to opera; at the moment, I seem to prefer mainly chamber music. But this evening I revelled in Act 1 of Wagner's Die Walküre. Now that is music! Erotic passion at full throttle, much like Tristan and Isolde (Wagner seems to have been good at erotic passion). Only Act 1 this evening; I find the beginning of Act 2 a bit tedious, until we reach the Todesverkündigung towards the end of the act.

This evening's conductor was Otto Klemperer, in the 1960s with three excellent singers and the Philharmonia orchestra. Over the years, I warm to Klemperer more and more. Like me, he had doubts about large chunks of Mahler, Wagner and Strauss – while feeling passionate about some of their works. I love Klemperer's recording of Strauss's Metamorphosen for Strings, to which I have come late in life. And I love Klemperer's passionate conducting of Act 1 of Die Walküre.

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