COMPOSERS: MendelssohnWeberNicolaiMarschnerWagner
ALBUM TITLE: German Overtures
WORKS: Overtures
PERFORMER: Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraChristian Thielemann
CATALOGUE NO: 474 5022
Identified firmly as he is with German


Romanticism, Christian Thielemann

is clearly at home in the repertoire

offered on this disc. Nor does he

disappoint: the Weber, Marschner and

Wagner overtures are all dispatched

with the kind of volkstŸmlich

swagger in which the genre deals

and which was to reach its apogee in

the self-aggrandising parades of Die

Meistersinger von NŸrnberg.

Happily, though, Thielemann’s

approach is not one-dimensional.

He captures the aura of the spirit

world in Euryanthe and Oberon, and

the revolutionary fervour as well as

the pomp of Rienzi. Mendelssohn’s

A Midsummer Night’s Dream has an

apt lightness of touch, with fairy-like

delicacy at the end. Nicolai’s Die

Lustigen Weiber von Windsor also has

a buoyancy appropriate both for the

subject (Shakespeare’s Merry Wives)

and for the strong Italian influence

on the composer. Marschner’s Hans

Heiling, too, has Italianate subsidiary

material, which Thielemann handles

lyrically, almost balletically.

The Vienna Philharmonic plays

with its customary polish and finesse,

producing something like a Viennese


lilt in the Nicolai. Barry Millington