Siegfried Wagner: Overture to Herzog Wildfang; Overture to Der Friedensengel; Overture to Der Schmied von Marienburg; Overture to Die heilige Linde

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COMPOSERS: Siegfried Wagner
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Overture to Herzog Wildfang; Overture to Der Friedensengel; Overture to Der Schmied von Marienburg; Overture to Die heilige Linde
PERFORMER: Rheinland-Pfalz State PO/Werner Andreas Albert
CATALOGUE NO: 999 003-2/999 300-2 DDD
If ever a man suffered as the son of a famous father it was Siegfried Wagner, who, despite the Idyll bearing his name, had a less than idyllic life. He actually wrote more operas (18) than Richard (13), and if these discs are anything to go by some of the operas themselves might be worth a hearing, but disappointment often lies down that road, many composers having said all in the overture. Die heilige Linde and An allem ist Hütchen Schuld (shades of Meistersinger and Parsifal) have beautiful and well-played solos, the rather protracted climaxes of Der Friedensengel are not helped by some dubious wind chording. Der Schmied von Marienburg has lovely purple patches and Herzog Wildfang infuriated Wagnerites by parodying Die Meistersinger (double basses insecure here in the fugue). In Das Flüchlein Hitler appears as a sadistic robber called Wolf in Act II, though there’s no sign of him in its rather turgid Prelude; Der Bärenhäuter was Siegfried’s first opera (1899) and had instant success. The overture has good moments, the third act Introduction sounds like Lohengrin, and the Devil has a whirling Waltz. Interesting and great fun for Wagnerite opera-spotters. Christopher Fifield

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