Known for his scientific explorations of timbre and his innovative syntheses of acoustic and electronic techniques, Tristan Murail is regarded as a composer of the "spectral school." He accepts untempered sound as the basis for his expansive musical language, far removed from tonality, serialism, and aleatoric procedures. Gondwana was developed from electronic music concepts, and its expanding and contracting bands of complex sounds are analogous to those generated through a synthesizer. Shimmering clusters, washes of color, and massed, low sonorities evoke the slow shifting of continents. The Orchestre National de France, directed by Yves Prin, delivers this work with primordial grandeur and astonishing depth. Because of its smaller forces, Désintégrations is more focused and intense than Gondwana, though no less cosmic in its implications. The Ensemble de l'Itinéraire blends effectively with the electronic tape, so it is difficult to distinguish acoustic from synthetic sounds. Time and Again is a departure from the familiar practice of slowly unfolding processes, for its chopped-up material is jumbled, as if sequential events were reordered in a time machine.
Glyndebourne's celebrated production of Nikolaus Lehnhoff's Tristan und Isolde is a supremely intelligent achievement; gravely beautiful, haunting and meditative, it is deeply reflective rather than visceral, fortified by Roland Aeschlimann's stunningly effective set, a womb-like space through which the protagonists move like gods. Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek mirrors Lehnhoff's approach in his sophisticated plumbing of the score's depths, with every shift in texture carefully laid bare by an inspired London Philharmonic Orchestra. Nina Stemme's Isolde and Robert Gambill's Tristan, both gloriously lyrical, are matched by superb performances from René Pape as the betrayed and vulnerable King Marke and Bo Skovhus as Kurwenal, deeply touching in his helpless devotion to Tristan. This High Definition recording of a production of uncommon intimacy reveals the opera's music and drama in a new light.
‘Peter Schneider conducted with real feeling for the score and the prelude to the first act stole upon the ear with the magic of Bayreuth’s amazing acoustics. Robert Dean Smith is now a fine Tristan with a really beautiful voice. …Robert Holl made a moving King Marke, his magnificent bass nobly used. Some of the most beautiful singing came from Clemens Bieber's Young Seaman at the beginning.’ (The Stage)
With Tristan und Isolde La Scala opened its 07/08 new in a new production staged by Patrice Chéreau. In this collaboration Daniel Barenboim and Patrice Chéreau (of whom Daniel Barenboim said: "In Chereau, I found my ideal partner“) fulfil a Wagnerian dream they had been cherishing since 1980. The opera hadn’t been staged at La Scala for over 30 years and was a triumph with over 20 minutes of applause.
Tenor Ben Heppner and soprano Jane Eaglen perform two of opera's most demanding roles in a 1999 production of “Tristan und Isolde,” Richard Wagner's titanic tragedy. Based on a Celtic myth, the 1865 drama charts the passions of the Irish queen Isolde and the Cornish knight Tristan. He's transporting her, against her will, to marry his uncle, King Marke (bass Rene Pape), but the two drink a potion that will ensure both their undying love for each other–-and their deaths. James Levine conducts the Met Orchestra.
This production of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” was recorded during the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s great tour to Japan in 1993. Directed by Götz Friedrich and conducted by Jiří Kout, this interpretation of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde was a great success. Wagner’s composition of “Tristan und Isolde” was inspired by his love affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer.