Today's Classical Music Video

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Birgit Nilsson Sings the Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

Yesterday (Feb. 13) marked the death of German composer Richard Wagner in Venice of a heart attack 129 years ago.  It really is not possible to do justice to Wagner in the modest little blurb here, so I won't even try.  Like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart before him, Wagner's impact on the history of western classical music was immeasurable.  His explorations of expanded tonalities and novel harmonies left an indelible mark on the development of 20th century music. His Tristan und Isolde is often cited as the groundbreaking work that gave the impetus for the development of classical music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Anyone interested in this period should watch the documentary, Dancing On A Volcano, part 1 of a 7-part series on the history of western classical music narrated by conductor Sir Simon Rattle.  This episode explores the influence of Wagner on Schoenberg, Mahler, Strauss, Berg, Webern and others.  To remember the passing of Wagner, here is the sublime Liebestod, in a 1962 concert performance sung by the great Birgit Nilsson in her prime. Hans Knappertbusch leads the Vienna Philharmonic.  

- Joseph K. So

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