Sunday, May 26, 2013

Peter Hofmann sings Richard Wagner

   The difficulties in Wagner’s music are legendary, especially vocal one. Melody was a primary component of his music and his theoretical solutions. He called melody “the only form of music”. Richard Wagner’s musical ideas were subordinated to his idea of music drama, called also Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). One of main issues of this reform was changing the style of the melody. In place of periodic structures he proposed the idea of Unendliche Melodie (infinite melody), the new kind of non-divided and not ended sequence of structures depending of lyrics and stage drama. One deep consequences of this attitude was the level of difficulties in Richard Wagner’s opera is so high, special trained voices are demanded to perform it safely. Among singers performing Richard Wagner’s opera and drama roles many are specialists dedicated exclusively to this music and ready to meet the high requirements special trained voices.
   One of most promising voices in Wagnerian stage in 1980’s was phenomenal tenor Peter Hofmann. His debut was Tamino in 1972 in Lübeck performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute. He was 28. Two years later he made his Wagner debut sunging Siegmund in Die Walküre production in Wupertal and in 1976 with the same role he debuted in Bayreuth Festival production. The same year he was singing title role in Parsifal and in next years also title hero in Lohengrin, Tristan in Tristan und Isolde and Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Peter Hofmann was active in many opera houses all over the world. He was also recognized as popular music singer, recording and performing in 1980’s. In 1994 he has been diagnosed with Parkinson disease and in 1999 he withdrawn of public performances. He died in 2010.

Peter Hofmann – Richard Wagner (1983)

   In 1983 CBS Records Masterworks released Peter Hofmann’s album with Highlights from six Wagner’s operas and dramas. Recorded in Stuttgart with Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart under Iván Fischer, this recording had captured one of best moments in singers career. He reached full capabilities, has won international recognition and married for the second time with successful singer Deborah Sasson. The program of this recital is composed of most famous fragments of Richard Wagners stage works. There are mainly lyrical arias and monologues, most of them presented in such way as they were songs or standalone dramatic scenes. It’s definitely comprehensive set of most beautiful excerpts from Richard Wagner’s operas and dramas.
   First side comprises two fragments from Wagner’s most consequent opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and three fragments from dramas Die Walküre and Siegfried. Interesting performance of Walther von Stolzing Preislied Morgendlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein is more dramatic while scene with Nothung from Siegfried: Nothung! Nothung! Neidliches Schwert! shows more subtle aspect of Wagnerian hero. Second side of the album shows three extensive fragments from operas. Beautiful Rienzi’s Prayer Allmächt’ger Vater, blick herab, the dramatically lyric Rome narrative Inbrunst im Herzen, wie kein Büßer noch sie je gefühlt from Tannhäuser (with Victor Dornberger as Wolfram) and Gral narrative In fernem Land from Lohengrin. This is just one beautifully set and perfectly recorded album. In comparison with other Wagnerian recording this can be seen as incomplete but fresh and creative.

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