Deborah Voigt / Jeffrey Tate

Divine

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Recorded in concert in 2012, this program of music by Igor Stravinsky and Richard Wagner is something of a puzzle, albeit mostly on stylistic grounds. Because Stravinsky's Apollon musagète and the excerpts from Wagner's Götterdämmerung deal respectively with Greek and Nordic mythology, the album's title, Divine, is appropriate enough. Yet the two composers represent polar opposites: Stravinsky's bright and elegant neo-classical ballet is far removed from the dark and brooding tragedy of Wagner's Ring, and hearing them played together on the same bill produces cognitive dissonance. That said, Tate takes Apollon musagète somewhat slower than it is usually played, perhaps to give it more expressive weight to counterbalance the Wagner, but this is a bit unfair to the music, which should have a light and airy feeling to highlight its character as dance music. Siegfried's Rhine Journey, Siegfried's Funeral Music, and the vocal selections from Act III of Götterdämmerung, sung by Deborah Voigt, have the expected heft of late Wagner, but Tate's tempos are sluggish and the music's low energy suggests that he doesn't have it flowing in his veins. Considering that there are many excellent performances of both selections by more sympathetic conductors, this disc is recommendable to Tate's or Voigt's fans or devotees of the Hamburg Symphony, but few others.

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