13 March 2008

Mottl's Parsifal destroyed tension and turned grandeur to boredom (Did you know?)

When Felix Mottl – as the first conductor after Hermann Levi - conducted Parsifal in Bayreuth in 1888, he was criticised for his extremely slow tempi. According to Bayreuth historian Frederic Spotts, Mottl's treatment "was roundly and unanimously condemned. Critics complained that his tempi so dragged that the dynamics were distorted, tension destroyed and grandeur turned to boredom. […] It was widely assumed that Mottl, whom the critics respected, had bowed to Cosima's will."

How odd this is to read, considering that Mottl's Parsifal lasted 4:15, only 11 minutes longer than Levy's 4:04 (1882).

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