KARAJAN conducts Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuth 1952

This week's release is a real treat for Wagner lovers - a stunning sonic overhaul of the classic 1952 Bayreuth Festival recording of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, with Ramón Vinay and Martha Mödl in the title roles.

"Being at present completely under its spell, I find this the most compelling performance of this opera I have heard on record. Indeed in its youthful passion and urgency, Karajan's reading very much recalls the younger Kleiber's, but the difference is that Karajan in 1952 had an almost ideal cast. With the Bayreuth orchestra in alternately blazing and searingly impassioned form, [Karajan] achieves a unity of interpretation within each act that carries the listener forward surely and inevitably and makes the spine literally tingle..." A.B., Gramophone, 1978

It's always difficult to find a suitable short section from the broad sweep of music that is a Wagner opera to use as a sample on our website, so we hope you'll forgive us if we've not chosen the bit you'd most like to hear - but take a listen now to the ending of the first act, beginning with the famous theme in the strings, leading up to the words "Tristan!" ... "Isolde!", the voices clear and bright, the orchestra full and glorious. Irresistible? Probably...