Review by: Victor Carr Jr
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Originally released on Delos in the late 1980s and early ’90s, these recordings have held up quite well sonically, sounding today more or less newly-minted. The Flying Dutchman overture makes for an imposing opening as it showcases the sweet, ringing sound of the Seattle Symphony strings. The Ring of the Nibelungen makes up the remainder of the program, and here the rest of the orchestra gets its turn to show off. The brass in particular impresses—it’s a lighter sound perhaps than what we usually hear from the Vienna Philharmonic or the Met Orchestra in this music, but Wagnerian nonetheless. In the midst of the wonderfully glittering winds and strings in Magic Fire Music, the brass interlude sounds with satisfying richness. Götterdämmerung gets compressed into a 26-minute synthesis that works rather well. Gerard Schwarz’s Seattle Opera Ring experience shows in these excerpts, although I found his Siegfried’s Funeral March a bit too swift. And although he stirs up a goodly noise in the closing Immolation Scene, he doesn’t come close to Levine’s heaven-storming fury. That aside, this is still a highly enjoyable disc that, at the Naxos price, you shouldn’t hesitate to add to your collection (provided that you first have Szell on Sony).
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Recording Details:Album Title: WAGNER ORCHESTRAL EXCERPTS, VOL. 1
Reference Recording: Szell (Sony); Tennstedt (EMI)
- WAGNER, RICHARD:Der fliegende Holländer; Das Rheingold: Entry of the Gods into Valhalla; Die Walküre: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music; Siegfried: Forest Murmurs; Götterdämmerung