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Wagner: The Ring Without Words / Maazel, Berlin Philharmonic

Wagner,Richard / Bpo / Maazel
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2057608  
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-ray

Recorded live at Philharmonie Berlin, 2000.

- Interview with Lorin Maazel

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles (Bonus): German, French, Japanese
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 83 mins (concert) + 5 mins (bonus)
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)


WAGNER-MAAZEL Read more The Ring Without Words Lorin Maazel, cond; Berlin PO EUROARTS 2057604 (Blu-ray); 2057608 (DVD) (83: 00) Live: Berlin 10/2000

& Interview with Loren Maazel

"Maazel’s is not the only Ring synthesis available; Henk de Vlieger’s The Ring—An Orchestral Journey was considered in Fanfare 34:4. Inevitably, Wagnerites will have complaints about what’s put in and what’s left out of these kinds of endeavors. In the case of The Ring Without Words, some will wonder how Maazel can omit “Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla” but include Donner’s summoning up the thunderstorm, with a solo trombone taking the baritone’s part. Or why, from Siegfried, we get the battle with Fafner and “The Dragon’s Lament” but none of the lovers’ music from the close of act III. Maazel skips over a favorite orchestral passage of mine, the hero’s scaling of Brünnhilde’s rock in Siegfried ; de Vlieger includes it. On the other hand, de Vlieger ignores “Wotan’s Farewell” from Die Walküre while Maazel does introduce that material, surely some of the most emotionally potent music in the entire cycle. Both arrangements begin in the Rhine and end with the glowing D?-sonority of Götterdämmerung ’s final bars. De Vlieger takes us from one dramatic landmark to another while Maazel’s choices seem to be driven more by what interests him musically. I’m glad to have both. Perhaps it says something about the greatness of Wagner’s creation that it has inspired the very capable efforts of both an old-fashioned maestro (a “Ring conductor,” as Maazel pompously refers to himself) and some guy from the Concertgebouw’s percussion section.

Maazel’s 2000 performance of The Ring Without Words is significantly longer than the earlier Telarc version, by better than 10 minutes; only a few sections from Götterdämmerung were slower the first time around. Orchestral execution was superb on both occasions. I do prefer Telarc’s stereo sound to EuroArts’—it’s clearer, better integrated, and often more substantial, as with the timpani roar that begins the Walküre section. Even on the Blu-ray version, the multichannel audio is a bit amorphous and even surround-sound enthusiasts should audition both the two-channel and 5.1 DTS-HD versions to determine which works best for them. Maazel deploys pretty much the full Ring orchestra and it is wonderful to see the more exotic instruments—bass trumpet, contrabass trombone, four Wagner tubas—in action. There is no steerhorn for Hagan’s call to his vassals and the camera pointedly doesn’t show us the anvils during the descent into Nibelheim. There clearly are not 18 of them, or anything close. But this release will still be a lot of fun for the never-can-get-enough Wagnerian. Know anybody like that?"

FANFARE: Andrew Quint
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Works on This Recording

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Excerpt(s) by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853-1874; Germany 

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