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Wagner - The Ring (Highlights)

Wagner , Herbert Von Karajan Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Wagner - The Ring (Highlights) + Wagner - 'Der Ring' Ohne Worte / 'The Ring' Without Words
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Product details

  • Conductor: Herbert Von Karajan
  • Audio CD (2 Jun 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GC1
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Wagner: Das Rheingold - Vorabend des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Vierte Szene - "Zur Burg führt die Brücke" - "Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge"Josephine Veasey 8:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Wagner: Die Walküre - Erster Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Erster Aufzug / Dritte Szene - "Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater"Berliner Philharmoniker 6:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Wagner: Die Walküre / Dritter Aufzug - The Ride Of The ValkyriesBerliner Philharmoniker 6:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Wagner: Die Walküre - Erster Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Dritter Aufzug - "Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind" - "Loge, hör! Lausche hieher!"Berliner Philharmoniker13:27£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Wagner: Die Walküre - Erster Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Dritter Aufzug / Dritte Szene - FeuerzauberBerliner Philharmoniker 3:48£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Wagner: Siegfried - Zweiter Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Erster Aufzug - "Nothung, Nothung, neidliches Schwert!" - "Hoho! Hoho! Hohei! Schmiede mein Hammer ein eisernes SchwertBerliner Philharmoniker11:46£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Wagner: Siegfried - Zweiter Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Dritter Aufzug - "Heil dir, Sonne!" (Brünnhildes Erwachen)Helga Dernesch 6:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Dritter Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Dritter Aufzug / Zweite Szene - "Brünnhilde, heilige Braut"Berliner Philharmoniker 4:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Dritter Tag des Bühnenfestspiels "Der Ring des Nibelungen" / Dritter Aufzug / Zweite Szene - TrauermarschBerliner Philharmoniker 8:29£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Wulf V
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have the entire recording of von Karajan`s Ring on CD but despite certain unnecessary snobbery regarding "bleeding chunks" from so-called "purists" there is a time and a place for highlights albums. There are times when I need a quick Wagner "fix" and this is the album to do it. This particular album is far superior to Deutsche Grammophon`s Classikon CD which lacks the all too crucial "Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater" from Die Walkuere and "Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert!" and "Schmiede mein Hammer" from Siegfried. These vital excerpts are included on this album. Even the double CD from Deutsche Grammophon`s Panorama lacks these aforementioned highlights.
This is the album that got me hooked onto Wagner 24 years ago and I keep coming back to it. The only important musical piece that it lacks is Donner`s "Schwules Gedunst schwebt in der Luft". This is present on Ring highlights albums by other conducters but not here for some unaccountable reason. It is hoped that Deutsche Grammophon rectify this unfortunate omission in any future revisions of this release.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the Ring. 17 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Not a Wagner expert, but this was just the introduction I wanted. The delivery and quality of product were excellent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for aspiring Wagnerians 3 Aug 2009
By Alexander Arsov - Published on
Format:Audio CD
[1] Das Rheingold: Aur Burg führt die Brücke
[2] Die Walküre: Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater
[3] Die Walküre: Walkürenritt
[4] Die Walküre: Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind!
[5] Die Walküre: Feuerzauber
[6] Siegfried: Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert
[7] Siegfried: Brünnhildes Erwachen
[8] Götterdämmerung: Brünnhilde, heilige Braut!
[9] Götterdämmerung: Trauermarsch

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

Wotan: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau [1]; Thomas Stewart [4, 5].
Siegfried: Jess Thomas [6, 7]; Helge Brilioth [8].
Brünnhilde: Helga Dernesch [7].
Siegmund: Jon Vickers [2].
Loge: Gerhard Stolze [1].

This is a truly amazing CD. Not so long ago it was solely responsible for making me a true fan of Richard Wagner's late works. I have never had any doubts in his genius and I have always liked his operas from the so called "middle period" - Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and especially Der fliegende Holländer. But Wagner's late works - much more aptly called not operas, but music dramas - had always terrified me with their length and complexity. Years ago a complete recording of The Ring accidentally happened to be in my hands. I gave it a try and ended bored to extinction at the second scene of Das Rheingold - the first part of the cycle. It's funny how things do change.

These excellent highlights showed me the real genius of Richard Wagner and made of myself an ardent admirer of his late works, especially The Ring. Only recently did I find out how magnificent and how ingeniously composed this cycle of four music dramas really is. The numerous leitmotifs that Wagner used to describe practically every character, idea, feeling, and object are not only deeply psychological but very often extremely beautiful and combined in an astonishing way. His ability to tell an epic story with text and music in a continuous way without virtually any pauses is something to marvel at. Once one gets bitten by Richard Wagner's genius, one never fully recovers. Nor does one want to.

The whole of Der Ring des Nibelungen runs for the unbelievable length of about 14-15 hours - the "prelude" Das Rheingold is about two and a half hours long and the three "days", Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, are about four hours long each - and a complete recording usually takes something like 14 CDs. To compress the entire huge masterpiece into one CD with duration of no more than 80 minutes seems to be an impossible task. And yet, whoever compiled this CD did it. The nine tracks are not only among the best of the whole cycle musically, but they also represent crucial points in the story; one can almost follow it from the beginning to the end, heavily abridged of course. All excerpts come directly from the complete recording made by Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker together with a really magnificent cast of singers between 1966 and 1970 for DG. This is the same remaster made for the Originals reissue and the sound is astonishing - clear, rich and sumptuous, with terrific dynamic range and power, but it is never reduced merely to the bombastic heroism which many people think is the only way to interpret Wagner's music; for my own part it's not even the most convincing way, let alone the only one. The ability of Karajan to achieve breathtaking beauty of sound does not at all prevent him from creating tremendously dramatic and at the same time movingly lyrical interpretation. He detested the famous description of his performance as "chamber music style" - and rightly so; it's a perfect nonsense, unless it means that the brass is powerful without being blaring and subtlety of Wagner's orchestration is superbly revealed.

Das Rheingold is presented with only one excerpt - [1] Aur Burg führt die Brücke - the very last nine minutes or so, or 'The entry of the gods into Valhalla' as it is more popular. Here you have the opportunity to enjoy two really great singing actors - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as the stately, majestic Wotan and Gerhard Stolze as the exceptionally cunning and shrewd Loge. The finale is certainly one of the most glorious pieces of orchestral music ever composed.

Die Walküre occupies the next four tracks. In [2] Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater Jon Vickers appears as Siegmund, the son of Wotan and a mortal woman, contemplating the origins and his fate; although I have never been fan of Jon Vickers because his specific timbre just doesn't grip me, his powerful tenor is irresistible here. The so called Walkürenritt [3], which Wagner himself never called with that name, is actually the famous 'Ride of the Valkyries' but not the three minute orchestral showpiece that most people know but six minutes with a lot of singing from the flying Valkyries, and even this is by no means the whole scene that serves as introduction to the Third and last act of the music drama. The last track from Die Walküre - [4] Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind! - is the final of the opera itself, much more popular as 'Wotan's Farewell'. This must surely be one the most stunning pieces of opera ever composed. Richard Wagner surpassed even himself in expressing with the most gorgeous music every embrace, every glance, and every nuance of the heartbreaking scene when Wotan puts his daughter Brünnhilde to eternal sleep amidst fire until a hero comes and awakes her. The American bass-baritone Thomas Stewart gives a supreme rendition. He is tender and caressing, but powerful and majestic at the same time. Last but definitely not least when we talk about Wagner's music dramas, his diction is exemplary. The last two lines - surely one of the most famous in the history of opera:

Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchtet
durchschreite das Feuer nie!

are something you are not likely to forget, especially with the following orchestral tour de force. You can listen to them together with the so called Magic fire music because they are separated in another track - [5] Feuerzauber.

Siegfried - the third part of The Ring - is represented by two tracks: [6] Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert and [7] Brünnhildes Erwachen, and so is the the last part - Götterdämmerung - [8] Brünnhilde, heilige Braut! [9] Trauermarsch. Here two Siegfrieds can be heard - Jess Thomas and Helge Brilioth - and both are so damn good that I am always left wanting more of their voices. As a special bonus from the gentle sex, here is Helga Dernesch in gorgeous voice as the just awakened Brünnhilde on track 7. Unlike many people, neither Thomas, nor Brillioth sound "undercast" to me; nor do I hear any problems with Helga Dernesch's high notes, for that matter.

In track 6 the incomparable Gerhard Stolze appears again, but this time in the role of the sinister Nibelung Mime trying to use Siegfried in his own schemes about obtaining the ring. This excerpt is also known as Schmidelied , or Forging Song, because it is connected with Siegfried's forging his sword which is called Notung. Here Wagner reached new heights in describing the very Hell with music. Awesome orchestration. Track 8 is actually Siegfried's death and is very moving with its quietness. The Funeral March that follows immediately is the only purely instrumental composition on the disc and one of the most majestic. It is a perfect finale of the CD, if not even of The Ring itself.

At the end of this very long and extremely tedious review which you are at perfect liberty to evaluate as 'uncommonly boring', a little piece of advice. Listen to the disc with the librettos in hand. Of course the CD has no liner notes whatsoever, let alone excerpts from the librettos, and that is quite natural considering the budget price. But all Wagner's original texts, together with his own and very important stage directions, can easily be found with translations on the net, online or not. They immensely increase the understanding of the music and make the whole experience altogether unforgettable.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karajan's Ring 30 July 2010
By Eric S. Kim - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Wagner's Ring Cycle is my all-time favorite opera. I always admire it not only because of the grandiose music and singing, but also its epic length and storytelling. There are plenty of Ring recordings that I have thoroughly enjoyed (Bohm, Janowski, Furtwangler) and recordings that I found to be just above-average (Boulez, Zagrosek, Haitink). The Karajan Ring is one that I don't entirely adore. One reason is because much of the tension in the music is lost. Act Three, Scene Two from Gotterdammerung is one example: when the music reaches its climax during a devastating turning point in the story, it's neither terrifying nor intense. Still, it's not a total loss. The beauty of the music is the primary concern for maestro Karajan, so much of the music will have a very ethereal touch ("Magic Fire Music," for instance).

If you're not sure about buying the 14-disc box set of Karajan's interpretation of The Ring Cycle, then this Highlights CD might help you out. It contains several sequences taken right out of the complete 14-hour recording, some of which are the most famous in the entire opera. If you thoroughly enjoyed, then it's time to own the box set (if it's not out of stock, anyway). Again, this particular recording has some truly beautiful moments, but some of the tension will be absent. If you're into charming and poetic interpretations, then you'll probably love this Ring rendition. If you want fire and brimstone, you'll have to look elsewhere (try Bohm or Solti).
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Recording! Must Have! 5 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Though some would argue that there are still greater recordings i.e. Solti conducting, Karl Bohm and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, but Karajan, noted conductor and greatly admired, delivers here an excellent recording. The highlights include the great scenes from the four operas in Wagner's Ring cycle. The incredible Ride of the Valkyries here, especially, is very good, and the cast includes talented singers, among them Edda Moser. Karajan, always trying to perfectionize his works, does not really sway from the intense drama of the opera. The Immolation scene, in which Siegfried has been slain by Hagen and Brunhilde is left with the ring, standing over his funeral pyre and eventually throwing herself in it, is exceptional. The cries of "Zuruck Vom Ring" by Wotan as the majestic music of the finale reaches climax is superb. Karajan has outdone himself again.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lush Wagner is exceptional sonics. 13 Aug 2013
By Glenn D. Lefever - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD offers selections of Wagners' The Ring in exciting performances. This CD offers an exceptional introduction to The Ring.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good short introduction to The Ring 16 Sep 2011
By shuttledude - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD serves well as a FIRST introduction to Wagner, which it is for me. Others who are more familiar with the operas may think that a single-CD collection could not be enough to form a good introduction. I give it four stars mainly because I'm not knowledgeable enough to give it five stars reliably.
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