2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Does What It Says in Bold, Though Not So Much with the Small Print., 10 July 2013
This is a relatively minor complaint, but it bugged me quite a bit so I thought I'd mention it. Whoever at Telarc was responsible for taking this recording and putting it out as a product just doesn't know the Ring Cycle. The tracklist is simply guesswork from Maazel's synopsis. The second excerpt may be based on the Valhalla motif, but in fact it is the transition to scene 2 of the drama, and not, as advertised, the climactic 'Entrance of the Gods'. Likewise, while we hear both Wotan's Farewell and the Magic Fire Music, they are not to be found on the same track: the latter is found on the following track, advertised as 'Mime's Fright'. Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we do indeed hear Siegfried's Forest Wanderings - I say surprised, because the passage in question is advertised as an excerpt from Act 1, when the Forest Wanderings occur in Act 2! My advice is that you ignore the tracklist and follow Maazel's own delightfully eloquent synopsis.
Other than that, I suppose I have the usual gripes about exclusion. My main issue is with the Siegfried excerpts. Firstly, there is proportionally much less of Siegfried than there is of the rest of the Cycle, and, most unhappily in my view, nothing from Act 3, where that drama's best music is concentrated (this is more than just 'my opinion' - Wagner began Act 3 with all the experience he had gained from writing Tristan and Die Meistersinger, after all). It would not have been difficult to extend the recording by ten more minutes, or drop the comparatively dull dragon stuff, to include the Act 3 prelude and, most important of all, some of the wonderful climactic love scene. I believe that the music Siegfried and Brunnhilde share there is among the most ecstatic not just in the Ring, but the whole world.
That said, however, we do get a good deal of great music. Worth purchasing either if you're new to Wagner, and would like an easy way into the Ring Cycle, or an old hand who fancies the idea of a bite-sized 'Ring Symphony' which can be listened through at one's convenience.The recording does a pretty good job of what it says on the tin. But of course, there's nothing like the full fifteen hours of music drama - after all, if you haven't already heard the Rhinemaiden motif sung by Woglinde and the 'redemption through love' motif sung by Sieglinde, the finale loses half of its power straight away.