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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best 2cd collection of wagner's orchestral masterpieces, 15 April 2010
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i fell in love with wagner's music after hearing the sublime tannhauser overture, surely one of the most beautiful sounds ever created by man. but am not a huge fan of opera, so what to do? There are dozens of orchestral compilations of his orchestral pieces, most of them recommended, but on single cds. Wagner's music cannot be contained on a single cd, therefore the only alternative is a double disc compilation.
There are a handful of recommended recordings out there, but for my money, this is possibly the best 2cd compilation of his orchestral pieces. Most others run for a little over 2 hours, where this is full to the brim at 158 minutes, all in glorious remastered sound. Klemperer was also a wagnerite and his interpretations here can compete with anything out there. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two and a half hours of great Wagner, 17 Mar 2012
By 
Fotaki (Maidenhead, UK) - See all my reviews
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Like most who love Wagner's music I find complete performances of his Opera's difficult to sit through, so I tend to turn to orchestral compilations. Apart from a couple of boxed sets, I have a few orchestral 'highlight' CD's and this is one of them. It probably gets played most but the music itself is so rich and sonorous that it just has to be heard through the baton of other exponents. The two other CD's I have - Maazel/BPO. and Abbado/BPO - giving me a nice 'balanced' selection.

It's important to remember these are (for the most part) 1960 recordings and the sound identifies itself to that period. There is a slight 'dryness' of tone but is otherwise perfectly acceptable and reproduces well on high-end audio equipment. Klemperer's Wagner can be both satisfying and frustrating. He is well known for his often slow tempo interpretations and this does show on some pieces. In my opinion his Meistersinger prelude is a bit heavy going and his Ride of the Valkyries cuts off too abruptly for some reason - leaving one a sense of incompleteness. On the other hand, he gives us a beautiful and intimate rendition of the Siegfried Idyll - scored for small orchestra, a tear-jerking Prelude and Liebestod and a definitive Flying Dutchman Overture. He extracts some exquisite sounds from the Philharmonia Orchestra resulting in a thoroughly recommended great value-for-money double CD.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Can This Music Be So Beautiful?, 14 April 2013
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Amazingly gorgeous and beautiful orchestral music on this set, 'Siegfried's Funeral March' from Gotterdammerung and 'Prelude & Liebestod' from Tristan Und Isolde reduce me to a crying blubbering wreck of a man, such is the intensity of the emotion conveyed in this music.
Here's a question, if Richard Wagner was supposed to be such a horrible man, how was he able to create such overwhelming beauty and depth in his music? how is this possible from someone who I have been told was an ugly human being filled with hatred towards others, I find it hard to believe that such incredibly lovely music could come out of a person such as that.
Maybe he was a lovely man and people were so jealous of his gift for writing emotionally beautiful music that they made up a load of lies about him, could be.
Anyway buy this set because you'll be hard pressed to find music as wonderful as this all together in one little box.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recordings of the century - agreed, 17 Jun 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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These recordings from 1960-1963 have been mainstays of the catalogue since they were first issued. This initially surprised many listeners who had no reason to associate Klemperer with Wagner performances. However, the recordings soon found plenty of support from reviewers and now finally they have been re-mastered once more to join the series of Great Recordings of the Century.

The performances certainly belong to that category as their prolonged life suggests but what about the recording quality?

The originals were inclined to be a bit thin on the high strings and had a 'wooden' texture to some of the full orchestral passages. The last remastering I owned before this one was made as recently as 1990 and was a considerable improvement and the greatness of the performances were less hindered than on previous issues.

The good news is that this latest remastering from 2002 is the best yet by some appreciable distance. There is now a glow over the strings, the brass are burnished and all trace of 'woodenness' has been eliminated so it is hard to imagine now the sound could be further improved.

The fat box, previously used for 3-disc sets, seems over-large but it does include good notes unlike other reissues on some other labels.

I would suggest that for those who are considering an upgrade to this latest version this should be worth the cost although quality of playback equipment will also play its part. For those who have yet to experience these famous recordings, this is now the best version to get and would be better than buying a cheaper second hand version of a previous issue.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Keep up the good work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fullrange of Wagner orchestral music, 13 July 2013
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I am not a music expert, much less an authority on Wagner. I am not even a great enthusiast.;but I did enjoy this There are 3 points worth making.(1) There is a good range of Wagner's music. Rienzi overture; Tannhauser overture and prelude; Lohengrin prelude; Meistersinger prelude and dance of the apprentices;Parsifal prelude; Flying Dutchman overture;Rheingold- entry of the Gods;Ride of the Valkyries; Siegfried Idyll; Gotterdammerung -Siegfried's funeral; and Prelude from Tristan and Isolde. (2) The works were performed many years ago -but have been well reproduced (3) Many Wagner enthusiasts regard this as a particularly outstanding performance by Klemperer and the Philharmonia
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't beat a bit of Wagner, 19 Dec 2013
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Bought this CD for my dad for Christmas. Any classical music is appreciated by him and Wagner is an additional bonus. Grat price for double CD. Excellent all round!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful., 22 Nov 2013
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D. Bruce (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Orchestral Music (MP3 Download)
For those who like the music but don't want to sit through the whole opera's. Or as an introduction if you want to dip your toe in the waters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Wagner, 2 Oct 2013
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I have NO interest in Opera but I love Orchestral Music.
I finely decided to try Wagner I am soooooo glad I did.
Wagner wrote beutiful music and this album is superb.
Highly recommended. I can listen to this album all day and every day
WONDERFUL
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 28 Sep 2013
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Brian Hamilton "brianhamilton14" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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Other reviewers have hit the nail on the head, this a very high quality recording of Otto Klempers Wagner sessions.

As good as these tunes are, and they feel like a greatest hits album, they demand they be played through the very best of equipment to shine at their very best.

The quality of recording is so good I could hear (down low in the mix) the creaking of the musicians chairs and the rustle of paper as the musical scres were turned over. To my mind this only adds to the atmosphere of the pieces.

This album functions as both a showcase for Wagners exemplary talent and of the art and seductive power of the audio recording process. Given that these recordings were made in the 60s is testament to the quality of analogue equipment and the skill of the sound engineers involved.

Essential.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner's Smash Hits, 8 Sep 2013
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Full of stirring melodies and lush orchestration. A good record to put on when the house is empty so you can turn up the volume and immerse yourself in the slightly crackers world of Richard Wagner.
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Wagner: Orchestral Music
Wagner: Orchestral Music by Otto Klemperer
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