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Orchestral Works


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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Der Fliegende Hollander, Oveture
  2. Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Suite
  3. Die Wlakure, Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
  4. Rienzi, Overture
  5. Gotterdammerung, Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey
  6. Siegfried Idyll
  7. Tristan und Isolde, Prelude to Act III

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9421e3c0) out of 5 stars 1 review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x945c3be8) out of 5 stars We should be glad we have this one 17 Feb. 1999
By Mark McCue - Published on Amazon.com
Paul Paray (1886-1979) was famous for his Wagner as much as anything else he conducted. He was never at Bayreuth, but listening to this disc you wonder why. Since he was a Resistance higher-up during the war, Bayreuth may have proved a bit repressive for him. We may never know.
What we do know is that his approach to Wagner was very much that of an operatic practioner. His Ring at the Paris Opera was a big attraction during the 1920s. Here we get an idea of what it must have been like: dramatic, sweeping, fresh, vital, above all, human. Paray obviously knew how build dramatic scenes: he gets a move-on and doesn't let the gods dabble around brandishing spears. There's work to do and places to go, and the result is remarkably individual without in any way disfiguring the scores for "effect" or "uniqueness." Paray gives you what he sees and hears and it's exciting, unlike any other Wagner you've experienced.
This would get five stars if the Detroit Symphony had been hitting on all 8 cylinders, but we get some string slop and brass bleeps, unusual for the orchestra at this time. Some problems have been edited: if you own this in its first vinyl release from '58 or so like I do, the Parsifal contains a horrendous goof from trumpets not in evidence here...and some other botched moments are snipped out, too.
The Siegfried Idyll won't appeal to Teutonic tastes that want to wallow in chocolatey sentiment. Paray is the only conductor to treat it as the greeting card it was intended to be, an occasional piece written for Cosima at the birth of their son, not an artistic manifesto for the ages to ponder.
Let's hope Mercury finds it worth issuing some of Paray's monaural Wagner which would add immeasurably to his legacy and supplement this excellent collection. If you're interested in a great Wagner tradition, you MUST get this.
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