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The Symphonic Ring

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Sept. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Asoucence
  • ASIN: B003ZFVHUE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,851 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Description

Review

Described as 'an orchestral drama in two parts', this is a compilation and arrangement of Wagner's score by Friedmann Dreßler, with the Duisburger Philharmoniker ably conducted by Jonathan Darlington. This is the debut recording of a new version of the orchestral passages of the Ring, and if you are an admirer of the operas but do not wish to commit yourself to their entire length, this fiery and dramatic reading of the orchestral music should do the trick nicely. Such initiatives have been tackled before, but rarely as persuasively as here. --Classical CD Choice Barry Forshaw

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Much as I love the music of Wagner, I am not in general disposed to buy "bleeding chunks" of the Ring, still less symphonic syntheses of his works unless it is the only chance to hear a particular artist in the music of Wagner.
Thus I have over the years accumulated recordings of potted versions of Parsifal by Stokowski and Abbado, Tannhauser by Maazel and worst of all "The Ring without Words" perpetrated by Maazel and the BPO. I have found little enjoyment in any of them.
My curiosity was piqued by a glowing review of this disc in the culture section of a national Sunday Newspaper, wherein the critic advised that this confection was so effective that it was life changing. I can confirm this last in one respect-I won't be reading any of his reviews again.
The real curiosity was the orchestra- I was vaguely aware that Duisburg had one-let's face it, in Germany every local borough has one-but I could not imagine that it was up to the demands of Wagner. How wrong I was.
The presentation of this set is superb-it comes on 2 discs at the full price of one, and the excellent booklet features interesting and informative notes on the compiler of the selection, Freidmann Dressler, sometime cellist in this very orchestra, the Ring itself and the artists involved. It lists the orchestral personnel, which is a full size Wagner orchestra complete with 6 harps as the photograph of the concert confirms. This is a little extravagant as the Rainbow Bridge Music from Rheingold which is where they are required is not included in Dressler's confection, but I must not cavil.
Technically, this a tour de force both sonically and in musical accomplishment. The 24 Bit recording, both SACD and normal stereo is absolutely stunning-I venture to suggest that this is true "state-of the-art".
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Format: Audio CD
I was lucky enough to be at the first performance of this 'suite' at Duisburg, complete with six harps! The arranger is the orchestra's principal 'cellist, who also plays in the orchestra at Bayreuth, so knows the whole score from the inside. The 'suite' is seamless and effortless moves from one part of The Ring to another. The only disappointment is that it is not longer! There is about 25 minutes from each part of the cycle.
The conductor of the Duisburg orchestra at the time, Jonathan Darlington, has the measure of all this music - his reading has passion, and the excellent orchestra(one of the best in Germany, though little know outside)gives of their very best. Recording is of the same high standard - everything totally superb!!
Don't hesitate - BUY!!!
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There are two or three other sets out there that have set Wagner's Ring to a downsized Symphonic Suite, but this is the best. It is longer than the others on the market and includes moments that inexplicably are missing from other sets. Maazel completely disregards Wintersturme & The Magic Fire Music from Die Walkure on his version, but here they are in all their glory. Worth every penny.
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I can only second the enthusiasm of previous reviewers and thank Mr Crowe in particular for directing me towards a most unexpected gem of a superb recording. It was derived from live performances of Friedmann Dressler's orchestral synthesis of the best passages of the "Ring", with the vocal line replaced by instruments - as where, for example, a band of violas replace the tenor voice in "Winterstürme".

The rather gimmicky "label philosophy" brand name of "Acousence" makes no idle boasts about its 24 bit quality: the sound is stunning and as close to a concert experience as you'll get at home. Just crank it up, grab a drink and sit back. The trouble is, as Mr Crowe wittily observes, you'll soon find yourself contributing to a ghastly Wagnerian karaoke fest as you are irresistibly drawn in to contributing the missing vocal obbligato at key points - my "Leb wohl, du kühnes herrliches Kind" is coming along nicely but "Starke Scheite" needs some work.

The quality of playing is quite beyond what you would imagine unless you were familiar witht he general standards in German regional orchestras these days. With conservatories turning out more top-class musicians than than there are bands to employ them they are getting better and better and this one is wholly up to the demands of Wagner's score.

The selection of about 25 minutes per opera on two discs is not always quite what you might have expected but I found myself swept along by a skilful montage whereby one event segues smoothly into another. I haven't by any means always got the time to listen to over 14 hours of the "Ring" and this potted version fills a gap nicely when I want a brief evening's entertainment revisiting the juiciest of bleeding chunks. As one glorious section succeeds another, one appreciates afresh the sheer melodic genius and dramatic aptness of Wagner's music.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9bf93ce4) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c28315c) out of 5 stars A stunning symphonic potted "Ring" 2 May 2012
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I can only second the enthusiasm of previous reviewers and thank Mr Crowe in particular for directing me towards a most unexpected gem of a superb recording. It was derived from live performances of Friedmann Dressler's orchestral synthesis of the best passages of the "Ring", with the vocal line replaced by instruments - as where, for example, a band of violas replace the tenor voice in "Winterstürme".

The rather gimmicky "label philosophy" brand name of "Acousence" makes no idle boasts about its 24 bit quality: the sound is stunning and as close to a concert experience as you'll get at home. Just crank it up, grab a drink and sit back. The trouble is, as Mr Crowe wittily observes, you'll soon find yourself contributing to a ghastly Wagnerian karaoke fest as you are irresistibly drawn in to contributing the missing vocal obbligato at key points - my "Leb wohl, du kühnes herrliches Kind" is coming along nicely but "Starke Scheite" needs some work.

The quality of playing is quite beyond what you would imagine unless you were familiar with the general standards in German regional orchestras these days. With conservatories turning out more top-class musicians than there are bands to employ them they are getting better and better and this one is wholly up to the demands of Wagner's score.

The selection of about 25 minutes per opera on two discs is not always quite what you might have expected but I found myself swept along by a skilful montage whereby one event segues smoothly into another. I haven't by any means always got the time to listen to over 14 hours of the "Ring" and this potted version fills a gap nicely when I want a brief evening's entertainment revisiting the juiciest of bleeding chunks. As one glorious section succeeds another, one appreciates afresh the sheer melodic genius and dramatic aptness of Wagner's music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0584624) out of 5 stars The undiluted magic of Wagner 28 April 2012
By S. Vernon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 2 CD set is for anyone who would like to hear The Ring by Wagner but doesn't want to spend a whole week. Purely orchestral and with not a single dull note, this is an ideal way to familiarise yourself with Wagner's set of four operas. It is beautifully performed, beautifully recorded, delight upon delight and it would also make an ideal springboard into the whole operas - besides which, it can stand on its own just as it is - Wagner/Dressler: the Symphonic Ring even Ring afficionados are going to love this.
HASH(0x9c292d2c) out of 5 stars A satisfying twin-disc Ring distillation for orchestra that is sadly rare 23 Jun. 2016
By Yi-Peng - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Most of the CDs of orchestra-only Ring distillations I've encountered so far have been single discs. However, some twin-disc, 90-minute Ring distillations have come my way. This Dressler distillation presented by Darlington and the Duisbergers is an extremely good distillation. I tend to like it better than the other twin-disc distillation, the Andreas Tarkmann distillation, which I discovered this past May. There is more flow between the disparate sections in this version, and Darlington's players are with him every step of the way. Although hard copies of this recording on standard CD are hard to find, this issue is worth every penny and fully deserving of the glowing reviews I've read.

The Duisberg Philharmonic Orchestra has top-class players who are with Darlington every step of the way. They go full-throttle for the dramatic sections but hold back for less intense moments. However, even in the slower sections, Darlington keeps the music moving along so it does not plod, stall or drag.

It would be good if I could say a few words about the quality of this distillation. Friedmann Dressler, a cellist in the Duisberg Philharmonic, is more generous than Maazel or de Vlieger in their distillations. His edits sometimes call to mind Maazel's Telarc distillation. For instance, he adopts Maazel's edit of combining Donner's storm with the storm that starts Die Walkure. Also, like Maazel, he bridges the Rhine Journey to the Funeral March by including Hagen's call to his clan and the Act Three prelude before Hagen performs the fatal deed of stabbing Siegfried with his spear point. However, he has more time for more music to bring the storyline out more clearly. He includes most of Wotan's farewell scene including the music for the magic fire, and he also includes Alberich's malediction in the first scene of Rheingold. Also, he finds room for Siegmund's Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond, which the earlier distillations couldn't include for reasons of time.

At times I wish that Dressler had been a bit more generous and included more music in his distillation so it could run for more than 90 minutes. It's sad to know that this distillation does not include the gods' entry into Valhalla at the end of Das Rheingold or even the first Siegfried-Brunnhilde love scene. Also, it would have been good if Wotan's Farewell had been presented complete. These inclusions could have replaced some of the weaker moments, notably the Prelude to Act Three of Siegfried. These inclusions would have made this distillation more user-friendly because the listener could have optional breaks after each opera. Tarkmann's distillation is more user-friendly, but it is a bit uneven and a little perfunctory. Despite the omissions, I find that I'm fonder of this Dressler distillation because the different parts flow more smoothly into each other.

This distillation is worth the money, but it's sad that hard copies of this release are hard to find, even on the Acousence site. Also, copies on the secondary market tend to go for exorbitant prices. However, I've seen that there is another recording of this Dressler distillation available on some off-site vendors. I won't reveal much except that Don Ettinger is the conductor. So it would be good to look for this other recording when this Darlington version is hard to find.

This is still a satisfying twin-disc Ring without words. It presents the important parts of the operas and also makes the story clearer. Most buyers might have difficulty finding a copy of this particular recording. For those who are keen to purchase a single-disc Ring without words, I would steer such buyers to de Vlieger's distillation, in the Chandos version of Jarvi. As I've said elsewhere, de Vlieger is clearer and more up-front in telling the story than Maazel, and has smoother, less abrupt dissolves and cuts.

Even so, I find that I like this Dressler distillation a little better than Tarkmann's as far as longer distillations are concerned.
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