If like me you're fascinated but put off by the scale of Wagner, this is the disc for you. Though one or two bridge passages sound a bit awkward, Maazel has managed to weave the main orchestral themes of all four mammoth operas into one seamless work. Devoid of any singing, the music is nevertheless authentic Wagner, painted on a vast canvas. You will hear some familiar and not-so-familiar themes sweeping past in majestic pageant, beginning with the creation (the longest chord in music), and ending in the apocalyptic destruction of Valhalla.
By the way, you don't need to know the story (but it helps).
This is an exciting, emotional journey. And there is still plenty of time to go down the pub afterwards.