WAGNER, R. (THE BEST OF) (Johannes Wildner/ Michael Halasz/ Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/ Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Uwe Mund) (Naxos: 8.556657)
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Where do you start with your selection for 'the best' from that Wagnerian treasure-chest? Well we have taken the easy way out and started with the overtures to four of his most famous operas, opening with Mastersingers of Nuremberg, one of the most frequently performed concert-hall overtures.
We have the heartbreak of the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde in its orchestral arrangement. Isolde laments the death of Tristan, the only thing in life left for her, in one of opera's most tear-jerking moments. And if that is not enough, get out the handkerchiefs for Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music. The body of the great hero is born back to the castle to meet the grieving Br_nnhilde. The timpani roar out their defiance as the March grows to a climax, one of the shattering moments in music.
Add to that the ever popular Ride of the Valkyries and the grand Entry of the Gods into Valhalla (from Das Rheingold), and you have 68 minutes of Wagner's finest orchestral moments.
The extracts come from previous releases on Naxos, with such top names as the conductor from the Vienna State Opera, Michael Halasz, and the fine young opera conductor, Johannes Wildner.