ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
RICHARD WAGNER - ORCHESTRAL FAVOURITES


RICHARD WAGNER - ORCHESTRAL FAVOURITES - SIR GEORG SOLTI (Conductor) - VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - DECCA DOUBLE DECKER 440606

Over a period of many years, Sir Georg Solti released some of the best, and best-selling recordings of all the Wagner operas, including a top-notch complete "Ring" cycle. Now, if you are interested in Wagner, but doubt very much that you could sit through hours upon hours of epic sagas sung to the hilt, then this pretty comprehensive set of the orchestral highlights from those operas might be more to your liking.

The pieces collected on this 2 disc set are mostly the Orchestral Overtures to these epic stories. Before Wagner, these musical preludes to operas were played mostly to alert the audience that the opera was about to start, and added no significant musical subject matter to the work itself. But Wagner was one of the pioneers of Overtures that actually set the mood and created great anticipation of things to come, by presenting within this opening prelude, elements and themes found within the complete opera itself, therefore creating interest and excitement before anything had really happened. Since then, many Overtures have become concert pieces that stand well on their own precisely because of all the substantial material within them.

This collection features, for example, the rousing Tannhäuser Overture, the Siefried Idyll, the Overture to the Flying Dutchman, the Prelude from Tristan und Isolde, etc...to name but a few, all played with true Wagnerian drama and fire. Plenty of good Wagner to start off with.

Jean-Yves Duperron