Philippe Jordan / Paris National Opera

Wagner: The Ring - Symphonic Excerpts

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

This highlights album of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen presents some of the best-known selections on two discs, taken from performances by soprano Nina Stemme and the Paris National Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan. Stemme is one of the leading Wagnerian singers of her generation, and she has performed the role of Brünnhilde to critical acclaim in many productions. Her voice can be heard in Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene (disc 2, track 3), which gives only a hint of her powerful embodiment of the role. The remaining selections are orchestral excerpts in popular concert arrangements. Most notable of these are the Prelude to Das Rheingold; Ride of the Valkyries and the Magic Fire Music from Die Walküre; Forest Murmurs from Siegfried; and the orchestral tracks from Götterdämmerung, Siegfried's Rhine Journey and Siegfried's Funeral March. This is a representative sampling of the Ring cycle's most memorable music, and Jordan and his orchestra present the excerpts with directness and vivid sonorities. This twofer is recommended for listeners who are just beginning their explorations of Wagner's masterpiece.

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