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Cat. No. CHAN 3038(4) Price: £27 No. of discs: 4
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CHAN 3038 - Wagner: The Valkyrie
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Wagner conceived the idea of a musical drama on the subject of the Nibelung myth in 1848, at around the time he completed the last of his traditional operas, Lohengrin. The Nibelung’s Ring can be enjoyed on many levels: as a fairy story, political allegory or philosophical tract, for instance. In essence it deals with the timeless struggle between good and evil, and the contrast between the love of power and the power of love.

Wagner worked on the words and the music for several years, starting with a résumé of the story in prose, before embarking on the text. By December 1857 he had abandoned the Ring and didn’t resume composition until 1869, by which time he had written both Tristan and Die Meistersinger. During this period his compositional style was changing, something he worked through with Tristan

Wagner composed the music of The Valkyrie between November 1854 and March 1856 and it is probably the most popular of the Ring Operas. Wagner was determined that the Ring should be performed in its own theatre under festival conditions. It received its first performance – against the composer’s will – at the court theatre under the patronage of the Bavarian King Ludwig II.

In 1871 Wagner settled on the provincial town of Bayreuth to build a new theatre in which his complete Ring could be performed as he wished. In 1874 he completed Twilight of the Gods, and The Nibelung’s Ring was given for the first time in August 1876. By 1889 productions had been seen all over the operatic world.

‘The Ring Cycle that Reginald Goodall conducted from 1969 onwards … remains one of the company’s greatest achievements.’
(The Guardian on CHAN 3038(4) (The Valkyrie)

‘This Ring has always been recognised by those who knew it as a monumental achievement, and its reissue on Chandos’s ‘Opera in English’ series is an opportunity for another generation of music-lovers to encounter it. This is Wagner conducting of true significance, the kind that the phonograph record was meant to preserve for posterity.’

‘…one is transfixed by the quality of the singing… and above all by the orchestral playing and by the grandeur and insight of Sir Reginald’s conducting.’
The Sunday Telegraph on CHAN 3045(4) (Siegfried)

‘This very fine Wagner recording returns to the catalogue – a highly persuasive account in its considered approach. The singing, in an effective English translation is excellent.’
Gramophone on CHAN 3038(4) (The Valkyrie)

This is the only available Die Walküre in English, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cheap substitute: it has more sense of real characters and poignant emotions than most of its rivals, and an electric theatricality that few studio recordings can match’.
Classic FM Magazine


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