Wagner (The) Ring, An Orchestral Adventure; Siegfried Idyll
Dutch composer Henk de Vlieger describes his symphonic synthesis of the complete Ring cycle as “An Orchestral Adventure”, following very much the formula that made José Serebrier’s recent disc of Stokowski’s symphonic syntheses so successful, notably of Tristan und Isolde (Naxos, A/07). This time de Vlieger goes one further in that he conceives the four sections of the Ring as the basis of a gigantic symphony.
So Das Rheingold he regards as the exposition, matched by Götterdämmerung, summing up similar material, including the Death of Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s Immolation scene. In between he regards Die Walküre as the scherzo, limiting his choice of items to the Ride of the Valkyries and the Magic Fire Music, while Siegfried becomes the slow movement, with Forest Murmurs and Siegfried’s horn calls (vividly recorded), culminating in Brünnhilde’s Awakening.
It is a bold concept, which in a performance as fine as this works remarkably well, making a symphonic structure of just over an hour. The disc is generously completed by Wagner’s own symphonic synthesis of Siegfried in the Siegfried Idyll, romantically written to celebrate the birthday of Wagner’s wife, Cosima. Here Järvi opts for a larger string section than the original, still with transparent textures. An excellent disc for those who hanker after a taste of the Ring cycle without the voices.