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WAGNER: HIGHLIGHTS FROM “DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN.”...

WAGNER: HIGHLIGHTS FROM “DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN.” Montserrat Caballe, soprano; Peter Wimberger, baritone; New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. CBS Masterworks MDK-44657 (compact disc). For those who crave their orchestral Wagner in huge gulps, this reissue on the mid-priced Digital Masters reissue series may fill the bill. But Caballe’s Immolation Scene, with its kittenish attacks and elocutionary German, is no bargain, nor is Wimberger’s underpowered reading of a few snippets of Wotan’s Farewell. The remainder of the record features Mehta in the Entrance of the Gods, Magic Fire Music, Forest Murmurs, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Funeral Music, all of which testify to the conductor’s substitution of gruff explosiveness for genuine authority. The Philharmonic’s ragged string section is only too compliant.


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