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WAGNER: THE “RING” WITHOUT WORDS. Berlin Philharmonic...

WAGNER: THE “RING” WITHOUT WORDS. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel. Telarc CD-80154 (compact disc). Maazel does more than conduct the standard orchestral excerpts. He weaves bits of the “Ring” (from the opening “Rheingold” chord to the last notes of “Gotterdammerung”) into the kind of time-dishonored “symphonic synthesis” once beloved by Leopold Stokowski. The 70-minute sequence may in fact be, as Maazel claims, all by Wagner, but his binding together of the whole into an uninterrupted stream of notes should disconcert listeners more than it should intrigue them. Maazel favors an intense, ultimately wearing, theatricality over romantic expansiveness. In Telarc’s sonics, the Berliners acquire a keener edge than they customarily display on record.


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