Wagner: Orchestral music from The Ring
ARTIST: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta (conductor)
COMPOSER: Richard Wagner
LABEL: Naxos | 747313383979
FOR YOUR GRAMMY® CONSIDERATION:
Engineered Album, Classical
Producer of the Year, Classical
The essential meaning of Wagner’s magnum opus Der Ring des Nibelungen is wrapped up in the composer’s own lifetime pursuit of transcendent romance, with the redemption of eternal love one of the primary tenets of this and his other music dramas. Wagner’s gift for orchestral color and scenic characterization make his operas highly suited to the genre of the tone poem, and these seven tableaux evoke major scenarios in the saga, as well as providing a sense of the course and spirit of the greatest operatic drama ever composed.
JoAnn Falletta serves as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony, and is the principal guest conductor of the Brevard Music Center of North Carolina. She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. She served as principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2011 to 2014, with whom she made her debut at the BBC Proms in London and recorded works by Gustav Holst, E.J. Moeran and John Knowles Paine. Recipient of the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, winner of the Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter conducting awards, Falletta became the first female conductor to lead a major American ensemble upon her appointment as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999. She has received twelve ASCAP awards, served on the US National Council on the Arts and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As a champion of American music, she has presented over five hundred works by American composers including well over 100 world premieres. Her Naxos recordings include the double GRAMMY® Awardwinning disc of works by John Corigliano and GRAMMY® nominated discs of works by Tyberg, Dohnányi, Fuchs, Schubert, Respighi, Gershwin, Corigliano, Richard Strauss, Hailstork and Holst.
For more information, please visit: www.joannfalletta.com
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Founded in 1935, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), under music director JoAnn Falletta, is Buffalo’s leading cultural ambassador and presents more than 120 classics, pops and youth concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra’s permanent home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark, designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen. The BPO has toured the United States and Canada, including several Florida Friends Tours with JoAnn Falletta. In 2013, the BPO made its 24th appearance at Carnegie Hall as a participant in the Spring For Music festival. In 2018, it will become the first American orchestra to perform at the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, Poland. Over the decades, the BPO has matured in stature under leading conductors, including William Steinberg, Josef Krips, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas, Maximiano Valdés, Semyon Bychkov and Julius Rudel. During the tenure of JoAnn Falletta the BPO has rekindled its distinguished history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 40 new albums of diverse repertoire on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. The Philharmonic’s Naxos recording of composer John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (8.559331), featuring soprano Hila Plitmann, received GRAMMY® Awards in the Classical Vocal Performance and Classical Contemporary Composition categories.
For more information, please visit: https://bpo.org/
" ‘Magic Fire Music’ is one of the strongest points of the recording. The ‘Forest Murmurs’ that follow is also excellent, but perhaps there needs to be more sparkle to the sound. The best excerpt here—conducting and playing—may be what follows ‘Forest Murmurs’: ‘Siegfried’s Rhine Journey’. The Funeral Music that follows is also excellent—not “shot-gun” percussive livke many other recordings,but thoroughly musical. Stokowski and Ormandy are no longer with us, and I tried to imagine how current conductors of major American orchestras would handle these excerpts. I don’t know all of them, but I honestly can’t think any one of them would do all of this as well as JoAnn Falletta. Outside the USA there is always Germany (…Weigle on Oehms—Jan/Feb 2014—but remember that he does use some voices)." – Donald R Vroon, American Record Guide, July 2018
"Things begin with Das Rheingold and the “Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla.” It’s grand, glorious music, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Ms. Falletta uses it as a kind of overture. It gets our attention and heightens our expectations. And her Buffalo players are up to the task; they may not yet be in the sphere of a Berlin Philharmonic, but they are a first-rate ensemble. " – John J Puccio, Classical Candor, June 2018
"From Rheingold is ‘Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla’, which shimmers into life, harp well-captured, strings softly radiant, and there is a wonderfully eloquent oboe solo (from 3’32”); furthermore, the brass-playing impresses for its sensitivity and security at a low dynamic – and you are never in any doubt that Falletta has thought-through where this music is going, and when the conclusion is reached it is majestic." – Phillip Scott, Fanfare, July 2018
"An outstanding quality of Falletta’s conducting is that she seems always to select the right tempos, which contributes to the clarity of her phrasing and thus the satisfaction of the results for the listener. That is certainly the case here. Naxos’ engineering is of high quality, enhancing any solos. On this disc, flute solos and at least one horn solo, are especially striking." – Colin Anderson, Classicalsource.com, June 2018
"If you take a historical overview of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra you have to conclude that no BPO conductor has achieved anything close on record with the orchestra to the recording presence that Falletta has. Wagner’s “Ring” cycle requires, from listeners, an investment of time and dedication hard to come by in the digital age. To hear so much of its wonderful music, this one disc Falletta anthology of Wagner’s “Ring” sans voices presents a near-perfect distillation for novices of the genius of a composer who was a historical horror in countless ways (racial, personal) but, undeniably one of the most sublime who ever lived along with it." – Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News, April 2018
"Hot on the heels of a string of 2017 releases, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra have turned their attention to the orchestral music of Wagner’s revolutionary Ring Cycle. These scores are notoriously brazen—at their unruliest, they’ve been known to elude even the most unflappable conductors—but at no point on this record is there even a hint that Falletta has anything but pinpoint control. Consider the meticulous way she paces the opening of “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” so that its first climax has maximal dramatic effect, or the deliberate crescendos of her “Ride of Valkyries,” which give the rare impression that Brünnhilde’s celestial joyride is more graceful than gut-churning. This may be the most epic playing to come out of Buffalo since the Bills won the AFL Championship in 1965! " – Zev Kane, WQXR (New York), March 2018
"The essential meaning of Wagner’s magnum opus Der Ring des Nibelungen is wrapped up in the composer’s own lifetime pursuit of transcendent romance, with the redemption of eternal love one of the primary tenets of this and his other music dramas. Wagner’s gift for orchestral colour and scenic characterisation make his operas highly suited to the genre of the tone poem, and these seven tableaux evoke major scenarios in the saga, as well as providing a sense of the course and spirit of the greatest operatic drama ever written. " – John Brunning, Classic FM, March 2018