瓦格纳(Richard Wagner, 1813-83)是公认的浪漫音乐的集大成者。他的「指环」(“Ring” Cycle, 1848-76, first complete performance, 1876, Bayreuth)，不但是空前绝后的最巨幅的音乐作品(全长超过十五小时)，也是浪漫音乐的极品之一。对他而言，作为一个贝多芬的信徒，音乐绝不是一种「休闲」活动，而是一种提升人类性灵的「不朽之盛业」。而且，音乐不但不可以脱离文字而独立，并且要与文字紧密结合。故他从来不作所谓纯音乐，如交响曲、协奏曲等；除了一些小品外，他的作品全是「乐剧」（都是他自己作的词）。他生前写了很多文章，宣扬他自己的独家观点；不但在音乐、戏剧上，他自有一套，对天下所有事(政治、道德、哲学)他都有意见。但以后世的评价来看，他最大的成就与影响力，还是在音乐，特别是管弦乐。
Wagner: The Ring Without Words 2000 1080i Blu-ray MPEG-2 DTS-HD MA 5.1
Genre: Classical music
Composer: Richard Wagner
Conductor: Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
A unique synthesis of orchestral music from Wagner's Ring cycle. Arranged by Lorin Maazel, the work was designed to be free flowing (no breaks) and chronological, beginning with the first note of Rheingold and finishing with the last chord of Goetterdaemmerung. All the music is Wagner's, and even the transitional material is drawn from the original scores. To convey the breadth and scope of the entire work, Maazel also excerpted material from each opera in proportion to the whole cycle. The result is a 75-minute symphonic journey through Wagner's four great operas.
Consisting of four monumental operas, Wagner's The Ring of Nibelung was one of the most ambitious musical projects ever composed, and has been successful in every respect. With its huge orchestras, sprawling mythological plot, and intense musical drama, the Ring changed the world of music. Orchestrally, they are probably the most complex operas in history, and only the most intrepid of orchestras are up to the challenge.
One of the world's greatest ensembles, the Berlin Philharmonic, has built an unparalleled reputation in the music of Wagner and his contemporaries. This synthesis by conductor Lorin Maazel includes all the standard Ring orchestral excerpts such as Ride of the Valkyries and Siegfried's Rhine Journey, as well as most of the leitmotifs known to exist in the score. The result is a unique and innovative symphonic suite (played without interruption) performed by one of the world's most esteemed orchestras.
Berliner Philharmoniker, Lorin Maazel
Recorded live at Philharmonie Berlin, 2000
"Spectacular in its vividness . . . Wotan makes a passionately romantic farewell to his daughter, with the Berlin strings creating a movingly powerful climax. . . . Maazel's rather aggressive pressing on in Siegfried's Rhine Journey . . . gives great impact to Hagen's call and Siegfried's Funeral Music. . . . Audiophiles who like blazingly spectacular sound and plenty of adrenalin flowing in the music-making, should find this worth trying. Certainly the heavy brass sounds are very tangible." Gramophone
Production: US | Euroarts