It took Richard Wagner (1813-1883) 26 years to complete his magnum opus, the opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, which consists of four separate operas tied together by leitmotifs, recurring musical themes which link plot elements. In some of his essays, Wagner speaks about the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”) which was his ideal way of unifying all works of art via the theatre. It is a union of opera and drama, in which the individual arts are subordinated to a common purpose. Der Ring des Nibelungen, and specifically its components Das Rheingold and Die Walküre represent perhaps the closest that Wagner, or anyone else, ever came to realizing these ideals.
The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin together with conductor Marek Janowski, one of the great masters and exponents of the music of the German tradition, recorded the four operas Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2012 and 2013. All recordings were made during a unique series of live concertante performances, which allows for an orchestral clarity that is impossible to achieve when the orchestra is placed in a pit.
"This multichannel recording of The Ring is released as a unique collector boxset. It contains 13 SACDs and a book (300 x 300 mm) with more than 250 pages. The book includes liner notes, biographies and full librettos in English and German.“The real secret ingredient here is the conductor himself. What was a little too calm and remote in the earlier Dresden recording now has real cojones. This is both a great start to Janowski's new Ring cycle and a competitive Rheingold in its own right.” GRAMOPHONE on Das Rheingold
“This is a remarkably enjoyable performance, excellently performed and recorded. Most importantly, it seems to be perfectly attuned to Wagner’s world. The speeds are swift, in general, but there is never a feeling of rush, more of a feeling of impetuosity, enabling Wagner’s magnificent score to come to life.” FANFARE MAGAZINE on Die Walküre
“Again Janowski sets incredible standards with this release which is definitely in the top list in the history of recordings. Highly recommended to purchase!" DEROPERNFREUND.DE on Siegfried
"Like the other Wagner operas in this commendable series, there is much of value, particularly in the exciting orchestral playing under Marek Janowski's dynamic direction. This is a handsome release beautifully packaged with copious notes and complete libretto. For some, this Ring is worth owning simply because of the brilliant orchestral playing and Janowski's conducting." CLASSICAL CD REVIEW on Götterdämmerung
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen