Episode #107

Vienna Philharmonic Performs the Ring Without Words

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Lorin Maazel leads the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall Lorin Maazel leads the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall (Melanie Burford/NPR)

Lorin Maazel assembled The Ring Without Words, his 70-minute distillation of Wagner's four-opera, 17-hour cycle at the request of Telarc Records in 1987. The piece features no voices, only Wagner's rich orchestral tapestry. It has taken on a life of its own, and the conductor brings it to New York as part of the Vienna Philharmonic's three-night stand at Carnegie Hall.

The program also features a pinnacle of Viennese classicism, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

Below the archive of our live chat. Listeners were invited to participate here or on Twitter by using the hashtag #CHLive.

Program Details

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Lorin Maazel, Conductor

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART - Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
RICHARD WAGNER / LORIN MAAZEL - The Ring Without Words, for Orchestra

Comments [16]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

MAESTRO LORIN MAAZEL was a genius without heart. This RING WITHOUT WORDS does not do justice to the epic canvas expressed in its orginal form. LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI as I mentioned earlier better represented the RING with a better orchestra and with participation of LAWRENCE TIBBETT and FREDERICK JAGEL. TOSCANINI conducted/recorded a beautiful orchestra only Liebestod to accompany his "78" recording album of the IMMOLATION with TRAUBEL, but with a FLAGSTAD or NILSSON or TRAUBEL its essence [the Liebestod's] conveys the fullest expression of Wagner's intentions. I teach the entire WAGNER and SHAKESPEARE oeuvres and cutting the loins does NOT make for easier comprehension or digestion.

Jul. 18 2014 04:58 PM
ROBERT N PODA from New York

It is very nice that the station is commemorating Lorin this week due to his passing. However, do not forget that today is Kurt Mazur's 86th birthday. Kurt was, of course Loren's predecessor as music director of the New York Philharmonic and should also be remembered today.

Jul. 18 2014 11:37 AM

Please fix the link at the top of the page that has "Mazzel" twice! DD~~

Jul. 18 2014 02:15 AM

I must be going deaf because I didn't hear the Rheingold, Ring or curse themes in this hodgepodge. Without those three items, there is no Ring - especially the curse. What a crock !!

Mar. 09 2012 10:23 PM

Just a reminder of our Comment Guidelines, the first of which is:

"Be civil: Please respond insightfully and respectfully. There is room for disagreement, but please disagree with people's ideas. Personal attacks will not be tolerated."

You can read all of the guidelines here: http://www.wqxr.org/about/comment_guidelines/

Mar. 06 2012 04:47 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha,l NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Reference has been made here to two Leopold Stokowski Ring recordings which made use of lush
Philadelphia Orchestra performances of transcription orchestrations by Stokowski of music from the Ring including
singing by Lawrence Tibbett as Wotan and Frederick Jagel as Siegfried. Stokie did even better with his Tristan and Parsifal orchestra only symphonic syntheses. Dokie had auditioned me for the heldentenor role on a program to mark his return to the Philadelphia Orchestra, at his residence on 5th Avenue opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His proposed program involved a large cast, a large chorus AND the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Board of the Orchestra decided it would be too expensive. So he decided to remain with the Houston Symphony. Stokie was an icon, a super charismatic and often cointroversial conductor. But, he was GREAT! Kenneth Bennett Lane, director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ
.My website; www.WagnerOpera.com contains 37 complete selections recorded LIVE from my four Carnegie Hall Isaac Stern Auditorium 3 hour long solo concerts, downloadable, free, from the "Recorded Selections" venue.

Mar. 06 2012 12:10 PM
Sl from Toronto Canada

I sent my comment last night Re:Grill from Eatontown.
I am vey disaapointed that you didn't post my comment as your not (Post Comments.
Please post my commen and reply.
Thank you

Mar. 06 2012 11:56 AM
Steve from Chicago

Great concert! My only quibble, how could Maazel omit the finale of Act 3 of Die Valkure and Forest Murmurs? No Ring is complete w/out these. Otherwise very nice.

Mar. 04 2012 10:19 PM
Peter Feldman from New York City

Is the Vienna Philharmonic such a "great" orchestra? What are all those brass instruments playing out of tune? The Metropolitan Opera orchestra is better even conducted by fabio Luisi and the New York Philharmonic is also better orchestra.

Mar. 04 2012 11:19 AM
Ralph from Montclair, NJ

Is that a woman I see in the cello section in that photo? Amazing!

Mar. 04 2012 09:12 AM
Steve Sertell

Just brilliant. Bravo.

Mar. 03 2012 10:49 PM
Griff from Eatontown

Not a very good rendition of "The Ring" without words. Sounds like the entire thing was slapped together. Very disjointed musically. I could definitely do a much better rendition and conduct it from pure recall without a score. Leopold Stokowski would have done a great rendition of this as he did with "Tristan" many years ago.

As I write, I listen and it gets worse as it goes along, Maazel should scrap the whole thing and restudy the "Ring" scores and redo the entire project. If he needs help, I'll assist him.

Well, I trudge through this and await the "The Redepemtion through Love" at the end of "Gotterdammerung" - Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mar. 03 2012 09:28 PM
David Irwin from Saint Petersburg, FL

Nice sound quality, but my stream backtracks repeatedly. I have always
Found Maazel mannered and arrogant, but
I bow to musicians who like playing for him.

Mar. 03 2012 08:43 PM

What's old is new again. Did anyone have the Stokowski Ring highlights with some vocals including a fantastic Wotan's Abschied sung by LAWRENCE TIBBETT?? !!! It was recorded between 1933-34 with one exerpt from 1927 with Agnes Davies & Frederick Jagel. Now that's great music. But Wagner without words has been around for years. It serves a purpose ONLY if it draws the listener to the real thing. (and not necessarily the Met's current Ring).

Mar. 03 2012 08:07 PM
Bernie from UWS

So how many women will be performing at this night's concert? Two? Maybe three if we're lucky? I have to say that it's disheartening how a nonprofit institution like Carnegie Hall turn a blind eye to the VPO's discriminatory practices year after year and not a single dissenting voice is heard.

For an analogy, could you imagine if they gave David Duke or the KKK a platform for three nights every winter? There would be a huge outcry. Somehow gender discrimination doesn't count.

Mar. 03 2012 04:42 PM
carla from nyc

Will this concert be rebroadcast? Thank you.

Mar. 03 2012 12:03 PM

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