- Audio CD (May 15, 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Naxos
- Run Time: 46 minutes
- ASIN: B00005AYEN
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Wagner: Marches & Overtures
Top Customer Reviews
to suggest that they are not Wagnerian, however, is to overlook an important aspect of his work. some of his most famous operatic pieces - such as the wedding march from 'Lohengrin' - are specifically social expressions, while 'Die Meistersinger' is the ultimate 'public' opera. The most recognisably Wagnerian piece here, perhaps surprisingly, is the 'American Centennial March', which is full of pastiche-Lohengrinisms, perhaps a nostalgic indulgence just after completing the worlds-apart 'Ring' cycle and beginning 'Parsifal'. The 'Polonia Overture' is a conventional enough piece of romantic nationalism, made delightful by Wagner's lack of personal input, and his dark orchestral colouring. 'Rule Britannia' is one for those who like to stand on stools in front of a big mirror for a spot of air-conducting (ahem...), weaving familiar melodies of imperial pomp into a briskly, stately overture. the most likable piece, however, is the closing 'Imperial March', which has a rich, repeated main theme more familiar from Elgar, and a melancholy that belies the ceremonial intent.
any CD that presents rare, non-operatic Wagner is more than welcome: Varujan Kojian and his Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra translate zest and pleasure to the listener.
The good news is that two of these pieces, the _Polonia_ and _Rule Britannia_ overtures, are not available in any other recording that I'm aware of, so this disk offers a significant expansion of the accessible Wagner repertoire. The bad news is that what we have here is some mostly ordinary work by conductor and orchestra, and some mostly wretched work by the composer.
I don't think any performance could save Wagner's _Rule Britannia_ overture, a very youthful work written, if memory serves, to flatter a British music-publishing house into offering him a commission. No commission came, but one can hardly blame the British for not requesting more of the same. The piece opens with fanfares, scales and so on in an attempt to work up some tension before introducing the Grand Old Tune. The Grand Old Tune once stated, Wagner plays it again louder, as one does, then flails about with uninspired exposition of bits of the theme. The Big Tune eventually emerges again on brass, with a lot of accompanying exercise for drum-thumpers, cymbal-crashers, and so on, before finally winding up. It sounds like what some people must think Elgar sounds like, if they know Elgar only by reputation. Its minutes feel like hours.Read more ›
stretching minimum to the max, for over 12 minutes. The constant repetition likening to a dentist performing root canal.
Much of these works were done hastily as Wagner was constantly
being pursued by debtors. Still all in all the curiosity value is there! Maybe a more spacious recording would have made me judge better.
The pieces are performed and recorded well enough, so I will give this three stars for curiosity's sake.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Okay, shameful confession time. I actually kind of like the Kaisermarsch. Sure, the material isn't (for the most part) very inspired, but the orchestration has a kind of... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Parsifal
This budget-priced collection devoted to Wagner's lesser known orchestral works is a real treat for Wagnerites who want to explore the more obscure works of the German opera... Read morePublished on February 20, 2010 by pyramidcvv
I am aware that a recording like this probably needed to be made; these works are not generally available elsewhere, as far as I know (though the Kaisermarch was recorded by Caspar... Read morePublished on January 26, 2010 by G.D.