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Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Siegfried Act III (abridged)
Lise Lindstrom, Brünnhilde (soprano); Stefan Vinke, Siegfried (tenor)
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Pietari Inkinen
rec. 2018, Congresshalle, Saarbrücken, Germany
SWR MUSIC SWR19078CD [59:12]

I once read somewhere that the ideal Ring is in the mind. Indeed, there is so much to the work, that it’s impossible to find a recording that absolutely meets your needs as a listener. For this reason, there is some benefit in recording small portions of the cycle - trying to perfect a little piece of Wagner’s monumental tetralogy; ‘zooming in’, if you like. But as we are speaking in Wagnerian terms, of course that little piece lasts an hour.

After a dramatic prelude in which the brass decidedly sound Wotan’s theme, Stefan Vinke begins his dialogue in glorious voice. The Deutsche Radio Philharmonie run through the music of the first scene very well, tenderly performing parts of the Walküre score that Wagner thought it important to remind his audience of, conjuring the emotions of the preceding Ring drama. When performing Wagner, it is essential you have a conductor who understands Wagner’s intricate network of leitmotivs. Pietari Inkinen seems to be such a conductor, ensuring that the relevant motifs are distinctly heard.

Although it sounds strange when the music jumps, rather abruptly, from the first to the third scene of Siegfried Act III, Vinke’s soaring tenor settles the atmosphere. Having seen him live in the role of Tristan, I found that this recording certainly confirmed my already positive opinion of his dramatic capability. Upon Brünnhilde’s awakening, the orchestra finishes a hair-raising crescendo and descends into the familiar minor woodwind chord that heralds her new life - and Lise Lindstrom is absolutely suitable for this scene, embracing the energy that Brünnhilde receives from Siegfried. They sing well together, Lindstrom with the sharp assertion we’ve come to expect from a convincing Brünnhilde, and Vinke with the true force of a Wagnerian hero.

The Deutsche Radio Philharmonie knows how to portray Wagner, and together with Inkinen they produce a beautiful rendition of the Siegfried Idyll music towards the end of the disc. Incidentally, the quality of the recording is very high, and will sound excellent on any decent speaker system - the concluding track especially, when Lindstrom and Vinke deliver a stirring collaboration in the final bars.

Edward Christian-Hare



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