Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, July 2018

‘Magic Fire Music’ is one of the strongest points of the recording.  The ‘Forest Murmurs’ that follow is also excellent, but perhaps there needs to be more sparkle to the sound.  The best excerpt here—conducting and playing—may be what follows ‘Forest Murmurs’: ‘Siegfried’s Rhine Journey’.  The Funeral Music that follows is also excellent—not “shot-gun” percussive livke many other recordings,but thoroughly musical.

Stokowski and Ormandy are no longer with us, and I tried to imagine how current conductors of major American orchestras would handle these excerpts.  I don’t know all of them, but I honestly can’t think any one of them would do all of this as well as JoAnn Falletta.  Outside the USA there is always Germany (…Weigle on Oehms—Jan/Feb 2014—but remember that he does use some voices). © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Colin Anderson, June 2018

From Rheingold is ‘Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla’, which shimmers into life, harp well-captured, strings softly radiant, and there is a wonderfully eloquent oboe solo (from 3’32”); furthermore, the brass-playing impresses for its sensitivity and security at a low dynamic – and you are never in any doubt that Falletta has thought-through where this music is going, and when the conclusion is reached it is majestic. © 2018 Read complete review

John J Puccio
Classical Candor, June 2018

Things begin with Das Rheingold and the “Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla.” It’s grand, glorious music, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Ms. Falletta uses it as a kind of overture. It gets our attention and heightens our expectations. And her Buffalo players are up to the task; they may not yet be in the sphere of a Berlin Philharmonic, but they are a first-rate ensemble. © 2018 Classical Candor Read complete review

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, May 2018

The excerpts evoke some of the great scenes, like the Entry of the Gods into Valhalla over a rainbow bridge or the Ride of the Valkyries where you can hear the shrieks of laughter of the warrior maidens and the neighing of the horses, or the wondrous Magic Fire Music with its shimmering curtain of sound. We can even hear the waves of the mighty Rhine carrying Siegfried to his eventual doom. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review

Jack Moore
WRTI-FM, Philadelphia, May 2018

All of these orchestral versions are beautifully performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic, led by Falletta. Get ready to be washed away with an hour-plus of inspiring listening. © 2018 WRTI-FM, Philadelphia  Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2018

Falletta brings all these musical elements, and more, into bold relief. …Some of the best moments in the program occur in the musical evocations of nature: the twittering and singing of the birds in Forest Murmurs. …In many of these moments, the superb playing of the woodwinds and brass make an indelible impression. The stunning use of the percussion in Siegfried’s Funeral Music is really hair-raising. And Falletta knows how to use the string section, particularly the lower strings, to mold the firm contrours of the music. © 2018 Audio Video Club of Atlanta

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, April 2018

If you take a historical overview of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra you have to conclude that no BPO conductor has achieved anything close on record with the orchestra to the recording presence that Falletta has. Wagner’s “Ring” cycle requires, from listeners, an investment of time and dedication hard to come by in the digital age. To hear so much of its wonderful music, this one disc Falletta anthology of Wagner’s “Ring” sans voices presents a near-perfect distillation for novices of the genius of a composer who was a historical horror in countless ways (racial, personal) but, undeniably one of the most sublime who ever lived along with it. © 2018 The Buffalo News Read complete review, March 2018

JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic offer a mostly excellent version of 64 minutes of music that, while it scarcely encompasses all the elements of 15 operatic hours, certainly gives a strong flavor of Wagner’s skill both in drama and in orchestration. …despite what is missing, what is here is handled with considerable skill by Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic, from the drama of “The Ride of the Valkyries” to the delicacy of “Forest Murmurs” to the intensity of the funeral music for Siegfried, where the orchestra’s brass section really outdoes itself. © 2018 Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), March 2018

The essential meaning of Wagner’s magnum opus Der Ring des Nibelungen is wrapped up in the composer’s own lifetime pursuit of transcendent romance, with the redemption of eternal love one of the primary tenets of this and his other music dramas. Wagner’s gift for orchestral color and scenic characterization make his operas highly suited to the genre of the tone poem. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and music director JoAnn Falletta present seven excerpts evoking major scenarios in the saga. © 2018 WFMT (Chicago)

Zev Kane
WQXR (New York), March 2018

The Best Classical Releases of March 2018

Hot on the heels of a string of 2017 releases, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra have turned their attention to the orchestral music of Wagner’s revolutionary Ring Cycle. These scores are notoriously brazen—at their unruliest, they’ve been known to elude even the most unflappable conductors—but at no point on this record is there even a hint that Falletta has anything but pinpoint control. Consider the meticulous way she paces the opening of “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” so that its first climax has maximal dramatic effect, or the deliberate crescendos of her “Ride of Valkyries,” which give the rare impression that Brünnhilde’s celestial joyride is more graceful than gut-churning. This may be the most epic playing to come out of Buffalo since the Bills won the AFL Championship in 1965! © 2018 WQXR (New York)

John Brunning
Classic FM, March 2018

The essential meaning of Wagner’s magnum opus Der Ring des Nibelungen is wrapped up in the composer’s own lifetime pursuit of transcendent romance, with the redemption of eternal love one of the primary tenets of this and his other music dramas. Wagner’s gift for orchestral colour and scenic characterisation make his operas highly suited to the genre of the tone poem, and these seven tableaux evoke major scenarios in the saga, as well as providing a sense of the course and spirit of the greatest operatic drama ever written. © 2018 Classic FM

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2018

I was brought up at a time and age when the contents of this disc where the only thing that we knew about Richard Wagner’s epic opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. They used to be known as ‘bleeding chunks’, our local provincial orchestras doing their best with them, though the horns would feel proud if they kept split notes into single figures. So it is time for the Buffalo orchestra to remind us of those days when the adaptations omitted the vocal part and would round off each excerpt with some suitable manipulation. It does certainly show Wagner’s dramatic skill and his orchestration that, at the time of composition, would have been revelatory. The major loss is that we do not have Wotan’s voice in his farewell to his beloved daughter, and we do not hear Brunnhilde in a truncated Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung, where I recall a famous soprano choking up with emotion at the moment when she describes Siegfried as her ‘God’. The performances are very good, JoAnn Falletta, creating a magical Forest Murmurs when Siegfried first understands the meaning of the songbird, and sends the Valkyries on a really wild ride. Ideally I would have liked the Buffalo timpanist to have used harder sticks in Siegfried Funeral March ,  as the orchestra’s heavy brass massively capture that dreadful moment. The sound coming out of Buffalo for the Naxos label is some of the best. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

Film Music: The Neglected Art, February 2018

The 64 minutes of material is the orchestral material to the 16 hours of opera, something that few people have ever listened to in it’s entirety. It shows the mastery that Wagner had. His ear was tuned to pick up the small nuances that were way over my head such as the use of a bass clarinet and a sax at a critical moment. He wrote as liner note writer Edward Yadzinski described as ‘small tuneful fragments as thematic material for individual characters’ (Leitmotifs). He pioneered the way for Strauss, Mahler, and Stravinsky and influenced Hollywood writers such as Korngold, Horner, and Williams. © 2018 Film Music: The Neglected Art Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group