The music of Steve Reich has been heard in various venues, including electronic music dance clubs, but the full symphony orchestra treatment has been rare. That is changing, however, with the tenure of Kristjan Järvi as chief conductor of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the result in that musically conservative, German city is this major-label double album of Reich's music, in many respects a first. Järvi's enthusiasm for the project is palpable here, most obviously in the live performance of the early Reich standard Clapping Music, which he and the composer perform together to the approval of the crowd.
This 67-minute, orchestra-only version of Wagner’s famous opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen is arranged by Henk de Vlieger, arranger, composer & percussionist in the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. The work was commissioned by the orchestra & the result is a 14-section fiery musical spectacle entitled The Ring, an orchestral adventure.
The popular Prelude & the so-called Liebestod (“Mild und Leise”) from Richard Wagner’s music drama Tristan und Isolde are the most familiar parts orchestras play, most often in the 1859 concert arrangement by Wagner. (He preferred that the term Liebestod be applied to the Prelude only, & originally titled his concert version Liebestod und Verklärung, or “Love-death & Transfiguration.”) The featured work of this Chandos SACD is the 1994 suite arranged by Henk de Vlieger, fashioned from key parts of the entire opera, not just the beginning & end. Tristan und Isolde: An Orchestral Passion is a lengthy tone poem that includes key passages, in much the same manner as de Vlieger’s other symphonic syntheses on Der Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, & Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.