Alexander Jacob – Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (2015)

alexander_jacob_-_richard_wagner_der_ring_des_nibelungen

On his previous album of classical piano interpretations of the music of Richard Wagner, Alexander Jacob converted a contemplative opera into an ambient soundtrack in which melodies emerged evanescent and drifted toward the surface. With Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Jacob takes the more robust thematic material of that opera and makes from it an album of stormy but passionate classical piano pieces as we might find from Chopin or Brahms.

The piano attacks these pieces with a stormy bluster followed by periods of long contemplative expansion on the melodies, compressing lengthy operas into a classical piece that can easily fit into the listening of a normal classical listener, with more of a Romantic style on piano than the hybrid Romantic-Modernist style of the Wagner operas. In this, Jacob and the transcribers Richard Kleinmichel and Karl Klindworth translate Wagner into an entirely different style while distilling his lengthy compositions to the internal dialogue of complex but approachable pieces.

Where the last album occurred as waves of ambient melody as fit Parsifal, for the more sturm und drang material of the Ring cycle Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen takes an appropriately forthright approach in reducing many layers of orchestration and voices to a piano monologue. As an introduction to Wagner, this album may be more approachable than the first, although that may show more of Wagner’s technique in composition as it distinguishes itself from others. For those who want a classical piano experience that delivers intensity without veering into bombast, Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen will be a delight.

7 thoughts on “Alexander Jacob – Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (2015)”

  1. Boris the Cupcake says:

    Gabe – Isvind just released their new album, could you review it?
    thanks!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDPGUCuKfgQ

  2. Boris the Cupcake says:

    Oh and Skyforger too. There is a bunch of familiar bands that have released albums this year:

    Skyforger
    Isvind
    Varathron
    Morbus 666
    Symphony X
    Malevolent Creation
    Cruciamentum
    Iron Maiden
    Stormhammer
    Motorhead
    Slayer

    Should be given the Sadistic Review treatment.

    1. LordKrumb says:

      Quite a few of those have already been reviewed here.

      1. Collector of Cocks says:

        Yes but not Sadistically !

  3. Anthony says:

    This album and the Parsifal one would be interesting introductions to Wagner. For someone like me who has been listening to the operas for years, these releases have value as an interesting interpretation of Wagner’s work. For example, I’m used to thinking of the Magic Fire Music as being pretty delicate and ethereal, almost ambient, since I usually listen to Karajan’s 1970(?) Götterdämmerung, but this piano version brought out a lot of the latent heaviness that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Also, unrelated to the piano Parsifal, but does anyone else get a serious Klaus Schulze vibe from the vorspiel on this 1981 Parsifal?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1BFR5UfXe0

  4. fenrir says:

    ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz

    Would rather listen to Charles Rosen playing late Beethoven sonatas.

    Wagner’s music wasn’t written for piano and it really sucks to hear it played that way.

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