- Parsifal, an Orchestral Quest, for orchestra (after Wagner)
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Most of the familiar orchestral versions of Richard Wagner's operatic music were arranged either by him or his followers in the 19th century, so the Overture and Venusberg Music from "Tannhäuser" and the Prelude to Act III from "Lohengrin" have long been performed in these special concert formats. But the main work of this SACD is the 1993 suite arranged by Henk de Vlieger, "Parsifal, an Orchestral Quest," which is a fresh adaptation of the key moments from Wagner's final music drama. The work was commissioned by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, after de Vlieger, the ensemble's percussionist, had successfully arranged music from Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" into a similar orchestral vehicle for them. "Parsifal, an Orchestral Quest" was premiered on RCA in 1997 by Edo de Waart, and Neeme Järvi leads the second recorded performance on this 2010 release on Chandos. Since the music is faithfully adapted from the original score and arranged into a coherent instrumental version that still communicates the broad outlines of the drama, there is little to debate over de Vlieger's choices, and Järvi's performance with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is fully satisfying. This album provides a balanced program of Wagner's orchestral music, from the somber meditations of "Parsifal" to the lascivious passions of the bacchanalia from "Tannhäuser" and the stirring emotions in the Prelude to Act III from "Lohengrin," so listeners can expect a captivating listening experience that may also inspire them to seek out the full operas.