Iván Fischer likewise isn’t especially known for Wagner, but his brief notes suggest great admiration, and he and his Budapest Festival Orchestra certainly acquit themselves rather well. Their tempos are sometimes slow enough to please Klemperer and Goodall fans, but they’re lightened by the Hungarians’ fresh, precise playing. Fischer’s Meistersinger is quite sprightly yet poised, with an attractive underlying warmth, and his Siegfried-Idyll has chamber-like translucency. The rest of the disc consists of Götterdämmerung – a measured Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Funeral March, and the mighty closing scene, even slower but enhanced by Petra Lang, a dramatic soprano whose distinctive bronze tone and warm legato has brought her roles such as Ortrud and Venus. Here she makes a memorably elegiac if slightly wild Brünnhilde, unleashing quite a cataclysm. The villain Hagen’s final shout of desperation is included but not credited – one suspects the conductor himself! This is a much more recommendable disc. Newcomers, though, may prefer selections from the entire Ring, such as Donald Runnicles’ (Apex).
Michael Scott Rohan