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Dip Your Ears, No. 178 (Wagner among the Cows)

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R.Wagner, in Switzerland
D.Zinman / Tonhalle Orchestra / E.Silins

Wagner With Cowbells

Wagner lived in Switzerland longer than any other one place: in Zurich 1849–58, from 1866 to 1872 in Triebschen. Reason enough for the Tonhalle Orchestra to issue a lavishly produced CD—a little postcard book with texts and colored illustrations of Wagner’s time there. At the center of it is outgoing music director David Zinman’s Wagner-conducting; long on luscious, short on dynamic, and altogether satisfying in gorgeous bleeding chunks that Wagner wrote on Confoederatio Helvetica’s territory: A Flying Dutchman overture with fantastically lilting Norwegian Dancing Party bits that contrast greatly with the stark Dutchmen-crew sounds. Rheingold-, Walküre-, and Götterdämmerung-excerpts follow in similar vein, and baritone Egils Silins is a noble and virile Wotan and Dutchman. No tourism brochure has ever sounded better!