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Richard Wagner: Das Rheingold

(Arranger: Eberhard Kloke)

  • for medium-sized orchestra
  • 2 2 2 2 - 4 2 4 0 - perc(2), hp, str(12 10 8 6 5)
  • Duration: 140’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc
    alto fl in G)
    1st oboe (+c.a)
    2nd oboe (+c.a
    hph ad lib)
    1st clarinet in Bb, A (+bass cl in Bb)
    2nd clarinet in Bb, A (+bass cl in Bb, A in Bb ad lib)
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F (+wagner tuba in Bb)
    2nd horn in F (+wagner tuba in Bb)
    3rd horn in F (+wagner tuba in F)
    4th horn in F (+wagner tuba in F)
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    1st tenor-bass trombone (+bass tpt in C)
    2nd tenor-bass trombone
    3rd tenor-bass trombone (+cb.tbn ad lib)
    contrabass trombone (+cimbasso ad lib)
    percussion (1)
    violin I
    violin II
    stage music: Ambosse (audiofile)
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Arranger: Eberhard Kloke

Work introduction

This transcription is geared to the forces available in a mid-size orchestra. In the course of arranging the work, the Klangfarben of the orchestra were expanded and “modernised” by greater differentiation within the historically given spectrum and by introducing new instruments. I strove both to expand and condense the sound, especially since I of course kept the instruments typical of the Ring (Wagner tuba, bass trumpet, contrabass trombone, etc.); the newly introduced ones (alto flute, heckelphone, contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon and cimbasso, the latter as a link between tubas and trombones) become especially significant as additional dramatic-psychological sonic elements.

A remark on the orthography: the notation of some transposing instruments in Wagner’s Rheingold – horns, Wagner tubas, trumpets and bass trumpet – is evidently still in the experimental stage. Wagner notated these instruments inconsistently, using regular key signatures in some sections and omitting them in others, placing accidentals before individual notes as required. The full score of this transcription retains that idiosyncrasy, since the possibility that that notation also has a certain symbolic character cannot be ruled out.

For example, Wagner uses key signatures in the context of Valhalla, as if, perhaps, the “innocence” of the natural instruments had been lost through Alberich’s curse; the instruments are “grounded” by the key signatures. In the final tableau of Scene 4, all the instruments take the protective cover, as it were, of the apotheosis in E-flat major (with key signatures). However, they are dispensed with in the introduction (primeval Nature scene), in which the transposing instruments, in their original form, symbolise the “sound of Nature.”

The cast of Rheingold

Specifying the Fach of the voices was dispensed with since this arrangement of the work can also be performed by lighter voices, not only the traditional high-dramatic ones:

Woglinde (Freia)*: soprano
Wellgunde: soprano
Flosshilde: mezzo-soprano
Fricka: mezzo-soprano
Freia (Woglinde)*: soprano
Erda: mezzo-soprano
Loge: tenor
Froh (Mime)*: tenor
Wotan: baritone
Donner (Fasolt)*: baritone
Mime (Froh)*: tenor
Alberich: baritone
Fasolt (Donner)*: baritone
Fafner: bass

* These roles can be played by one performer, if necessary.

The onstage music (audio) for Wagner’s Rheingold is available on hire from the publisher.

Orchestra: 54 players

Eberhard Kloke

Translation by Grant Chorley

Sample pages

World première

Mainfrankentheater, Würzburg (DE)
Philharmonisches Orchester Würzburg
Enrico Calesso
Main soloists:
Guido Jentjens (Wotan) Hinrich Horn (Donner) Roberto Ortiz (Froh) James Kee (Loge) Kosma Ranuer (Alberich) James Allen Smith (Mime) Igor Tsarkov (Fasolt) Michael Tews (Fafner) Katharina von Bülow (Fricka) Silke Evers (Freia) Sandra Fechner (Erda) Akiho Ts

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