From WILL - Classics of the Phonograph -

Wagner Without Earplugs

Richard Wagner, born 200 years ago, was in his own time associated with loudness. His orchestras were larger, the voices of his singers tended to be of heroic dimensions. He was frequently accused of abusing the human ear. But he was also a master of the quiet moment, and his preludes, particularly before his final acts, can be striking examples of low-key, meditative music. So we will try Wagner without ear plugs!