Die Walküre (Ride of the Valkyries)
Richard Wagner

90

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The second highest of Wagner's 7 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 65 in 2011.

At around five hours in duration, Wagner's opera Die Walküre is an epic work in its own right but it's only one of four installments of the composer's mighty Ring Cycle. And while the entire opera is packed full of thrilling music, one particular five-minute orchestral firework is the reason for its truly widespread popularity. 'The Ride of the Valkyries', which acts as the curtain-raiser to act III, has been included in countless television programmes, commercials and movies most notably Apocalypse Now, in which the music is put to gripping effect during the opening of helicopter fire on a village in Vietnam.