Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Herbert Janssen, Richard [Classical] Wagner, Wilhelm Furtwängler|
Furtwängler at Covent Garden: 1937 "Ring" Excerpts
These excerpts from 1937 performances at Covent Garden have long been available in one form or another, but never in such impactful sound. No, it's not stereo and it still sports odd balances and thin string sound. But the... more »
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These excerpts from 1937 performances at Covent Garden have long been available in one form or another, but never in such impactful sound. No, it's not stereo and it still sports odd balances and thin string sound. But the voices come through clearly and it doesn't take much mental adjustment to become absorbed by performances of overwhelming power and intensity. The Flagstad-Melchior combination was untouchable in Wagner, and Furtwängler was perhaps the greatest of all Wagner conductors. All are captured here in their prime, galvanized by a live audience to deliver singing and conducting of unsurpassable beauty and understanding. No Wagnerian or lover of great singing can afford to miss this. --Dan Davis
Flagstad and Furtwaengler in the Ring
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a stunning album. The sound is pretty good--for 1930s sound midway between the celebrated Beecham/Reiner Tristan and the Lehmann/Melchior/Walter Act I of Die Walkuere (which is as good as imaginable for that era). The singing, especially by Flagstad, is off-the-scale wonderful. One could claim that this is her very best Immolation Scene, and her great melodic line about 30 minutes before the end of Die Walkuere is spine-tingling. Bockelmann's Wotan is as good as the best, and Melchior is inimitably himself. The conducting is perhaps more tightly organized than in Furtwaengler's later versions. Beautiful little details in the orchestra pop out, even with the fair-to-middling sound. If you are just starting out to explore Wagner's Ring, this is probably not the album to start with. Get one of the super recordings (either of the whole thing or separate operas), such as Solti or Karajan. Those provide a text. Then get the Bruno Walter Walkuere Act I--it's the best example of Wagner's ability to write a tightly knit hour of music and of theater--no wasted motion or notes--and there is no performance like that one. Then begin to explore marvellous byways such as the present album."
Flagstad's Brunnhilde at her best
Erik Aleksander Moe | Oslo, Norway | 02/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You have never heard a more exciting performance of neither the third act of Walkure or of Gotterdammerung. I only wish there was a complete recording of those glorious days of Wagner music. Flagstad's Brunnhilde has always been the grandest in opera history, and these performances are no exception. Her tonal splendour, her power and magnetism has never been more evident on record than here. Her seasons in London in the 30's was probably even finer than those at the Met. Her partners there seemed to bring out the best in her. Furtwangler, Beecham, Reiner, Melchior, Janssen, Bockelmann. This with her stunning performance of Tristan und Isolde the same year with Beecham must be considered some of the very best singing she has done. The nobel performance of her Walkure's Brunnhilde, the emotional rollercoaster ride of Brunnhilde of Gotterdammerung is so expertly acted out in Flagstad's singing. Flagstad's magnificent performance somewhat overshadows her great partners. Rudolf Bockelmann's Wotan is nothing short of brilliant, along with Melchior's heroic Siegfried, Kerstin Thorborg's desperate Waltraute and Ludwig Weber's great evil Hagen. This is a performance to treasure for all Wagner fans who look for the greatest Wagner singing of the century. I would recommend this along with the excerpts of Frida Leider's Gotterdammerung performance the previous year with Beecham, Melchior, Thorborg and Janssen released by Preiser."
Anthony Louis | USA | 09/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a selection from a 1937 performance of the Ring. Furtwngler is my all time favorite conductor of Wagner and he lives up to his reputation. The singing is also excellent, only marred by old recording equipment that does not adequately capture the wonderful performance. Any Wagner lover will enjoy these CDs, despite the less than good reproduction of the 1937 sound (which is why I gave it only 4 stars).
Since writing this review a couple years ago, I must say that this is a CD that I listen to repeatedly. It has become one of my favorites in my Wagner collection."