Real Bayreuth Ring
siegfriedwagner | Germany | 08/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have listened nearly all complete "Ring" recordings including several original Bayreuth recordings. Everytime I feel that this magnificent work can be heard correctly only from the acoustic of Bayreuth festspielhaus. This recording confirmed me once again. If you listened Solti's, you listened a "fairy tale", but If you listened Kna's, then you listened a "Epic". This is the difference. Sound quality? as far as I know, this recording is the best of all Kna's ring set including Music&Arts recordings and other Golden Melodram recordings!!!"
An exciting but not flawless Ring
Robert Storm | Finland | 03/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In some way this is my favorite recording of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Still I have to admit that it has several flaws. Astrid Varnay (Brünnhilde) and Wolfgang Windgassen (Siegfried) are not quite at their best. Especially Windgassen messes up with the tempi quite often. Frans Anderson sings a good Alberich and has the right kind of voice for the role. But Gustav Neidlinger is so much more interesting in his many recordings of this role that he totally overshadows Anderson. Jon Vickers makes several mistakes as Siegmund. But as an interpreter he is almost incomparable. The only really bad singer is Otto Wiener who barks the part of Gunther in a terrible way and does his best to ruin the whole Götterdämmerung.
But the rest is amazing. Nobody conducts the Ring like Hans Knappertsbusch. His tempi are quite slow but the performance never lacks excitement and dramaticism. Gerhard Stolze's Mime is probably the greatest perfomance of this role ever. Stolze is in a much better voice than in his more famous Mimes on Solti and Karajan Rings. Fritz Uhl's wicked Loge is also one of the best ever. Hans Hotter's (Wotan) voice wasn't quite what it had been a couple of years earlier but as a performer he was still perfect. Josef Greindl is a truly frightening Hunding and Hagen. In minor roles we have some beautiful voices: Elisabeth Grümmer as Freia and Gutrune and Sandor Konya as Froh."
Michael Berger | Atlanta, Ga | 03/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am rating this set against Knappersbusch's l956 Bayreuth Ring and against the Rings of Furtwangler, Moralt, Krauss and Keilberth (l952); I havent heard Keilberth l955 yet. I think this is the best overall I have heard. Not the best conducted (that would be Furtwangler) but as well conducted as anyone else and both more rhymically driven and exciting and more lyrical than Knappersbusch's own l956 set. Windgassen, Varney, Greindl, Hotter and Rysenek are also in a number of other Rings. This is, I think Windgassen's best performance of those I have heard, certainly his voice in in the best shape here. This is as good a performance from Varnay as any other and the same is true for Greindl. Probably, this is the best of Rysenek's; her voice more thrilling and less clouded here. Hotter's voice (and I think his singing also) is better on the l952 Keilberth set so this is only the 2nd or 3rd best performance of Wotan available. Of the others, Vickers is sensational; the best Sigmund I have heard other than Melchior and better, I think, than on the studio Von Karajan set, good as he was there. Gorr is wonderfully powerful and sort of loveable as Fricka, and Frans Andersson as Alberich is, to my surprise, in Neidlinger's league. Otto Wiener is quite fine as Gunther (in its own slightly less characterized way in Uhde's class) and Grummer excellent (as always) as Freia and Gutrune. The sound is good live mono and, on Walhall especially, this is a bargain. The beauty, the sadness, the power of the Ring is fully present on this set. If you love the Ring or want to get to know it as one of the great works of the l9th century, run, do not walk, and get this set."