Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard [Classical] Wagner, Joseph Keilberth, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra|
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Box Set]
This 1952 live-from-Bayreuth Ring led by Joseph Keilberth is one of the tightest, tautest, most energized Rings available; only Böhm is faster (and not always--the Siegfrieds are the same length) and more intense in genera... more »
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This 1952 live-from-Bayreuth Ring led by Joseph Keilberth is one of the tightest, tautest, most energized Rings available; only Böhm is faster (and not always--the Siegfrieds are the same length) and more intense in general, with Boulez fast but without the same passion. (Keilberth's Götterdämmerung is 28 minutes faster than that of Knappertsbusch!)The sound is as good as that from any studio recording from the period, and the voice-orchestra balance is just right (the occasional too-far-back-on-the-stage phrase notwithstanding). It is a Ring of big contrasts: Siegfried's Rhine Journey has never sounded so joyous (a few flubs in the brass just prove that the orchestra is made up of humans), his Funeral Music is as heavy as lead; the "Announcement of Death" in Walküre is intimate and still, the Valkyrie's Ride almost insanely wild (with intermittent patches of bizarre singing from the sisters). The individual performances are more flavorful and "individualized" than on almost any other recording: Max Lorenz's grown-up Siegfried is all mood swings and swagger (and a bit wayward, vocally), Bernd Aldenhoff's young Siegfried is inexhaustible, Paul Kuen's Mime simply the most multifaceted and best sung on disc, ditto the Alberich of Gustav Neidlinger (the picture of viciousness); Astrid Varnay catches every moment of Brünnhilde's change from impetuous young warrior maiden to loving daughter to disobedient child to woman, and she's in blazing, brilliant voice; Günther Treptow and Inge Borkh are a passionate, highly dramatic and extroverted Wälsung pair and Joseph Greindl's Hagen is monstrously nasty. The late Hans Hotter towers over it all as Wotan in the wisest and freshest of his many performances caught on record. The rest of the cast is always involved and involving. This is a fabulous Ring. --Robert Levine
Highly regarded 1952 Bayreuth Ring Cycle
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 09/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These comments are intended to provide a brief touch of reality after the previous two ... reviews.
This is the 1952 Ring Cycle from the newly re-opened, post-war Bayreuth Festival. It boasts a cast from that mini-Golden Age of Wagnerian singing. Many performers appearing here are legendary figures who simply can't be matched in any opera house today.
On the other hand, and in fairness to the author of the first entry on this string of ... reviews, I agree that the asking price seems outrageously high for a fifty-five year-old recording.
NOTE: This 1952 Cycle should not be confused with the live stereo recordings made by Decca for the Keilberth-led Bayreuth Ring Cycle of 1955, which featured a considerably different but equally distinguished cast. (The 1955 Cycle was suppressed by John Culshaw and buried in the Decca vaults in order to eliminate competition with his studio-based, stereo Cycle under the direction of Solti.) In addition to this complete 1952 Cycle, Testament has recently issued the 1955 Cycle in four separate volumes, each at an outrageous price.
Cat's Meow | Bradenton, FL United States | 09/14/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm afraid that if this Ring cycle were the one available in the early '60's, when I was getting into it, and NOT the Solti Ring, that I very likely would NOT have become an ardent Ringhead, much less a Wagner fan.
I simply found that the usual black velvety bass of Gustav Niedlinger to
be absent, as well as the menace with which he imbued the role of Alberich.
I just plain found it boring, and metallic in sound, and it lacks warmth.
It just doesn't measure up to the Solti Ring. Or the Bohm.
In fact, if I were faced with purchasing a Ring set for the first time, then I would naturally go with the Solti or the Bohm set. This is something that I'd buy ONLY if I had the spare $250+ bucks to blow on a cover of the Ring. I'd pick the Furtwangler or Knappertsbusch Rings as
covers before I'd spring for this one.
It's simply overpriced, putting it out of the league of most first-time buyers of Rings.
So, if it's your first Ring you're after, DON'T buy this one-go with Solti or Bohm!
I just couldn't get past the metallic sound."