Phenominal if you can stand the slow tempo and English
Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opinion is very sharply divided on Reginald Goodall's Wagner conducting, people either find it revelatory or insufferable. I personally found it very difficult to listen with sustained attention to his complete Ring, but it was worth the effort. This issue presents only the last two scenes of Act III of Twilight of the Gods, but still takes a full hour under Goodall's direction. It is a studio performance and has fewer lapses in intonation than his live recording of the complete opera. The singing is excellent; Rita Hunter has a classic Brunnhilde voice and the rest of the cast is very strong too, although they require prodigious breath control to match Goodall's tempo. The orchestral playing is beautiful and many details in the woodwind, which often get buried elsewhere, are clearly heard. The finale, although again very slow, has crushing power. I first heard this recording on the Unicorn-Kanchana label, both on record and on cassette, and thought it had some of the best sound engineering ever for this music, it really is quite enthralling. For those who object to the translation of the original text into English, I would say that Wagner himself authorized the Ring to be performed on tour after the 1876 Bayreuth Festival (by Angelo Neimann as I recall) and the translation was approved if it meant the difference between getting his music performed or not. Andrew Porter's translation comes as close to the German text as possible in rhythm and word meaning; it does lack some poetic subtleties. The singers enunciate the English text well and for a change it is nice to hear and understand everything that is sung without a libretto. The documentation is very good too. Overall, this is a fine release, although it may not appeal to everyone."