Richard Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Bayreuth 1952)
 
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Richard Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Bayreuth 1952)

12 Dec 2007 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 27 Aug 2010
  • Number of Discs: 12
  • Label: Archipel - Walhall
  • Copyright: (c) Disques Dom
  • Total Length: 13:50:33
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001OTNQCK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. S. Bray on 3 July 2003
Format: Audio CD
Bayeuth in the 1950s produced some wonderful performances of Wagner operas, with singers and conductors giving of their best, and this is one of the best. Keilberth was not regarded as one of the greats, but this is a very exciting reading: it is fast, it is dramatic, but at the same time he gives the singers space to be themselves.
The Bayreuth casting was beginning to settle down at this point, and there are several important debuts: Neidlinger's amazing Alberich, Hotter as Wotan in Walkure and Siegfried - in his best voice, Borkh's one Bayreuth performance of Sieglinde - quite astonishing - (and not half bad as Freia either), and Greindl's frightening Hagen! Added to this is Varnay's great Brunnhilde, the young goddess personified, Treptow's generally excellent Siegmund (just a little strained at times), with Aldenhoff and Lorenz as very different, but very effective Siefrieds. Other roles are well taken, Modl as the Third Norn, Uhde as Wotan in Rheingold and Gunther etc. and no less a singer than Rita Streich as the Woodbird.
The sound is pretty good for 1952, with only one or two dodgy bits, but the documentation only gives cast lists and tracks. I have 19 complete Rings, and this is one of the best all round: Highly Recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erik Aleksander Moe on 8 July 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a very good Ring cycle. It is Hans Hotter's first season as Wotan and he is good here. I think that he is more into the character the next year for Keilberth. He is more extreme here. When he kills Hunding at the end of the second act of Walkure he almost shouts 'Geh'. Gunther Treptow's Siegmund is very good, better than what I heard of him from the Furwangler Ring in La Scala in 1950. I still prefer Ramon Vinay, though. Treptow acts too much on forceful singing through the action that is happening on stage. Vinay is much better to project violence through his singing. Inge Borkh's Sieglinde was really good. And Bernd Aldenhoff is also too extreme as the younger Siegfried.
Astrid Varnay, though, dominates the cycle (or the last three operas). She is really glorious throughout the whole cycle. For me, she is the best after Flagstad. Nilsson couldn't reach her level of the passion of the character and still hold a good tone.
It is, though, Gotterdammerung that really is the highlight of the cycle. Here we get the greatest heldentenor after Melchior, Max Lorenz, in magnificent voice. It is a joy to listen to his Siegfried, much more satisfying that his performance for Furtwangler two years before. The scenes with Varnay and he are filled with so much energy and passion. Noone after him can touch his Siegfried. But in addition to the magnificent Lorenz, we get Josef Greindl's really menacing and terrorfying Hagen. His calling of the vassals raises the hairs on your back. Hermann Uhde as Gunther and Wotan in Rheingold is his usual great self and Martha Modl is a very good Gutrune. Ruth Siewert is quite good as Waltraute.
But the Ring isn't just Gotterdammerung, no matter how good it is. That is why it just gets four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 25 Oct 2010
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I feel obliged to correct PhilsterNo1 who claims that this must be the fastest ever traversal of the Ring. If it did last "bang on 12 hours" that almost certainly would be true (assuming a lack of cuts) but this actually lasts around 13 hours 50 minutes. I am not sure which is the fastest ever traversal but Böhm's 1966-7 version is certainly quicker than this, coming at around 13 hours 38 minutes. Boulez's cycle from 1980 is reputed to be even quicker but I don't have timings to hand. Most recorded cycles last between 14 and 15 hours in total. To me, Böhm seems more consistently fast whereas as Keilberth does relax properly in lyrical episodes whilst still giving his all dramatically.

My view of this Ring is more akin to Dr. Bray's. I would hesitate to place it above the 1953 Krauss cycle which can currently be downloaded for the same very low price (N.B. Amazon download prices can change over time). However, that can be obtained (on CD or as a download) in better re-masterings from Opera d'Oro or Pristine Classical. These cost a lot more but, for some, it might be worth it. For Keilberth's Ring, one could, of course, choose the 1955 cycle in stereo, recorded by Decca engineers and currently available only on CD. At the time of writing that costs over 100 - more than 13 times as much as this. I also agree with Erik Aleksander Moe that Götterdämmerung is the highlight of the cycle and had no problem with Lorenz's Siegfried.

The sound on this set is a bit variable and very much balanced to the voices but the ear adjusts and this is well worth hearing for Hotter and Varnay in particular. For the current download price of about a round of three drinks it is surely one of the biggest bargains around.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun 2006
Format: Audio CD
This Ring can in no way be recommended ahead of the Krauss Ring from 1953 (also on Archipel, and others) which is in better sound, is better conducted and has consistent casting. Keilberth's must be the fastest traversal of the tetralogy ever given - bang on twelve hours - and though often exciting, is also a breathless and occasionally shallow experience with a few stodgy moments as well. The whole experience is without gravitas and only Hans Hotter emerges unscathed. Unfortunately he shares Wotan with the good but not great Uhde (Rheingold), just as Aldenhoff (Siegfried - superb) shares Siegfried with Lorenz (Gotterdammerung - awful). I part company with my fellow reviewer about Gotterdammerung: this was a massive let down and a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion to the cycle, with Lorenz horribly melodramatic and vibrato-clogged. I also disagree about Treptow who I prefer to Krauss' Vinay as Siegmund. Keilberth's Ring also affords you the chance to hear Inge Borkh's superb Sieglinde and Freia. Varnay is of course excellent but better served by Krauss a year later. The usual suspects sing the Nibelungs and Giants, but with more exaggerated effects here than on other Bayreuth sets. On the other hand, the muscular approach and trenchant orchestral playing often pay rich dividends ( I treasure the short vigil over the sleeping Sieglinde in Walkure Act Two).

In summary, this is worth your consideration but only Furtwangler can compensate for Lorenz's Siegfried (La Scala, 1950)and I for one am seriously considering investing in the 1951 Gotterdammerung (Testament) because of Aldenhoff's excellent performance here. Krauss and Bohm (1967) remain favourites, with Furtwangler a necessary supplement.
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