First a bit of a gripe - Whyever did EMI not include Klemperer's recording of 'The Flying Dutchman' in this box? I believe this is the sole example of a complete Wagner opera in his recorded legacy. Given that omission the set is still worth 5 stars.
I have a confession to make - I only bought it for the exceprts from "Die Walkure" - the whole of Act 1 and Wotan's Farewell from Act 3 - which I somehow missed in their earlier CD incarnations and my LPs are now almost unplayable. These are wonderful recordings. Act 1 is sung by Helga Dernesch, William Cochran and Hans Sotin (whose names EMI disgracefully omit in the accompanying booklet) and Wotan's Farewell - beautifully paced, a little slower than usual but perfect, is sung by Norman Bailey (whose name does appear in the notes). The set is worth buying just for these extracts. We also get the usual overtures, preludes and 'bleeding chunks' - superb performances all. In addition to the 'Walkure' excerpts we also have the incomparable Christa Ludwig singing the Wesendonck-Lieder (in the orchestration by Mottl) and the Liebestod from 'Tristan und Isolde'. Pure heaven, In the former Klemperer really understands where they stand in relation to the 'Liebestod' which follows them. The Srauss works are equally excellent. In addition to a beautiful, heartfelt recording of Metamorphosen (from 1961, when Klemperer was 76 years old, Barbirolli was 68 when he recorded his superb version in 1967) and The Dance of the Seven Veils from 'Salome' (why oh why did Klemperer never record 'Der Rosenkavalier' or 'Salome' - they would indubitably have been something special) we have 3 of the shorter tone poems - Don Juan, Tod und Verklarung and Till Eulenspiegel. For the first time I actually enjoyed Tod und Verklarung a work I have hitherto been unable to 'get'. This set is essential listening for anyone who loves the music of Strauss and Wagner and at the modest price asked for should be snapped up immediately.