This famous, previously-unreleased recording of Parsifal has very strong elements. Reginald Goodall has the measure of the work, a clear idea as to what the work is about. His speeds are very "measured" - "slow" would imply tedious - but they are sustained well. The Parsifal is the great Vickers, in fine voice and certainly committed, as always with this giant of the Wagner repertoire. Norman Bailey sings well, as does Donald MacIntyre, both well worth hearing. The orchestra is, frankly, scratchy at times, strings especially, but the brass and wind elevate their contribution. Goodall cannot have been easy to keep together with for a strings section live in the pit. Louis Hendrikx is tremulous at times and lacking in tone. He sings musically, but is not in the front rank. Amy Shuard is acceptable, but not great to listen to, I felt.
The chorus part company with Goodall in Act 3, clearly wanting to get a move on, but Goodall has established a rock-like pace and his speed should have prevailed. The rhythm is lost several times in the chorus in Act 3 Scene 2, which is a pity.
The recorded sound is reasonable, but certainly not good for the date, 1971. Compare it with Solti's sound on Decca to see what I mean.
The booklet is very fine.
Most buyers, like me, will buy this set for Vickers and Goodall, I suspect, but most will also want another recording as well.
I have Solti, Karajan, Knappertsbusch (62), Boulez, Levine (Bayreuth) and the Met, Levine dvd. I am hugely lucky in this, as every one of these has treasures and it makes me listen to this great work more frequently as a result.