10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A fine recording, 24 Feb 2010
I hesitate to disagree with the other reviewers of this set. I do not find any of the performers "unlistenable to" nor do I find any of the singers inadequate. I do not expect any recording to be anything more than a record of what was expressed at a particular time. There is no such thing in my view as a definitive recording. One can try can compare this with previous recordings but that is likely to involve some highly subjective views which as readers of reviews we are unable to interrogate. I will simply say that, as other reviewers found, the sound is extremely beautiful, the detail in playing exceptional (lots of things I had not heard before - many notes given their correct value for the first time). If you have other sets of the ring this will be a performance whose insights and range will sit worthily alongside them. If this is your first ring then you will not be disappointed nor will you be misled or given a false idea of this great music drama. It is perhaps a set for playing straight through rather than choosing favourite passages as Thielemann seems to think about long term structure rather than making it a series of strung together highlights.
I listen to the rings of the 40 and 50s with a sense of what I missed and I thrill at the voices of Frida Leider, Melchior et al. but there were many singers singing this music at that time and there were other approaches to singing Wagner (Traubel Leider Flagstad surely dont interpret the music in the same way, nor do they sound the same). My listening tells me that current singers and conductors have just as many interesting things to say about this music as ever they did in the past. It is a testament to the depth and richness of the music that there can be so many different approaches. Rather than bemoan the inadequacies of modern singers ( a trope itself as other reviewers have acknowledged) let us celebrate the achievement of this set. In my view Thielemann and his cast presents this very human work in a powerful and illuminating way.
I think that the price may put people off and if you are thinking of buying a ring for the first time you might want to consider the fine recordings conducted by Hartmut Haenchen which are available separately.