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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karajan shapes an exquisite "Valkyrie"
This is the highlight of Karajan's much-maligned and under-rated Ring Cycle, although one which emhasises purely musical values over dramatic ones. The cast is first-rate: Janowitz is quite simply the most beautiful Sieglinde on record, undramatic perhaps, but singing with radiant, youthful beauty. Vickers gives a characteristically intense performance as Siegmund, only...
Published on 14 Mar. 2001 by Mr. Dylan T. Hayden

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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed.
I only listen with delight and awe to the wonderful voice of Jonas Kaufmann otherwise I found the voices of the women shrill and unpleasant and the voice of Wotan weak and wobbly. Having read some of then reviews I expected so much more.I am glad I bought afterwards the Karajan recording with G.Janowtz and listen to Janowsky's recording of the Ring. I am sorry to be so...
Published 23 months ago by Ute-Karin Ridger


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karajan shapes an exquisite "Valkyrie", 14 Mar. 2001
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This review is from: Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
This is the highlight of Karajan's much-maligned and under-rated Ring Cycle, although one which emhasises purely musical values over dramatic ones. The cast is first-rate: Janowitz is quite simply the most beautiful Sieglinde on record, undramatic perhaps, but singing with radiant, youthful beauty. Vickers gives a characteristically intense performance as Siegmund, only slightly marred by a sort of crooning delivery in quieter passages, must noticeably in the famous "Wintersturme" song. Crespin makes an unusually youthful Brunnhilde, ideally balancing the sensual and heroic in her fine characterisation. Some find Stewart lachrymose and unsubtle as Wotan, but his singing is powerful and musical, with much firmer and more pleasing tone than the aging Hans Hotter could muster for Solti's celebrated account of the tetralogy. Underpinning all of this fine singing is the unparalleled playing of the BPO, the real stars of the recording, and the gorgeous, detailed interpretation of Karajan. No other recording of Walkure can match this one for the sheer beauty and intensity of the orchestral sound, and the masterly shaping of the whole if it were one grand symphony. The recorded sound is acceptable, though not outstanding for the time. There is noticeable tape hiss, and the remastering seems to have brought the voices forward and created an unnatural sound picture which compares unfavourably with the old LPs. In spite of this, lovers of fine Wagner singing, conducting and orchestral playing should find much to delight them here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mais où sont les neiges d'antan!, 5 Mar. 2015
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Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Time has been kind to this recording - indeed to Karajan's "Ring" in general. Once I have got over the inadvisability of Fischer-Dieskau's Wotan, it is mostly a winner all the way, through to the splendid, if slightly undercast, "Götterdämmerung". I recently upgraded my estimation of the "Siegfried" and found myself wondering what anyone ever found to complain about and the same applies to this "Walküre". If I whisked you in my time machine back to the mid-60's from these days of Wagnerian dearth to hear arguably the best opera conductor of the 20C directing the world's greatest orchestra starring some of the most stellar voices ever to sing Wagner, I think you'd get my point. I can't but this recording is as close as we are going to get.

Whether Tristan or Siegmund was Jon Vickers' greatest assumption is debatable but he is simply phenomenal here: powerful, sensitive, subtle, thrilling, moving - he is the absolute Siegmund here. He is accompanied by the splendid Gundula Janowitz, no doubt marginally assisted by the DG sound engineers, but let's have no disparaging nonsense as we find in a previous review about her being "a Mozart singer" (as if that were a disqualification) unwillingly thrust into a role several sizes too big her. For goodness' sake, the woman sang Elsa, Elisabeth, Eva and Gutrune in Wagner, Elisabetta in Verdi's "Don Carlo", "Leonora in "Fidelio" and the big Strauss heroines, all to acclaim; if she were some tweety-voiced parvenue she could hardly have done that - a blip at the Met notwithstanding (the place is a barn, anyway). Talvela is a force of nature as Hunding, massive and menacing like contemporaries Frick, Ridderbusch, Langdon, Hotter, Ward, Nienstedt et al; where is their like today?

Thomas Stewart is a not especially subtle but tireless, noble-voiced Wotan; the last scene is simply glorious, with the BPO in full cry. His mate is the still under-rated Josephine Veasy who might not have quite Ludwig's intensity but certainly does the part justice. Crespin is not my favourite Brünnhilde but this is her finest hour, the slight edge in her voice irrelevant as she has the heft and stamina and acts convincingly. In many ways this studio recoding is more homogeneous and satisfying than Solti's from the year before, which has always struck me as the weakest link in Solti's "Ring" with its ageing, audibly labouring Hotter, Crespin less appropriately cast as Sieglinde and James King, for all his merits, yielding to Vickers in terms of both voice and interpretation.

My preferred "Walküre" remains the superb, 1961 Leinsdorf studio recording with a young Vickers, Birgit Nilsson and George London but this Karajan recording runs it close, lacking only the last visceral thrill at climactic moments, Karajan tending to emphasise the more lyrical elements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special Walkure, 7 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
Karajan's Walkure is rather special. It might be cast with some lighter voices than usual, Vicker's virile Seigmund excepted, but Karajan is masterly in supporting the singers with his handling of the mighty Berlin orchestra. The whole thing lives and breathes, roaring through the storms and murmuring with the magic fire. Crespin's Brunnhilde is a bit strained at times but she convincingly plays the young Valkyrie. Janowitz's singing is dreamlike and Srewart's Wotan is sturdy and well sung. As for Vickers, he was one of the greatest of all Seigmunds. The result is a hugely satisfying reading of this opera. The recording is superb.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed., 14 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals) (Audio CD)
I only listen with delight and awe to the wonderful voice of Jonas Kaufmann otherwise I found the voices of the women shrill and unpleasant and the voice of Wotan weak and wobbly. Having read some of then reviews I expected so much more.I am glad I bought afterwards the Karajan recording with G.Janowtz and listen to Janowsky's recording of the Ring. I am sorry to be so negative and this of course is only my personal view.UKR
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Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals)
Wagner: Die Walküre (DG The Originals) by Richard Wagner (Audio CD - 1998)
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