Customer Reviews


16 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

107 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ringing success-excuse the dreadful pun!, 26 Oct 2010
By 
D. S. CROWE "Music Lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
This cycle of geniunely live performances in 1966 and 67 from Bayreuth is broadly contemporary to the Solti and Karajan cycles. It was recorded actually by by DG (DGG at that time) but languished on the shelf for some years because of company politics (i.e. Herbert von Karajan!). When Polydor, parent company of DG became part of newly formed Polygram it enabled the set to be released under the Philips imprimatur, at a price more than the cost of current Decca release. In todays terms it would be the equivalent of half a good week's wage-say around 250! I have lived with all these recordings in Vinyl and CD and I have all the commercial recordings of the Ring, and some derived from radio or internet broadcasts. I have my favourite cycle overall and this is not it-but I would never part with it, and it is the top recommendation now because of the price. This is, and always has been, the best Bayreuth Live Ring, the Keilberth notwithstanding. There is nothing "historic" about the sound quality as with the Keilberth, and the casting forms a second "Golden Age." Bohm's reading is swiftly paced, but never rushed and always masterfully shaped. He is not out to re-interpret the Ring-this is a Master Kapellmeister giving his best work, as with Keilberth.
There are flaws and drawbacks as with all live recordings, but fewer than with other live Rings-the prompter/repetiteur being all too often audible (just!) is a minor distraction, but Wieland Wagner's New Bayreuth productions were static, more like tableaux set against huge abstract sets with litlle scene changing-the result is less stage noise than on other recordings. The recording is very natural, with none of the dubious engineering of the Barenboim set where the voices are in a resonant acoustic totally alien to Bayreuth, and it is actually better recorded than the later Boulez. The Thielemann is similar in sound quality, but not in performance-avoid.
A few myths should be dispelled-Windgassen is a SUPERB Loge, wheedling, guileful and POWERFUL by turns-a real tour de force. Theo Adam is a SUPERB Wotan on this set-many of his later performances on disc were well-sung but dull-his Sachs for Karajan comes to mind-but here he excels in every way-strong characterisation, beautifully sung. He sounds youthful and virile in Rheingold, and more mature in his ,for me, superb Wanderer. Adam usually gets slated in comparison to Hotter-Hotter was not THAT great, and by the early 60's he was getting by on audience fond memory-his voice had developed a raggedness and wobble that made it torture to listen to, at least for me, one of the many reasons I do not rate the Knappertsbusch Parsifal as highly as others-but enough of Hotter, he had retired from these roles by 1967. Listen without prejudice and you will find Adam superb. James King is arguably the finest recorded Siegmund , at least in this recording, of the stereo era (Melchior is incomparable overall) and would that we had his like today.If Vickers was more impassioned for Karajan and Leinsdorf, then King is at least as heroic with steadier tone and less crooning. There is general conscensus that this is Nilsson's finest hour and she is indeed incomparably superb, and if Windgassen has to husband his resources a little more at this age, it is fascinating to hear him do so with such excellent results in his outstanding reading of Siegfried.He often sounds fuller and fresher than even on the 1955 set. The remaining cast is as if from a dream, with generally luxury casting for the minor roles, Neidlinger and Greindl as implacable and incomparable as ever, and even Thomas Stewart , by then already a great Wotan , giving us a superb Gunther. One weak link is Dvorakova as Gutrune,who starts off sounding too heavy of voice and who screams and wobbles alarmingly at times especially in her solo scene. Ironically, when this production premiered in 1965, the solo scene with Gutrune following Siegfried's death was cut-yes there are cuts even in the Temple of Wagner-but was restored the next year following the tsunami of vituperation that engulfed Wieland and Bohm for sanctioning it.Pity that Dvorakova-a fine singer who actually sang Brunnhilde in one of the 3 cycles in 66 &67 and was loved for this role in London -was way off form for this recording. Marha Modl's Waltaute is wobbly but dramatically strong but these are really the only major vocal glitches and are not catastrophic.
When I said this was not my absolute favourite recording, I am referring to hair's breadth preferences-in fact as I write this review, I begin to wonder if maybe it IS after all!
For those wanting to add to their collection, approaching the Ring anew, or wishing to experience a "Golden Age" of Wagner performing but without the sonic deficiencies-or cost-of the Keilberth, this is the absolute top recommendation. At this paltry price, ALL music lovers who do not own the set already should buy it without hesitation. Unlimited stars. Stewart Crowe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nilsson's finest hour, and she said so herself, 10 Sep 2010
By 
D. M. Purkiss "Diane" (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
For people who can't quite wean themselves off Solti and onto the joys of Keilberth or Krauss (both wonderful, and you can't have too many Rings) this offering might be a good answer; it's live, but the sound is modern and so is the feel of the orchestra. Boehm's conducting is beautiful, Nilsson impassioned and involved as well as searing, Windgassen much less tired than he was for Solti. Some people are mean about Theo Adam, and he won't remind you of Hans Hotter, but if you like Bernd Weikl as Hans Sachs you'll probably like Adam's Wotan; not mellifluous, but the god is hurting, so why should he sound calm and pretty? The Immolation Scene is to die for, and only Traubel and Lawrence do it better (neither is available, strangely, so soak up gorgeous Varnay or Flagstad). But soak this up too; you won't be sorry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best buy, 4 Sep 2011
By 
Dag Kyndel "Kottebo" (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
I have around 60 complete Rings and I find this the overall best. The sound is magnificient, the conducting highly inspired, Böhm could be very dull sometimes but certainly not here, Nilsson is unapproachable, Wingassen his reliable self. If you like Theo Adam is a matter of taste, I have heard his Wotan live, and I am impressed. The price for this edition is unbelievable and I think this is the right buy if you want only one Ring.
Buy the way, when rehearsing this Götterdämmerung on stage Böhm uttered: "You are the best Brünnhilde I have heard for more than forty years". And Nilsson rapidly answered: "And who was the better one"? Nilsson knew her values, but she was also a humble person, always supporting collegues. When in the Götterdämmerung performance recorded here Martha Mödl, earlier a fantastic Brünnhilde herself, had finished her part of Waltraute, singing this mezzo role for the first time, Nilsson whispered in her ear "That was very well done".
(To celebrate some sort of jubilee in Bayreuth this summer Philips has published the original very luxury box of this Ring - on 16 LP:s! Quite another cost there, more than 200...)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bohm's Ring Reissued - 24 Carat Gold at Bargain Price, 24 Mar 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
This was my first Ring. Many followed, many came and went out again: got thrown back you might say. For a time I didn't listen, almost afraid after so many other conductors had been heard, Bohm's lustre might have been tarnished.

I needn't have worried. Just finishing Gotterdammerung as I write this and nothing can alter the greatness of this classic Ring recording.

The best of the stereo era Bayreuth Rings, far better cast than any that followed it and a warmer better-balanced stereo, for all that the miking of the brass isn't wholly conducive - not for the first time at Bayreuth - at least, in contrast to Keilberth's 1955 production, it doesn't sound as if the principle trumpet is actually sitting in your ear, ready to fry your brains. There is a wholly persuasive theatrical perspective for the voices above the orchestra, not shielded by it as in some studio versions. Stage noise is to a minimum, as is audience noises-off, and in any case, a lack of kinetic energy can make a Ring cycle sound enervated.

Bayreuth 1967. A year after Bohm was recorded conducting Windgassen and Nilsson in a perfect Tristan und Isolde, Philips were there to record his marvellously energised Ring. Not hurried, just with a perfect grasp of what these singers could be pushed to achieve. Nilsson's Brunnhilde achieved full maturity here (she declared it her favourite recording) and much as one might admire the nobility of Varnay in earlier years, the beauty (yes, BEAUTY), warmth and emotion, topped by ringing high notes and absolute vocal security, make Nilsson's Brunnhilde the most satisfying assumption on record. Windgassen marshals his resourced ably, fourteen years after his first Siegfried, and he succeeds in making the lad sound more intelligent than most. Experience counts for a lot, even when playing a naive hero.

What's truly joyous about the Bohm Ring is the fact that even minor roles are strongly cast. Listen for Anja Silja, Bayreuth's great Senta of the '60s, her electric soprano bursting from the speakers, in the small roles of Freia and the Third Norn. What about Karajan's Brunnhilde, Helga Dernesch, as Wellgunde and Ortlinde; the unforgettable Martii Talvela as Fasolt; Wohlfart's cackling Mime or Stewart's darkly emotional Gunther (he later sang a memorable Hans Sachs for Kubelik).

Of the major roles, Theo Adam has an immediately recognisable bass-baritone, powerful and yet more human than some. A plangency that really strikes to the heart. He's sometimes compared unfavourably with the great Hans Hotter, but although Hotter certainly sounded like God, it was the silver-haired God of the Sistine Chapel, and he was prone to woofiness and wobbliness like any other singer under so much strain. Both were great Wotans. James King's Siegmund is stupendous, probably his best ever recording and he is perfectly matched with the achingly erotic Sieglinde of Leonie Rysanek. I have to say, I much prefer them to Krauss' pair on the other great Bayreuth cycleWagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen, just as I prefer Wohlfart's cartoonish Mime to the sobbing mock-tragedian provided by Kuen. Of the villains, Neidlinger and Greindl (as Alberich and Hagen) reprise already legendary assumptions.

To sum up, you couldn't ask for a better cast Ring, and at such an affordable price. You'll need a libretto though: Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For anyone worried about audience noise, and there are a few coughs and creaks, well, there may be less, although there is applause, to be heard on the Krauss Ring, perhaps because it is mono. If you listen through headphones, you might hear the prompter on both. If you can accept applause but not coughs and prompters, there is also the reissued Furtwangler Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen which is surely the greatest Ring Cycle on record.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Cycle Available, 27 Sep 2011
By 
Rich (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
Other reviewers have already covered the elements that make this such a superb performance. The only advantages of the Solti set in comparison are the superior sound (although I much prefer the orchestral/vocal balance at the Bayreuth recording), the glorious playing of the VPO and the superb Christa Ludwig as Fricka.

Everyone who appears on the Solti set simply give better performances for Bohm: Nilsson, Windgassen, James King (supreme as Siegmund in Act 1 of Walkure), the incomparable Neidlinger. This is a performance of music-as-drama of the very highest calibre. Yes, Modl is wobbly as Waltraute but she is riveting. I've always liked Adam's Wotan and he gives a tremendous, compelling performance. Highlights include a fantasic Die Walkure, with one of the greatest performances of Act 1 I've ever heard (including Rysanek's now legendary scream at the end!) Griendl is fantastic as Hagen. Even the smaller parts, like the Rhinemaidens and the other Valkyries are well-sung and dramatically convincing. Bohm's conducting is incandescent. Despite the sometimes boxy sound, despite occasional noise from the prompter or from stage action and despite some occasional rough orchestral playing this Ring is a stunning, never-to-be repeated achievement.

I wish just Decca had taken the time completely to remaster the original tapes and extract the maximum potential from the sound. Still, at just over 2-per-disc, this has to be one of the greatest Wagner bargains currently available.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great drama, even greater value, 22 Sep 2010
By 
Gareth Thomas (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
There are arguably better played and recorded complete Ring sets but no stereo recording has the real sense of urgent drama that Bohm conveys or the consistent strength of his cast. The slight drawbacks of the live recording (extraneous noises, occasional rough/ill-tuned orchestral playing) I found recede within minutes once you get drawn into the action. Alan Blyth in Gramophone 1994 felt that Bohm's set was still the most consistently rewarding in the face of the competition from Solti, Janowski or Barenboim.

The 14 discs are in plain paper envelopes in a solid card box. There is no libretto (that would be a miracle at this price) instead Decca provide a reasonably detailed seven-and-a-half page synopsis with cue points. The much vaunted 'new essay by George Hall' is a pitiful two-page blurb about Bohm and the main singers and their relationship with the music of Wagner and Bayreuth. But at this price I'm not complaining!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best., 20 Sep 2010
By 
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
This, Keilberth and Barenboim, are in my opinion the three ring cycles to have in your library. Is it the best version? one day yes next day perhaps, but then that is the Ring. At this price don't hesitate. If you are old enough to recall how much buying the Ring on vinyl could cost then you will appreciate how much of a bargain this is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen, 11 Jun 2012
By 
Paula (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
This boxed set is without a doubt an incredible bargain. It contains Wagner's entire Ring cycle, which was recorded live at the 1966 and 1967 Bayreuth Festivals with Karl Böhm conducting. What more can any amateur music lover wish for? The music comes to us straight from the horse's mouth, as it were and how many of us can after all afford the tickets and journey to Bayreuth (even if one lived long enough to buy tickets at any price... I am told there is a very long waiting list for these.) The singers on these CDs are, as one would expect from Bayreuth, spine-thrillingly world class.
The set comes in a sturdy cardboard box containing 14 CDs. The accompanying booklet, understandably at the price, gives a synopsis only. For the listener's even greater enjoyment it is worth purchasing the libretti separately (around 13). This is of course not essential. Many people prefer just to emerse themselves in the music without bothering with the text but even if you do spend the extra 13, you will still have made a fantastic purchase with this set. I treasure mine. Happy listening.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect bargain set, 2 Mar 2014
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
I think I have been under-estimating - or perhaps neglecting - this complete, live "Ring" for many years, I have always preferred to pick and choose amongst different tetralogies or simply by individual issues, such Leinsdorf's "Die Walküre", which to my mind remains the single most satisfying of all recordings of this one opera, but if you are looking for one complete set, this latest re-mastering is such a bargain that there can be no argument.

No "Ring" is perfect and for many an obstacle can be the ever-present, incipient wobble in Theo Adam's bass-baritone. However, recent re-acquaintance with his Wotan here surprised me; the vibrato was far less troublesome than I remembered it and although his voice is somewhat lighter than what is ideal, the top is thrilling and he is very moving and expressive in his handling of the text. After all, Solti's aging Hans Hotter is something of a trial and Karajan's Fischer-Dieskau is simply mis-cast as Wotan in Karajan's "Das Rheingold".

A previous reviewer states that Böhm's and Solti's casts are "virtually the same", which is something of an exaggeration but they certainly have several superlative artists in common, starting with Birgit Nilsson's Brünnhilde, which she herself called her finest hour and of course Gustav Neidlinger's classic and inimitable Alberich. I have never found Windgassen to be my ideal as Siegfried but he is never less than good and pops up in a variety of complete recordings derived from Bayreuth performances by such as Solti, Krauss, Knappertsbusch and Keilberth. One might quibble about the casting of individual roles but for every misgiving there is a huge compensation, such as Martti Talvela's massive Fasolt, Gerd Nienstedt lowering Hunding and James King's Siegmund. As is so often the case with this great artist, Leonie Rysanek starts off singing Sieglinde in husky voice and "lowing" too much but becomes radiant as she warms up.

Böhm's conducting is pacy but by no means rushed and for those who like their "Ring" galvanised by the circumstances of live performance there is plenty of tension with very little intrusive audience noise.

The re-mastering is triumphant and I see copies of this set available on Marketplace for around 20 - ridiculously cheap by any standards and still a great bargain at the proper list price for a new set. Decca included this "Ring" in their 33 CD "Great Operas from the Bayreuth Festival" box set which of course offers only the complete "Bayreuth Ten" operas performed at that festival. From a production point of view, that was a slapdash affair, with paper sleeves, minimal documentation, wrong timings and mis-dating of "Das Rheingold" and "Siegfried" as 1971 instead of the correct 1966, but the sound was still superb.

(No libretto, but that can be downloaded easily enough.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
The best recording ever made, the best crew and all singers at their prime. I was at Bayreuth 1966 and 1967 and I experienced all the performences and it was pure bliss (even thou the seats were terribly hard and unconfortable, but since then the chairs are new).
I highly recommend it to all mankind, it is a pity they did not film it, both scenery and acting was superb.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition)
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Decca Collectors Edition) by Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele (Audio CD - 2010)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews