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10 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Ring
I bought this Ring because it was so cheap and only to obtain the Furtwangler Die Walkure. The Furtwangler Walkure is "astounding".
I must say that I am impressed by the quality of the whole cycle. I have a few of the others on different labels and think that these pressings are spot on. I am steadily leaning towards live performances even though they may include...
Published 14 months ago by STANISLAW BRAGIEL

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars STRANGE BREW
This is a very odd set. The performances are undoubtedly interesting from an historic perspective and the audio could be a lot worse. As an introductory set or as an alternative choice, it is completely satisfactory, especially in mind of the price. The strange thing is that this is simply a generic box, with an sticker listing the contents. What we have inside appears to...
Published 24 months ago by threewiseninjas


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Ring, 28 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I bought this Ring because it was so cheap and only to obtain the Furtwangler Die Walkure. The Furtwangler Walkure is "astounding".
I must say that I am impressed by the quality of the whole cycle. I have a few of the others on different labels and think that these pressings are spot on. I am steadily leaning towards live performances even though they may include bumps and coughs and fluffed notes but really "who cares". In a live performance that's exactly what you get especially that lady in row G37 who is trying to quietly take a lolly rapped in cellophane out of her bag and does it in the "quietest" moment of the opera.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An historical super-bargain, 7 Jun. 2013
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I cannot believe that there are complaints in some reviews about the fact that this is a compilation of classic 50's recordings. For absurdly little money, in excellent mono sound, you get a complete "Ring" made up of two live Bayreuth "Gesamtkunstwerken" from 1952 and another from 1953, all conducted by Keilberth and the celebrated 1954 studio recording of "Die Walküre" conducted by Furtwängler. What more do they want?

In any case, their style is hardly very disparate and they have a number of great singers in common - singers who also feature on "Ring" cycles from the same era at Bayreuth in productions conducted by Clemens Krauss; it is those live recordings (preferably remastered by Pristine but also available reasonably in inferior sound on Opera d'Oro) which form the most viable alternative to this collection. Although the casting of the chief roles is not consistent throughout, there are advantages to this: you get to hear Hermann (for some strange reason wrongly called "Werner" here) Uhde's noble, nervy Wotan and his Gunther; you may hear two of the very greatest exponents of Brünnhilde in Martha Mödl and Astrid Varnay, a younger Wolfgang Windgassen in clear, heroic voice (but very uncertain, rhythmically speaking, in "Nothung"), Hans Hotter in his prime totally commanding as Wotan/the Wanderer and a number of other classic assumptions such as Gustav Neidlinger's justly famous Alberich. Max Lorenz came out of retirement to sing Siegfried in "Götterdämmerung" and is labouring a little, but is he still very convincing. Erich Witte's Loge is unsteady and ungrateful of tone, just as he is for Krauss, but again very experienced and characterful and apart from the biggest surprise to me, being Uhde's Wotan, it is also interesting to hear the excellence of comparatively unknown singers such as contralto Mila Bugarinovic as a mighty Erda. Resident Bayreuth cavemen Greindl and Weber are much in evidence in the big, growling, Wagnerian bass roles and pleasant little bonuses pop up such as Rita Streich's Woodbird or Inge Borkh's febrile Freia. The Rhinemaidens are the best I've heard anywhere. These were standard company singers in their day; every one would be a star nowadays.

Keilberth is not as exciting a "Ring" conductor as Krauss but he brings out detail and sustains an overview so proceedings never feel bitty or drag.

The sound is decent mono without distortion; I hear little substantial difference between the re-mastered Naxos issue of the Furtwängler "Walküre" and what we have here. If you are tolerant of mono and desirous of hearing a medley of superlative Bayreuth singers from the post-war Golden Age, you should buy this terrific bargain. You might also like to check out the other two Zyx Wagner super-bargain sets:
Wagner: Opern II-Operas II (Gesamt-Complete)
Wagner: Opern/Operas.(Gesamt/Complete)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ring among Rings, 4 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
The Furtwangler Walkure is a well known benchmark, and the sound here is at least as good as the EMI issue. The 1952-3 Keilberth Ring from Bayreuth is simply stunning, to my ears better than the1955 cycle on Testament, sweeter and more intimate (and about a twentieth of the price). A door-busting bargain by any standards: great singers (some the greatest ever, including Hotter in his absolute prime) with a great conductor on top form and the authentic sound and atmosphere of Bayreuth in the 50s -- all this for 70 pence a disc. How can you go wrong? Buy it, without hesitation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent ring, 9 July 2013
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I first discovered ZYX when I bought the '51 Parsifal from them,not wanting to pay a lot for what I'd always believed to be an inferior recording.How wrong the pundits were,it was a Parsifal I love,and a great favourite,with excellent sound--so given this experience,i thought I'd try this composite Ring.Similarly,not at all disappointed.3 parts by Keilberth,1 by Furtwangler(the Furtwangler on Naxos alone is close to the total cost of this whole Ring),great singers on the whole,Bayreuth(the ONLY venue,for me at least),and can be comparable to Krauss' great cycle.Yes,I think ZYX jumped on the bicentenary bandwagon,and grouped 4 disparate recordings together,but so what?
This would be great for the newcomer who wants a taste of Wagner's masterwork,and is certainly of extreme interest to us older,more dedicated listeners.And so much for so little...the age of miracles is not passed...now if only ZYX could put out a cheap Krauss Ring,that'd be something,as Orfeo are charging over £60.What makes them think they'll ever attract the merely curious with that kind of pricing?Folly,thy name is Orfeo(or greed).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not without flaws, but not without its charms either, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I have managed, somehow, to live with just the one recording of The Ring, Sir Georg Solti's magnificent studio effort, forever, whilst merrily gathering many recordings of Wagners' other works when I suddenly decided I should go for another full Ring cycle. A search later, a baffling range of cycles appeared for various prices, different orchestras, singers, conductors e.t.c. As soon as I saw this set for just £11 I had to have it, and without reading a single review put it straight into the basket and off I went. The initial overwhelming from so many CDs for such a price soon evaporated, however. I soon came to the conclusion that most of it, Die Walkure excepting, was not reasonably listenable. This review, however, is being written over 2 months later, and after many re-listens, how I've changed my tune. Mostly. The Die Walkure needs no explanation, other than this short explanation. Wilhelm Furtwangler, 1954, in the studio with Modl, Rysanek and Suthaus to keep him company, produced a testament recording to this most magnificent of operas. Slower than the Solti recording, and yet it all seems so right. With singers of this class, legato takes on a whole new meaning.
The Gotterdammerung I never had a problem with. This is a perfectly reasonable recording, gesamtaufnahme, from 1952. The greatest asset, of course, is that powerhouse of a tenor, Max Lorenz, making it all seem so effortless. The recording is clear, with relatively few coughs present, which is a first, surely. I listen this a fair bit, along side my studio copy. This says it all.
The Siegfried, under Keilberth, as is all the live copies, from 1953, is where everything changed. I couldn't stand it when i brought it. Yet, just today, sat outside in this warm April sunshine, armed with my cheap personal CD player, i took outside Act II of this Siegfried, and before I knew it, forty minutes had gone. I was suspended in the aura of 1950's Bayreuth authenticity. This is how these music dramas should be done. The occasional stage noises and some eejit blowing his nose aside, though, the singers are nearly always clear, the orchestra a bit on the tinny side, but these things fade into insignificance, if you let them.
And then there was Das Rheingold. This though, is where the miracle stops. It is a slight shame. The sound just isn't quite there. Distant, nearly always. You can get away with it, but I just find it all rather too taxing. But. A big but. This set really is a must. Siegfried and the Gotterdammerung are excellent for live performances, full of passion, and the Walkure is a benchmark recording.
I can get over most imperfections, mostly because of my unerring trust in Wagner and the Bayreuth ideal. The Rheingold is a tad too far for me, but some people seem to be able to put up with a fair bit of audio strangeness, and so may not pose a problem. The standout recordings thought, are the Gotterdammerung, and the Walkure, with Siegfried as a new found gem. Purchase without fail.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Der Ring, 3 Dec. 2013
By 
A. M. Campbell (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I own several versions of The Ring, and lots of 'bleeding chunks,' so why buy another? Of course I was tempted by the price, and attracted particularly by the Furtwangler Walkure. I already have the Clemens Krause Ring on MP3 (also an Amazon bargain) and can't pretend to be expert enough to hear much difference between Krause and Keilberth, perhaps time will reveal various features. So far I have only played Act II of Valkyrie, and have not been disappointed, it's really rather special.
The recorded quality is acceptable, it's the usual thing that once you're used to it you no longer notice. Voices are mostly fine and you do lose orchestral range and depth compared to Barenboim or Solti, but that doesn't spoil the enjoyment.
Wagner enthusiasts would want to possess this set for its' historical value, newcomers may find it less gripping in places. Let me say to anyone wanting to get to know these marvellous works, your enjoyment will increase ten-fold if you obtain a libretto. You'll be surprised to find Wotan's not an old bore, everything he says, or sings, has meaning. It makes such a difference to know who's singing and what they're singing about. You'll even be surprised to hear how economical Wagner is with his storytelling, and how quickly the pages turn. Another recommendation is to obtain a copy of at least one book giving the story and background: Ernest Newman's 'Wagner Nights' probably remains the best in this category, and for wit and wisdom Shaw's 'Perfect Wagnerite' never fails to enlighten and amuse. I don't want to give anyone the impression that you must work at Wagner to get anything out of him, it depends on how far you want to go, but he and his works are endlessly fascinating. You might even try to work out how such an amoral and selfish creature managed to create some of the greatest music ever written.
I didn't intend to ride the hobbyhorse tonight, all that needs saying is this set is a wonderful bargain, buy and enjoy it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars STRANGE BREW, 10 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
This is a very odd set. The performances are undoubtedly interesting from an historic perspective and the audio could be a lot worse. As an introductory set or as an alternative choice, it is completely satisfactory, especially in mind of the price. The strange thing is that this is simply a generic box, with an sticker listing the contents. What we have inside appears to be the discs from four separate issues of the individual operas supplied in transparent vinyl sleeves and with absolutely no notes of any kind! It's like somebody discovered a load of dead stock of the individual operas and thought, I wonder if we can put these together and market them as a bona-fide Ring Cycle, which this most definitely is NOT!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What recordings are you reviewing here?, 8 Feb. 2013
By 
This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
I ordered this set and was very pleasantly surprised. It is a very fine, extremely well sung and well-recorded set. The Walkure is conducted by Furtwangler, the rest by Keilberth. Excellent buy. Every RING fanatic should purchase this set, even though it is not an "integral" one.
Mr. Gibbon...? Which RING set are you reviewing? Coates does not conduct here at all. And these Beyreuth recordings date from the fifties NOT electrical from the 20s.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Invaluable Historical Issue, 15 Dec. 2012
By 
J. Gibbons (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Audio CD)
This issue of the acoustic abridged ring was recorded in London and sung in English. It is, of course, an invaluable historical document.

For the most part, the conductor is Albert Coates. He was a superb Wagnerian and directs a performance full of forward movement and dramatic intensity. Robert Radford and Tudor Davies are very fine singers and Florence Austral was one of the greatest dramatic sopranos of her generation; indeed she is in many ways the equal of her great contemporary - Frida Leider. Her final scene from Gotterdammerung is even finer here than in her later electrical remake.

The issue has been completed with recordings of orchestral extracts from the Ring operas conducted by Landon Ronald, Eugene Goossens and Percy Pitt. The latter are very interesting as they are by a man who worked with Hans Richter at Covent Garden and, therefore, are a direct link with early Bayreuth performances.

The remastering is well done but the notes are limited to a plot summary (in German only).

An invaluable issue.

Sadly - Amazon added an earlier version of this review to a Zyx issue of a complete Ring from the 1950's (as well as with the correct Cantus issue). Apologies for any confusion that may have been caused!

PS - Amazon have also added the Cantus reissue of the 1928 Ring extracts recorded in Paris on the Pathe label to this section. I have therefore been forced to review it under its Gebhardt listing (a deleted issue) where it can be found by anyone interested!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ring Complete?, 11 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Gesamt / Complete) (Audio CD)
This was excellent value and it does offer a complete Ring but only 3/4 by Keilberth - the rest is the great Furtwangler Valkyrie. Wonderful though this is, when I bought the set I assumed that there was not a matching Keilberth Valkrie and only after I got it did I find out - albeit at higher cost - that there was a complete 52/3 mono Keilberth cycle.
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