- Orchestra: Various Artists
- Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwngler
- Composer: Richard Wagner
- Audio CD (2 Oct. 2006)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 3
- Format: Box set
- Label: Naxos Historical
- ASIN: B000I2IUPM
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 162,583 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Wagner: Die Walkure Box set
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
La Walkyrie, opéra 3 actes / Martha Mödl (Brünnhilde), Leonie Rysanek (Sieglinde), Ferdinand Frantz (Wotan), Ludwig Suthaus (Siegmund), Margarete Klose (Fricka), Gottlob Frick (Hunding)... - Orchestre Philharmonique de Vienne, dir. Wilhelm Furtwängler (1954)
Top Customer Reviews
Martha Modl is my favourite Brunnhilde: with Kirsten Flagstad I'm always waiting for the sublime moments when her voice radiates its effulgent beauty, but Modl grips throughout. There is an urgency to her very likeable voice that bears witness to what a fine actress she was. One fault in her performance is that when she first enters she sounds rather like Mrs Thatcher swinging her handbag, but by the last act she transcends Flagstad. Ferdinand Frantz is magnificent, though at times in the last act he sounds a bit too cheerful. Gottlob Frick as Hunding has a suitably dark, greasy voice. I prefer the live Scala recording's Hilde Konetzni as Sieglinde to Leonie Rysanek here, but there's no denying that when she calls out for Siegmund near the end of the second act her terror is utterly palpable. Suthaus sings with great craft and feeling, though he does not sound as youthful as his character should. Overall the cast is very strong, but the Vienna Philharmonic under Furtwangler's direction is above all what makes this recording essential to anyone who loves the music of Wagner.
Furtwangler's live recordings of the Ring are stratospheric (the Rome one is my favourite), but these CDs have a much better sound quality and the autumnal splendour of a late Rembrandt.
Now sixty years old and still the favourite studio recording of many, despite being recorded in mono, its appearance on the Pristine label in Ambient Stereo with greatly improved sound renews its claims to being the best version ever made.
How does one review afresh a recording which has been picked over by so many knowledgeable critics over so long a time? It is by now almost traditional to regret the original mono and of course the fact that it was the first and only completed recording in the projected tetralogy for EMI, as Furtwängler died only two months later.
Hitherto, the Naxos re-mastering has been the best available but direct comparison reveals that the new Pristine is a revelation, with much richer, deeper resonance, a sense of space around it and much enhanced clarity; this is immediately apparent from the moment the scurrying semi-quavers on the double basses strike up to depict Siegmund's desperate flight from his pursuers. There is still a little hiss in the upper end of the sound spectrum but its removal would undoubtedly have compromised its immediacy and removed vital frequencies; otherwise, this is one of the most significant and successful of the restorations engineer Andrew Rose has undertaken.
While it is possible to debate the relative merits of his singers, few would dispute that this is one of the best played and conducted performances on record.Read more ›
Furtwängler had recorded the complete Cycle ‘live’ in Rome the previous year at the studios of Radiotelevisione Italiana, actually in one act segments, for broadcast purposes and many of those artists are also heard here. Unsurprisingly the Rome recording quality is inferior to that on this 3CD set that has been transferred for Naxos by Mark Obert-Thorn. For many, this will be almost as great a recommendation as the performers. The split between the last two CDs comes after Scene IV of Act II.
The orchestra is the Vienna Philharmonic and the cast includes Martha Mōdl, 1912-2001, as Brünnhilde; the youthful Leonie Rysanek, 1926-98, Sieglinde; Ludwig Suthaus, 1906-71, Siegmund; Gottlieb Frick, 1906-94, Hunding; Ferdinand Frantz, 1906-59, Wotan, and Margarete Klose, 1902-68 as Fricka. The Valkyries are Ruth Siewert, Erika Kõth, 1925-89, Hertha Töpper, b. 1924, Gerda Schreyer, Judith Hellwig, 1906-93, Dagmar Schmedes, 1896-1987, Johanna Blatter, 1902-65, and Dagmar Hermann, 1918-97.
Furtwängler’s conception of this work is impassioned and deeply felt right from the Act I Prelude and, even allowing for the inevitable deficiencies of the recording, he obtains an intense response from the orchestra and singers. He husbands his singers’ vocal resources and so helps to get the best from them. His moulding and shaping of the overall orchestral sound is not at the expense of ignoring the interactions of orchestral soloists.Read more ›