These recordings from 1960-1963 have been mainstays of the catalogue since they were first issued. This initially surprised many listeners who had no reason to associate Klemperer with Wagner performances. However, the recordings soon found plenty of support from reviewers and now finally they have been re-mastered once more to join the series of Great Recordings of the Century in the alternative UK packaging for exactly the same issue as this one.
The performances certainly belong to that category as their prolonged life suggests but what about the recording quality?
The originals were inclined to be a bit thin on the high strings and had a 'wooden' texture to some of the full orchestral passages. The last remastering I owned before this one was made as recently as 1990 and was a considerable improvement and the greatness of the performances were less hindered than on previous issues.
The good news is that this latest remastering from 2002 is the best yet by some appreciable distance. There is now a glow over the strings, the brass are burnished and all trace of 'woodenness' has been eliminated so it is hard to imagine now the sound could be further improved.
The presentation includes good notes unlike other reissues on some other labels.
I would suggest that for those who are considering an upgrade to this latest version this should be worth the cost although quality of playback equipment will also play its part. For those who have yet to experience these famous recordings, this is now the best version to get and would be better than buying a cheaper second hand version of a previous issue.