Review by Charles E. Muntz|
With Götterdämmerung Karl Böhm no longer has the principal vocal
weakness of his cast--Theo Adam--as one of the vocalists. And
generally, this Götterdämmerung is of a very high standard. Its
pinnacle is Birgit Nilsson, whose voice positively gleams and
carries over the orchestra with effortless resplendency throughout
the recording, even at the very end of the Immolation scene. Her
performance here is to be preferred by a slight margin over that
which she gave for Solti.
Her Siegfried, the veteran Wolfgang Windgassen, brings a tremendous
amount of musical knowledge and intelligence to the role, even though
he does not sound as fresh as he does for Krauss, or as consistently
inspired and vivid as he does for Solti.
The rest of the cast is mixed. Josef Greindl is rather nasal as Hagen;
his interpretation is mean, whereas Gottlob Frick’s is one of maniacal
evil. Frick also has a better, blacker voice. Greindl is better heard
on Krauss. Gustav Neidlinger is a desperate, evil Alberich, perfectly
Thomas Stewart on the other hand is a resonant, well-sung and intelligent
Gunther, perhaps not as noble and tragic as Fischer-Dieskaus, but an
excellent achievement anyway. Dvoráková sounds rather old and
characterless as Gutrune. Martha Mödl, once a fine heroic soprano in
her own right, is rather interesting, but unsteady as Waltraute.
It is difficult to fault either the Rhinemaidens or the Norns, although
there are better ones elsewhere on record. The chorus is superb, easily
among the best to have recorded this opera. The orchestra is also fine,
but lacking in the brass.
Böhm's conducting, as with the rest of the cycle, relies mainly on fast
tempos, generating a lot of surface tension. But he does not generally
delve into the music and bring out the full emotive power and force of it.
The great variety of color, the light and shade of the frequently seems
to escapes him. One gets a sense that Böhm really does not have a feel
for this music, as Solti, Furtwängler, Krauss or Knappertsbusch do.
As with the rest of the cycle the sound is good, but lacks detail. It
is a very good recording, worth hearing for Nilsson especially, but Solti
is likely to give you a far greater impression of Götterdämmerung.
This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published
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