Review by Jesús García|
I must admit that I am a new Wagnerian, so I would like to excuse myself
if my comments are not so good as some others that I have read in this
site. My first Ring has been the Solti one. After listening to some
other cycles I decided to buy this one about which I am going to write
a few words, because it has been a grateful experience.
Hans Knappertsbusch is, of course, the main argument of this recording.
Many things have been said about him as a true successor of the
authentic Wagnerian conducting school: his performances are usually
qualified as massive and teutonic and many times the experts have spoken
about his particular shifting of the tempi. In my particular oppinion
all these things can be appreciated in this recording from the first
chord the last one. I wouldn't like to reproduce here the comments of
Herr Franz Braun, president of the Knappertsbusch Society of München,
who comments on the recording in an excellent booklet contained in the
14 CD box. The alternative changes of tempi and the explosive power with
which the orchestra faces some passages contribute to create a mythical
and heroic atmosphere. From that point of view this recording is a
The cast is also outstanding:
Could someone find a better Wotan than Hans Hotter? If we agree that
this role is the stone on which the whole structure rests, we'll also
realize that Astrid Varnay and Wolfgang Windgassen give the recording a
tremendous consistency, well helped by other great singers: Paul Kuen's
Mime and Gustav Neidlinger's Alberich are simply references in his roles
together with Griendl's Hagen or Suthaus' Loge, to name a few, the most
Astrid Varnay's Brünnhilde is also a strong point in this recording.
She owned a great voice, very different to Nilsson or Flagstad (my
favourites), that allowed her to perform mezzo roles. I was willing to
listen to her in this role. This was truly satisfactory, perhaps I'd
rather hear her in Siegfried or Götterdämmerung. I find some points in
common with Mödl.
Windgassen is truly the best after-war Heldentenor. He chanced to sing
both Siegfrieds and Siegmund in a marathonian Bayreuth for him. I
wanted to listen to his Siegmund (usually commended to heavier
heldentenors, specially with Varnay's Walküre). His treatment of the
role was magnificent. His Siegfried, simply legendary.
Finally, I would invite you to listen to this Bayreuth's Siegfried. It
could change the mass oppinion about this opera. As I have read, it is
the less favoured of the Ring. So please, listen to it carefully and
you'll find one of the greatest Wagnerian love duets ever sung.
This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published
without the author's consent. I haven't been able to get in touch with him.
If the author reads this, please contact me as soon as possible. If you
don't want it here, I'll take it of the site immediately.