Studio recording in stereo from
|Conductor: Daniel Barenboim|
|Grimgerde|| ||Birgitta Svendén|
|Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele||
Review by Henrik Boman|
After listening to this recording I realise a new standard for
the Ring is set. Barenboim's ring, and especially his Walküre and
Götterdämmerung, are the Twilight of the Old Recordings of the Ring.
Barenboim's interpretation emerges into a new world - as one of the
truly greatest recordings of the Ring ever done. Not meaning it's
actually better than the earlier recordings, I love Furtwängler's
flowing of music, Solti's temperament and orchestral power, but
this is a new way of playing, and listening to the Ring. Barenboim
combines the flow, the eternal aspect of the music with the power
of the specific scenes into a spectacular performance.
The orchestral sound is great, and different than other Bayreuth
recordings. Most significant, as for Barenboim's other Wagner
recordings, are the strings, played in large 'field of sound'
surrounding the scenes and the listener. They drag you into the
music. The way Barenboim treats the rhythm of the different
instruments is sensational, Furtwängler and Knappertsbusch changed
tempi often, but it didn't affect the rhythm, the eternal flow of
the instruments playing together. Maybe the modern technique made
it possible to record the Bayreuth sound, lacking in both Böhm's
and Boulez' recordings.
The singers are all very good, not the high standard as Birgit Nilsson
and Kirsten Flagstad, of course, but the cast is consistent. Poul
Elming as Siegmund and John Tomlinson as Wotan are both excellent.
The part of Brünnhilde is the most difficult because the spirit of
the great Birgit Nilsson flying over the role, but Anne Evans gives
her role the life and sweetness necessary for convincing that she is
But the really great singer in this cast is John Tomlinson, maybe
one of the greatest Wotans ever, if not the Greatest. A god with
possibilities to control destiny, but his own will and intentions
destroy the world of the gods, masterly put into the role by Tomlinson.
The power in his voice is magnificent: listen to the rage when killing
Hunding, and the power in the orchestra during the same scene. This is
not Neu Bayreuth, this is New Wagner.
The first act, maybe the best ever recorded, even better than Böhm's,
is absolutely astonishing. Elming and Secunde are the sister and
brother not falling in love but detecting the love they had always
known existed. Spring turns into summer then they declare their love
to each other. In the second act the 'Totesvergundigung' scene is
moving; no listener leaves this scene with his eyes completely try.
The power in Wotan's command then killing Hunding is rage, not dispair.
The fire curse in third act almost puts the world on fire, even before
Siegfried is born.
A truly great recording, recommended to everybody, especially if
you're an experienced Wagner listener. To put it in one word: BUY