Studio recording in stereo
October 10-December 29, 1969, January 2-6, 1970
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Brünnhilde Helga Dernesch
Siegfried Helge Brilioth
Hagen Karl Ridderbusch
Alberich Zoltán Kelemen
Gunther Thomas Stewart
Gutrune Gundula Janowitz
Waltraute Christa Ludwig
Woglinde Liselotte Rebmann
Wellgunde Edda Moser
Floßhilde Anna Reynolds
1. Norne Lili Chookasian
2. Norne Christa Ludwig
3. Norne Catarina Ligendza
Berliner Philharmoniker
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Deutsche Grammophon, 415 155-2 4 CDs ADD
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Review by Charles E. Muntz

Like the other recordings in his cycle, the best thing about Karajan's Götterdämmerung is the orchestral playing of the Berlin Philharmonic, which is outstanding in every way. Karajan's conducting leaves much to be desired, however. It is overly polished, bland, and uninvolving, although there are a few nice, poetic moments.

Likewise, the cast leaves much to be desired. Helga Dernesch tries very hard as Brünnhilde, but she is well out of her depth and certainly no match for Nilsson. Helge Brilioth is an improvement over Jess Thomas, but still inadequate as Siegfried. Janowitz (Gutrune), Kelemen (Alberich) and Ridderbusch (Hagen) are all better than adequate, but there are better singers of the roles on many other recordings.

The best singers are Thomas Stewart as Gunther and Christa Ludwig as Waltraute. Stewart takes what is normally a most unrewarding role and makes Gunther into a truly interesting character. But he can be heard with a better cast for Karl Böhm. Ludwig’s Waltraute is scared, desperate and brilliantly sung, but she is just as good for Solti.

In short, the few strengths this recording has can be found in other recordings without many of the failings. I really can’t recommend this to any but a Karajan nut or a Ring enthusiast who has to have every recording of the work.

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.