Author Topic: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...  (Read 148887 times)

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Larry Rinkel

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2007, 12:06:42 PM »
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:



It has a strong cast (Windgassen, Hotter, Varnay, Fischer-Dieskau), stellar reviews, a nice box, and comes a a bargain price.  But I've never heard of it.

It's a very good performance and supposedly the monaural sound has been improved from previous transfers. But the orchestra sounds very distant, with the singers correspondingly prominent, and that may put some people off.

Offline Anne

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2007, 12:26:26 PM »
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:



It has a strong cast (Windgassen, Hotter, Varnay, Fischer-Dieskau), stellar reviews, a nice box, and comes a a bargain price.  But I've never heard of it.

I have Clemens Krauss' Ring from Bayreuther Festpiele 1953. My pictures are different than the one you show.  I don't know if you are going to believe me but I put it on the shelf as I was busy with other things and promptly forgot about it until now.  Do you want the names of the singers or do you have them all already?

Offline Shrunk

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2007, 04:32:27 AM »
I have Clemens Krauss' Ring from Bayreuther Festpiele 1953. My pictures are different than the one you show.  I don't know if you are going to believe me but I put it on the shelf as I was busy with other things and promptly forgot about it until now.  Do you want the names of the singers or do you have them all already?

Oh, believe me, I've done the same thing more than once!  It's particuarly easy to do with box sets.

The cast listing is readily available on the internet, so I won't need that.  However, if you do get around to listening to it, your impressions would be appreciated.

Offline Anne

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2007, 04:42:25 AM »
Will do.  Thanks for understanding.  I had heard people saying they liked it on a different BB than this one which is why I had ordered it.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 06:11:33 AM by Anne »

Hector

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2007, 05:43:38 AM »
So help me Hannah, I'll never comprehend the fascination and high rating of the Solti Ring.

This is a studio recording! Does everybody know what actually happens in that studio? Engineers manipulate levers and buttons to correct volume, tempi and anything else they judge to be 'wrong'. Then after each take the singer, conductor and anybody else interested, listen to the take. The soprano is not happy with that note she sang and asks for a retake. And on and on it goes. This performance comes out of scientists laboratory, not even close to a life performance on stage with life audience. And this research project is supposed to rule them all? Gimme a break!  ::)

Me neither and for more reasons than you mention and which I am not going to rehearse yet again.

Nobody has mentioned Furtwangler at La Scala! ???

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2007, 06:02:21 AM »
Me neither and for more reasons than you mention and which I am not going to rehearse yet again.

Nobody has mentioned Furtwangler at La Scala! ???

The sound quality of the Furtwängler La Scala outing is such that I don't think that it comes close to being a first recommendation.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2007, 06:16:03 AM »
Me neither and for more reasons than you mention and which I am not going to rehearse yet again.

Oh, please do. I'm sure we all await your insights.
 
It's a recording. Inevitably it is a simulation. I consider the Solti Ring no more or less a "laboratory experiment" or "research project" than the way Horowitz would listen to his recordings and assert that he liked measure 45 from take 2 and measure 46 from take 5, and it was left to the recording engineer to splice little bits of plastic tape and create a performance. Or for that matter the way Frln. Schwartzkopf was called in to provide the high C's that Mme. Flagstad could no longer produce with confidence for the Furtwaengler Tristan. Of course engineering takes place during a recording session. The choice of microphones and their placement has as much to do with the recorded sound as anything else. And a live performance, with its inevitable flubs and audience noise, can be much more annoying captured on a CD than a well-edited studio recording. (Personally, I hate hearing audience applause after a so-called "live" recording.) The result of any recording has to be judged solely on its own merits, and when I want a live Ring, I plunk down my $$$ for a seat at the Metropolitan Opera.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 06:24:56 AM by Larry Rinkel »

Hector

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2007, 04:44:53 AM »
Oh, please do. I'm sure we all await your insights.
 
It's a recording. Inevitably it is a simulation. I consider the Solti Ring no more or less a "laboratory experiment" or "research project" than the way Horowitz would listen to his recordings and assert that he liked measure 45 from take 2 and measure 46 from take 5, and it was left to the recording engineer to splice little bits of plastic tape and create a performance. Or for that matter the way Frln. Schwartzkopf was called in to provide the high C's that Mme. Flagstad could no longer produce with confidence for the Furtwaengler Tristan. Of course engineering takes place during a recording session. The choice of microphones and their placement has as much to do with the recorded sound as anything else. And a live performance, with its inevitable flubs and audience noise, can be much more annoying captured on a CD than a well-edited studio recording. (Personally, I hate hearing audience applause after a so-called "live" recording.) The result of any recording has to be judged solely on its own merits, and when I want a live Ring, I plunk down my $$$ for a seat at the Metropolitan Opera.

Oh, I see, you like your Wagner to bore you.

I see that you have read John Culshaw.

"Laboratory experiment"? What tosh from the toshmeister general!

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2007, 05:09:05 AM »
Oh, I see, you like your Wagner to bore you.

I see that you have read John Culshaw.

"Laboratory experiment"? What tosh from the toshmeister general!

Look, why don't you cut out the personalized crap and answer a direct question when put to you? If you something to say about the Solti set or any other, say it, and don't resort to cheap personal attacks.

Hector

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2007, 05:14:05 AM »
Look, why don't you cut out the personalized crap and answer a direct question when put to you? If you something to say about the Solti set or any other, say it, and don't resort to cheap personal attacks.

After you.

"Laboratory experiment"? Is that what recordings are?

I really do not think my opinions on Solti/Decca would be of any serious interest to you with opinions like that.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2007, 05:42:07 AM »
After you.

"Laboratory experiment"? Is that what recordings are?

I really do not think my opinions on Solti/Decca would be of any serious interest to you with opinions like that.


You're not even reading me accurately. It was Uffeviking, not I, who complained that the Solti Ring was a "research project." I said:

<I consider the Solti Ring no more or less a "laboratory experiment" or "research project"> than any other recording in which splicing has been used. The fact that I put quotation marks around those phrases is an obvious indication that I was treating these words ironically. So if you have something to say about Solti, either say it, or stop going on about your refusal to cast your pearls among us swine.

Offline sound67

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2007, 09:46:32 AM »
Solti.
"Vivaldi didn't compose 500 concertos. He composed the same concerto 500 times" - Igor Stravinsky

"Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours." - Norman Lebrecht

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2007, 02:40:31 PM »
Some posts here are utterly ridiculous. So a studio recording is a scientific project? I got news for you, guess what, live recordings aren't spontaneous either. How many times you get a supposedly "live" recording and in the back there are often 2 or 3 or 4 different recording dates? They piece that stuff together so you get the best of the takes. Just to dismiss a recording because it's studio is plain stupid.

If I were to keep one Ring it would still be Solti. I don't hear any of the shortcomings others here hear.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2007, 02:54:15 PM »
I posed the same question to Sarge some time ago.  He was very helpful and here was his take:

You've come to the right place, Bill. I'll try to talk you out of it 

Seriously, do you know what you're getting into? Have you heard the Ring before...at least parts of it? What other German late Romantic operas do you know?

Unfortunately the three best Rings (combining great sound, thrilling casts, excellent conducting) all cost $160 or more: Solti, Karajan, Keiberth. Even some of the great historic sets like Krauss and Furtwängler (with their sonic limitations) don't come cheap (around 70, 80 bucks). The modern live sets from Bayreuth cost around 100 (Barenboim, Böhm) but you have to put up with stage noise, prompters and casts that can sound drained and tired near the end of a long evening. They are must hears for Wagnerites but not ideal as an introduction.

So unless you want to spend big bucks (in which case go for Solti...an excellent beginner's Ring) what I recommend is getting the Levine Ring from Amazon Canada. It only cost $40. The sound is excellent (maybe a tad bright...those Valkyries can be piercing), the big moments are impressive, Levine's conducting is monumental. The cast, while not ideal, will do.

http://www.amazon.ca/Ring-Nibelungen-Wagner-Levine/dp/B000GYI2U0/ref=sr_1_1/702-3988384-6905650?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1181255238&sr=8-1

For another twenty dollars, and if you can put up with less than ideal sound (good mono) the Krauss really is one of the best Rings (classic cast, really exciting conducting (like Böhm, his tempos are on the fast side). My feeling, though, is that you'd appreciate Krauss more once you've heard a modern recording first.

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Ring/dp/B000E5KQL4/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4414182-4492853?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1181255300&sr=1-1

Sarge

and this side note about the Furtwängler cycle:

Many think Furtwängler reigns supreme. For the sheer sense of profound, epic tragedy, he really has no equal. But among the most famous historic Rings, Furtwängler's two (Rome and La Scala) have the worst sound. Krauss sounds substantially better. Even Moralt gets better sound (although incredibly shoddy production and packaging). The LPs were almost unlistenable. But recent remasterings have really helped. You can check out the sound of the Gebhardt La Scala here:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/2176361/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist

and Gebhardt Rome here:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4528018/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist

I still need to purchase a set, but if forced to buy one right now based on sampling, I would go with the Solti.

PS Hope this saved you some keyboard time Sarge.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 02:57:22 PM by Bogey »
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Larry Rinkel

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2007, 02:57:36 PM »
Some posts here are utterly ridiculous. So a studio recording is a scientific project? I got news for you, guess what, live recordings aren't spontaneous either. How many times you get a supposedly "live" recording and in the back there are often 2 or 3 or 4 different recording dates? They piece that stuff together so you get the best of the takes. Just to dismiss a recording because it's studio is plain stupid.

If I were to keep one Ring it would still be Solti. I don't hear any of the shortcomings others here hear.

Of course you're correct. The Solti is deservedly a classic. Regarding so-called live recordings: a few years ago the Met issued a "live" DVD of Meistersinger under Levine with Ben Heppner. I saw one of the performances in the house and heard the broadcast. Heppner was cracking on every A in the Prize Song. You think that went on the DVD? I also was at the NY Philharmonic when Kurt Masur gave his last performance, accompanying Mutter in the Beethoven. The audience was told to "hold its applause" because the performance was going to be recorded (though why anyone would want such a disaster is beyond me). How much do you want to bet that this "live" recording didn't include the 10-minute coughing spell from one lusty audience member in the middle of the first movement? Give me a break!  :D
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 04:56:12 PM by Larry Rinkel »

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2007, 04:40:51 PM »
Many think Furtwängler reigns supreme. For the sheer sense of profound, epic tragedy, he really has no equal. But among the most famous historic Rings, Furtwängler's two (Rome and La Scala) have the worst sound. Krauss sounds substantially better. Even Moralt gets better sound (although incredibly shoddy production and packaging). The LPs were almost unlistenable. But recent remasterings have really helped. You can check out the sound of the Gebhardt La Scala here:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/2176361/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist

and Gebhardt Rome here:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/4528018/rk/classic/rsk/hitlist


I can tell you this, the Gebhardt La Scala cycle has okay sound, calling it listenable sonically is stretching it a bit. Imagine someone recorded his neighbor through a brick wall and you get pretty much what it sounds like.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2007, 05:06:42 PM »
I can tell you this, the Gebhardt La Scala cycle has okay sound, calling it listenable sonically is stretching it a bit. Imagine someone recorded his neighbor through a brick wall and you get pretty much what it sounds like.

Sadly, the La Scala Ring is bound for sonic purgatory no matter who issues it. The source material is just too limited. Still wouldn't write it off, however.

What I'd really like to see is EMI go in and remaster the RAI Ring and bring it up to date. Sound is fairly good to start with and a 24bit job might do wonders.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2007, 12:08:22 AM »

What I'd really like to see is EMI go in and remaster the RAI Ring and bring it up to date. Sound is fairly good to start with and a 24bit job might do wonders.


  Yes as much as I love Furtwangler's RAI Ring I would like to add that the brass section is just dreadfull- so they are going to have to do something about that as well!!

  There is another point however that I would like to discuss if I may-  and that is that the Ring should be seen and not just heard.  Remember that Wagner was ultimately a composer of the theater and he spent years agonizing over his opera house in Bayreuth which would stage the Ring.  Since we are talking about ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL and have discussed in length various CD recordings competeing for the title of ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL I would like to hear your views on DVDs, television productions etc., perhaps even live performances that you would call a Ring TO RULE THEM ALL.  I have only seen the MET LEVINE DVD which I have enjoyed immensely, though I am not sure if it is supreme when compared to other recordings.

  marvin 

  marvin
« Last Edit: October 01, 2007, 01:08:58 AM by marvinbrown »

Offline David Zalman

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2007, 04:24:06 AM »
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:



It has a strong cast (Windgassen, Hotter, Varnay, Fischer-Dieskau), stellar reviews, a nice box, and comes a a bargain price.  But I've never heard of it.

That performance is superb, but it's for Ring "veterans" only who can mentally "fill in" what's missing -- in this case, the orchestra in large part.  The mono recording gets the singer-orchestra balance all wrong with the singers "on top" and "up-front", and the orchestra "under", as if it were an Italian opera, and with Wagner -- especially his works from the Ring on -- that's the Kiss of Death as the orchestra is the principal voice.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 04:44:30 AM by David Zalman »

Offline David Zalman

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2007, 04:31:29 AM »
Thanks to all for the recommendations. On balance it seems as though the Solti/Decca set is a good place to start. My reason for getting (or anticipating getting) only one cycle is partly financial but also due to the sheer size of the thing. At 14 CDs (or thereabouts depending on the recording) it will take me a long time to get to know just a single cycle before I even thought about a second.

You've made the right choice.  If one set is to be owned, it's the Solti as, overall, it's the most richly satisfying of all -- musically, dramatically, and audio-wise.