Author Topic: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...  (Read 157574 times)

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Offline Belcher

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #900 on: October 28, 2015, 08:43:45 PM »
Testament.

The recording quality, in comparison with today, is irrelevant in the face of such incandescent performances, and I'm no Wagnerite!

However, at a tenner a disc it might be best to 'suck it and see' first.
http://www.loveandbuyit.net/

It worked for me. Thanks for the help

Offline BitPerfectRichard

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #901 on: January 07, 2016, 01:21:37 PM »
Solti Ring
the ultimate remaster now available from Decca Esoteric for a mere $800............hurry only 1,000 available  ;)
 
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/Feb10/Wagner_Ring_ESSD90021-34.htm
 
More info:
http://www.esoteric.jp/products/esoteric/essd90021_34/indexe.html

I have it :)  It is a *stunning* remaster and the performance (if that is the correct word for a studio recording of an opera) is rightly legendary.  BTW, the limited edition of 1,000 boxed sets sold out in about 3 months.

I also have the Levine cycle on CD, and the Chéreau/Boulez on DVD.  They both have their strengths and I won't knock them.  I have Karajan's Rheingold and Gergiev's Walküre as individual operas.  Karajan's in particular seems to me to be very well cast (or maybe just well conducted, if you prefer).  Gergiev conjures an absorbing soundscape which holds my rapt attention for reasons I cannot convincingly explain.
"I did play all the right notes ... just not in the right order!"  -  Eric Morecambe

Offline knight66

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #902 on: January 08, 2016, 10:49:38 PM »
That all made for an interesting read. Of course, high-end Hi-Fi is essential or there would be little improvement over what we customarily hear. I have the set, but tend more to jump about other conductor's rings, including some historic ones.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline BitPerfectRichard

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #903 on: January 09, 2016, 09:39:10 AM »
.... Of course, high-end Hi-Fi is essential or there would be little improvement over what we customarily hear....

That's an interesting debate, although this is not a good place for it.  I am in the high-end audio business, so I do have skin in that game.  In any case, I don't envisage anyone who is not a serious audiophile laying out the big moolah needed to acquire this particular set  ???!

.... I ... tend more to jump about other conductor's rings....

The thought does strike me ... to do otherwise would seem to require a 16-hour listening session :)!
"I did play all the right notes ... just not in the right order!"  -  Eric Morecambe

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #904 on: February 09, 2016, 07:53:02 PM »
Ring-lovers in the vicinity of New York will want to see this new exhibit at the JP Morgan Library:

http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/wagners-ring
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline amw

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #905 on: March 29, 2016, 01:18:38 PM »
I listened to the complete cycle (all operas first listens) over several days as "background music"—I've found I can't stand Wagner when I try to listen as primary activity, but the background thing actually worked fairly well and helped me absorb the music better. *shrugs*

Random, disorganised thoughts—I have to leave in about 10 minutes:
- There is a lot of filler. I feel like a professional librettist would have cut Wagner's text in half, but of course he couldn't let any two-bit poet do that to ~his baby~. The music for this filler is ok, but rarely great; I can see why people like to cut bits and pieces out of these operas
- At the same time there is definitely great music. The opening prelude to No. 1 sets the quality expectations immediately by being excellent, and there's more on its level than I expected.
- The plot doesn't make much sense. Ok, it's an opera, and I guess you have to see it live. I still have no idea what the ring actually does, for instance. Or why the Gods fall at the end when they don't even do anything in the last opera, or, etc, etc.
- The whole "leitmotif" thing is pretty much successful I think—whenever one of them showed up I could usually remember where I'd heard it last if not where it had originated.
- At the same time... I dunno. I found that a few of them started to really grate with repetition. (Maybe that happens to everyone.) In particular, this one:

It was a cool theme the first 70 times or so, but at some point in the middle of Siegfried I was like "ok, we get it." Maybe it's that it always seems to appear unchanged apart from pitch level—it never really develops. (Sometimes the last three notes are a third lower, but thats not a development, just an alternate version)
- I have been partially spoiled by references to Wagner's music in other works. Looking through the scores I could easily see "oh, that's this thing from there" and move on. But in listening, every time what I think is the "fate motive" appears

I expected the timpani strokes to follow. They finally showed up in the Siegfried's Funeral March section, and then I expected the last movement of Shostakovich 15, which obviously didn't happen. Also, ever since listening to Souvenir de Bayreuth I am incapable of taking the Rhinemaidens theme or the Siegmund/Sieglinde love duet thing/carousel music from Walküre seriously.
- The end is very effective musically and I have no complaints. Dramatically, I wonder, again because I haven't seen it. Like ok Brünnhilde dies, Rhinemaidens get their gold back, Hagen dies... all the gods die, offstage? Alberich just... does his thing? He doesn't die or indeed get any kind of comeuppance at all? The Gibichungs keep being boring, but they are like, our concluding perspective or something, because we are now in the ~age of humanity~ and stuff. Idk. I wonder why the last opera was named Götterdämmerung at all instead of Siegfrieds Tod as it was originally, considering that the death of the gods occupies 2 minutes of a 4-hour opera and is sort of anticlimactic.
- Did I mention that the Gibichungs are boring? Other people who are boring: Siegmund, and any Wotan/Nibelungs interactions, for less justifiable reasons. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but the more interesting things would draw my attention automatically away from whatever I was doing.
- I know Wagner intended for his singers to use vibrato. But I don't think he intended for it to be wide enough to fit Fafner inside, and I think he wanted singers to sing the notes he requested, not the ones a quarter-tone above or below.
- Problems with singers tend to affect almost every recording I've noticed. I guess the orchestra is just too loud and they can't cut through without straining. It's not HIP, but why not use amplification?

Anyway, I liked it and I might listen again in an amount of time. It'll never be a favourite piece, but I liked it much more than Tristan. I'll take a break from opera for a bit before I decide what to listen to next
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 01:28:35 PM by amw »

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #906 on: March 31, 2016, 09:11:37 AM »
Alberich just... does his thing? He doesn't die or indeed get any kind of comeuppance at all?

One could argue that having lost both pleasures of love and the ring is a punishment in itself.

I used to find Siegmund boring as well but lately I've listened more and more to his monologue "Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater" in Act 1 and by the words "Selbst der alten Esche Stamm erglänzte in goldner Glut" I had shivers down my spine. James King really delivers it in Solti recording.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 09:16:51 AM by Alberich »
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

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Offline André

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #907 on: December 28, 2019, 06:34:21 AM »
It is indeed a very good Ring and a safe recommendation. Tastes may vary if one harbours preferences for this or that singer/conductor, but you won’t go wrong with Böhm, especially if you value a combination of dramatic qualities and the atmosphere of live performances.

Offline André

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #908 on: December 29, 2019, 08:31:52 AM »
I think there’s quite a few Rings out there that have a high level of musical quality. None is perfect - how could they be? I like the Solti, Janowski, Karajan Rings. I don’t care much for the tepid Levine or the uneven Boulez. Depending on your tolerance for non stereo sound, the various Bayreuth 1950s Rings can be an excellent choice. The 1953 Keilberth is in very decent sound and his cast is unbeatable. It’s also extremely cheap (price) and minimalist (presentation). I haven’t heard his 1955 remake in stereo, but I doubt it would improve musically on the 1953 version. Also, it is much, much more expensive. The two Furtwängler Rings from Italy are uneven (some uninteresting singers) and technically unsatisfactory. Maybe I had a second rate transfer (from the 107 disc Furtwängler box) but I doubt they could morph into good quality recordings.

The Neuhold is very surprising. It’s a bargain basement deal with some excellent no-name singers. Provincial opera houses in Germany boast excellent second tier casts and orchestras. In a work like the Ring, where tight ensemble is a pre-requisite, this one checks many boxes. The Ring contains acres of soliloquies and duets (dual monologues really) and meaningful verbal exchanges are more important to the ebb and flow than anything else. That ensemble feeling is very much an asset here. Recorded in excellent digital sound it greatly benefits from the conductor’s intelligent pacing and placing of the emotional climaxes (the crux of the matter IMO).

I also like the English Ring by Goodall. It has the best Siegfried of the whole lot and great singers in the most important roles (Wotan, Brünnhilde) as well as being spectacularly recorded. Goodall’s spacious pacing divides opinions, but I appreciate the feeling of grandeur, even infinity he generates.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #909 on: December 29, 2019, 09:39:03 PM »
I think there’s quite a few Rings out there that have a high level of musical quality. None is perfect - how could they be? I like the Solti, Janowski, Karajan Rings. I don’t care much for the tepid Levine or the uneven Boulez. Depending on your tolerance for non stereo sound, the various Bayreuth 1950s Rings can be an excellent choice. The 1953 Keilberth is in very decent sound and his cast is unbeatable. It’s also extremely cheap (price) and minimalist (presentation). I haven’t heard his 1955 remake in stereo, but I doubt it would improve musically on the 1953 version. Also, it is much, much more expensive. The two Furtwängler Rings from Italy are uneven (some uninteresting singers) and technically unsatisfactory. Maybe I had a second rate transfer (from the 107 disc Furtwängler box) but I doubt they could morph into good quality recordings.

The Neuhold is very surprising. It’s a bargain basement deal with some excellent no-name singers. Provincial opera houses in Germany boast excellent second tier casts and orchestras. In a work like the Ring, where tight ensemble is a pre-requisite, this one checks many boxes. The Ring contains acres of soliloquies and duets (dual monologues really) and meaningful verbal exchanges are more important to the ebb and flow than anything else. That ensemble feeling is very much an asset here. Recorded in excellent digital sound it greatly benefits from the conductor’s intelligent pacing and placing of the emotional climaxes (the crux of the matter IMO).

I also like the English Ring by Goodall. It has the best Siegfried of the whole lot and great singers in the most important roles (Wotan, Brünnhilde) as well as being spectacularly recorded. Goodall’s spacious pacing divides opinions, but I appreciate the feeling of grandeur, even infinity he generates.

Which Janowski Ring are you referring to, Andre?
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #910 on: December 30, 2019, 01:13:29 AM »

The Neuhold is very surprising. It’s a bargain basement deal with some excellent no-name singers. Provincial opera houses in Germany boast excellent second tier casts and orchestras. In a work like the Ring, where tight ensemble is a pre-requisite, this one checks many boxes. The Ring contains acres of soliloquies and duets (dual monologues really) and meaningful verbal exchanges are more important to the ebb and flow than anything else. That ensemble feeling is very much an asset here. Recorded in excellent digital sound it greatly benefits from the conductor’s intelligent pacing and placing of the emotional climaxes (the crux of the matter IMO).


I worked with Gunter Neuhold in the mid 1980's when he was principal conductor of the Teatro Regio in Parma.  He was an exceptionally good conductor both in the opera pit and the concert hall.  Well prepared, intelligent, clear (players do love a good clear conductor!) and collaborative.  It was no surprise when this set appeared to general acclaim.  The reality is there are many fine performers/conductors out there who are often at the least the equal if not significantly better than nominally star names.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #911 on: February 15, 2020, 08:04:37 AM »
Here’s a question:

I already own this Solti Ring box set:



Is there any need to buy this reissue for the remastered sonics?



I’m an ‘occasional’ Wagnerian, but I do think highly of his music. Other Ring cycles I own: HvK and Janowski (on Sony).
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Biffo

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #912 on: February 15, 2020, 09:25:32 AM »
Here’s a question:

I already own this Solti Ring box set:



Is there any need to buy this reissue for the remastered sonics?



I’m an ‘occasional’ Wagnerian, but I do think highly of his music. Other Ring cycles I own: HvK and Janowski (on Sony).

I suppose it depends on the quality of your hi-fi, listening environment and ears. I personally wouldn't bother, especially as you are only an occasional Wagnerian.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #913 on: February 15, 2020, 07:54:09 PM »
I suppose it depends on the quality of your hi-fi, listening environment and ears. I personally wouldn't bother, especially as you are only an occasional Wagnerian.

Yeah, you’re probably right. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #914 on: February 16, 2020, 11:22:31 AM »
^I've actually been told to avoid the newest remaster in favor of the one you have. I think you're in good shape with what you've got. I'm considering getting a copy myself. I think Solti will ultimately be my choice, though Karajan is still a contender.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #915 on: February 16, 2020, 08:15:09 PM »
^I've actually been told to avoid the newest remaster in favor of the one you have. I think you're in good shape with what you've got. I'm considering getting a copy myself. I think Solti will ultimately be my choice, though Karajan is still a contender.

Yeah and I also prefer the look of the old set, too. The presentation is also leaps and bounds better than this new reissue. Have you seen the packaging for the one I own?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 08:24:40 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Jo498

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #916 on: February 17, 2020, 12:04:54 AM »
I mentioned the 1997 issue in my "special sets" post a few days ago. I recall that before I bought it in the late 1990s a person who recommended it to me described the presentation and design as "Gesamtkunstwerk" ;) And this is true, so it is preferable.
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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #917 on: February 17, 2020, 09:38:08 AM »
Definitely go with the 1997 version, John. It has better cover art as well!  :D

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #918 on: February 17, 2020, 11:56:47 AM »
Definitely go with the 1997 version, John. It has better cover art as well!  :D

Well, I already own the ’97 iteration of Solti’s Ring (as pictured above), I was just really wondering if the updated sonics in the new iteration were ‘worth it’ or not? But, I’ll take your endorsement as I made a good decision in deciding not to buy the newer edition and just sticking with the ’97 set.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy