GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: canninator on September 24, 2007, 02:37:41 AM

Title: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: canninator on September 24, 2007, 02:37:41 AM
I'm not new to Wagner but I've never bought a Ring CD. I have mostly spent my time on Tristan and Lohengrin. I've decided to take the financial plunge and splash out on a Ring cycle. Unless I am struck like Saul on the road to Damascus I imagine that I will only ever buy one Ring cycle. The question is, which...

The new Testament Bayreuth 1955 cycle. Seems to have the advantage of the frission of live performance but may be lacking in sound quality compared to others. Also has the advantage of a consistent cast.

The famous Solti set seems to have been a labour of love but has a varying cast and of course drama can be lacking in a studio performance.

I have heard good things about the Boehm recording but the absence of a libretto in the box set is a major turnoff.

So if I have to buy just one, which should I go for. Have I missed what you view as the "definitive" Ring. I am veering toward the Keilberth set but would love to hear the view of the Wagnerites out their. Did a search but didn't see this subject leap out at me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on September 24, 2007, 02:54:30 AM
I'm not new to Wagner but I've never bought a Ring CD. I have mostly spent my time on Tristan and Lohengrin. I've decided to take the financial plunge and splash out on a Ring cycle. Unless I am struck like Saul on the road to Damascus I imagine that I will only ever buy one Ring cycle. The question is, which...

The new Testament Bayreuth 1955 cycle. Seems to have the advantage of the frission of live performance but may be lacking in sound quality compared to others. Also has the advantage of a consistent cast.

The famous Solti set seems to have been a labour of love but has a varying cast and of course drama can be lacking in a studio performance.

I have heard good things about the Boehm recording but the absence of a libretto in the box set is a major turnoff.

So if I have to buy just one, which should I go for. Have I missed what you view as the "definitive" Ring. I am veering toward the Keilberth set but would love to hear the view of the Wagnerites out their. Did a search but didn't see this subject leap out at me.

  In my very humble opinion, and seeing that you want to buy only one Ring Cycle I would invest in the SOLTI Ring.  As far as I am concerned the Solti Ring  is the Ring Cycle to have if you only want one recording.  The sound is exceptionally good, the cast is as "ideal" as you are ever going to get and the shear power of that recording is mindblowing. Trust me, this set does NOT lack drama!!

  That said, Sarge is the authority on  Wagner's Masterpiece so he should be able to guide you better.  But as far as I am concerned the SOLTI RING is as good as it gets!!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector on September 24, 2007, 05:16:38 AM
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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: MishaK on September 24, 2007, 05:23:47 AM
The famous Solti set seems to have been a labour of love but has a varying cast and of course drama can be lacking in a studio performance.

A "varying cast"? WTF?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: longears on September 24, 2007, 05:29:12 AM
Can--I'm certainly no expert on Ring cycles and I don't idolize Wagner.  One you might not have considered is the only one I've actually enjoyed (including Solti, Böhm, and Boulez) is Janowski with the Staatskappelle Dresden.  It's lucid, well-recorded, and above all...musical!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on September 24, 2007, 05:39:50 AM
Testament.


However, at a tenner a disc it might be best to 'suck it and see' first.

  Yeah that set is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, what gives  ??? ?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: canninator on September 24, 2007, 05:46:19 AM
A "varying cast"? WTF?

Yes, the same role can be performed by different individuals in different operas. This is because of the extended time period over which this project was completed, hence "varying cast". This might be a problem for some individuals because a change in performer in a given role may affect the overall homogeneity of the cycle.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel on September 24, 2007, 05:58:22 AM
Yes, the same role can be performed by different individuals in different operas. This is because of the extended time period over which this project was completed, hence "varying cast". This might be a problem for some individuals because a change in performer in a given role may affect the overall homogeneity of the cycle.

So George London is Wotan in Rheingold and Hans Hotter is Wotan in the next two. Not important. What is important is that no set is as consistently good in terms of conducting, casting, orchestral playing, and sound. I have five complete Rings and a number of other discs with various excerpts. The Solti is the one I'd keep if I could only have one. You can supplement it with other discs later, such as the incomparable Lehmann-Melchior-Walther Act One of Walkuere, or the fascinating "Potted Ring" on Pearl.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on September 24, 2007, 06:04:46 AM
To my mind, either Joseph Keilberth's 1955 set or Hans Knappertsbusch's 1956 set (in its Orfeo incarnation) stands at the top of the heap. Keilberth has stereo sound, which - while not modern digital - is serviceable. Keilberth, too, has a more energetic and driving approach. Knappertsbusch, marginally slower (15h11m24s vs. 14h03m07s) than Keilberth, has a more monumental and epic approach - with largely the same cast. Of the "Golden Age" sets, these two are really the major entries from Bayreuth. Solti needs no introduction, but I personally find Hotter to be a bit past his prime for the recordings. He can be heard in better - read, glorious - voice for Keilberth and Knappertsbusch. Solti's 1983 Bayreuth performances, available from "informal" sources, are - for me - the best Solti outing, even if the casts aren't as titanic as they were in Vienna. Von Karajan's set is fine for what it is, but it is not a first or even second choice set. Böhm and Boulez are both acquired tastes. They have roughly identical timings, with Böhm edging out Boulez in, I want to say, three of the four evenings. If you like speed in Wagner, then toss a coin. I find the Boulez recording a little distant, but such things are trivial concerns. Janowski is a contender, but his cast doesn't always satisfy me (Altmeyer, in particular). Levine is too slow. That's a difficult concept in Wagner, but Levine manages to find it (at 15h20m43s). Haitink has his moments, with Tomlinson's nasty and bleak Hagen in Götterdämmerung, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get the whole set.

At the end of it, I would say that Daniel Barenboim's Bayreuth set is the best of all worlds. Reasonable timings, a solid orchestral concept, and a cast ranging from good to wonderful (Tomlinson's Wotan/Wanderer). Throw into the bargain the Festspielhaus acoustic and modern digital sound, and you have a winner. So, you need two sets:

1. Keilberth '55 or Knappertsbusch '56 or Solti, and
2. Barenboim.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: canninator on September 24, 2007, 06:37:54 AM
So George London is Wotan in Rheingold and Hans Hotter is Wotan in the next two. Not important.

I knew about Wotan but I was under the impression that a couple of others also changed (but couldn't be any more specific). I presume, therefore, I was under a false impression?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel on September 24, 2007, 06:44:33 AM
I knew about Wotan but I was under the impression that a couple of others also changed (but couldn't be any more specific). I presume, therefore, I was under a false impression?

Flagstad does Fricka in the Rheingold, and Christa Ludwig in the Walkuere. Can't think of others offhand. Alberich is Neidlinger throughout, Stolze is Mime, Siegfried is Windgassen, Bruennhilde is Nilsson. Who else is there of importance? OK, the Rhinemaidens probably change from Rheingold to G-D. None of this bothers me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wendell_E on September 24, 2007, 07:07:50 AM
Flagstad does Fricka in the Rheingold, and Christa Ludwig in the Walkuere. Can't think of others offhand. Alberich is Neidlinger throughout, Stolze is Mime, Siegfried is Windgassen, Bruennhilde is Nilsson. Who else is there of importance? OK, the Rhinemaidens probably change from Rheingold to G-D. None of this bothers me.

Yeah, the Rheinmaidens change, as do the Waltraute (that's pretty much standard practice), Erda, and Mime (Stolze is only in Siegfried.  It's Paul Kuen in Rheingold).  And, of course, Wotan and Fricka.  But it doesn't bother me either. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: MishaK on September 24, 2007, 08:38:22 AM
Yeah, the Rheinmaidens change, as do the Waltraute (that's pretty much standard practice), Erda, and Mime (Stolze is only in Siegfried.  It's Paul Kuen in Rheingold).  And, of course, Wotan and Fricka.  But it doesn't bother me either. 

Yes, none of that is really relevant when the entire cast is stellar to the point that even such a small role as the Waldvogel is sung by none less than Joan Sutherland.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lethevich on September 24, 2007, 09:19:22 AM
  Yeah that set is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, what gives  ??? ?

  marvin

Any less and the label wouldn't be able to stay afloat to produce CDs, I guess. They make very little profit. The effort in licencing and restoring I imagine was considerable...

I sure won't buy anything that expensive, but some will, so the system works :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 24, 2007, 09:30:57 AM
Well, this question comes up often.

And once again I can't help rec'ing my old standby: Sawallisch (EMI).

This despite owning (at one time or another) the likes of Krauss and both Furtwänglers among complete Rings.

Not to mention bits from: Böhm, Levine, Barenboim, Knappertsbusch, Dohnanyi, Solti, Haitink, and even a wartime Twilight from (IIRC) Karl Elmendorff. (I spell all this out merely to provide a backdrop).

What Sawallisch's performance has that hits home with me is its crackling electricity, perfectly abetted by a winning sense of proportion. The music is driven but not through histrionics and such. Pacing and commitment are key and every nuance makes its mark.

Singing is first rate with Behrens lacking the heft of a Nilsson or Varnay (who I never cared for anyway) but singing her heart out as if she were a goddess in torment. Utterly believable.

As far as sonics, the recording is so good it's hard to believe it's live! Ringing and clear and perfectly balanced up and down the range with plenty of weight. The envy of even studio productions.

No libretto, alas, which is common with budget Rings. But a libretto might be had via secondary sources.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: canninator on September 24, 2007, 11:35:05 PM
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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: uffeviking on September 25, 2007, 01:06:02 AM
There is no such thing as One Ring to rule them all... and there never will be. Productions change, directors change, singers change and so on. Thank god the music world, especially the world of opera, is in a constant flux. I hope there never will be one Ring to rule them all, how boring!  :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on September 25, 2007, 05:18:18 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.

  Canninator, I am glad to hear that you decided to get the Solti Ring, an invaluable recording for any Wagner collection.  That said and as Lis points out, in time you'll want to explore other recordings as Wagner's masterpiece lends itself to various interpretations:  I have Solti's, Furtwangler's RAI (its an old recording) and of course the Levine MET DVD but I always go back to Solti- that recording is a tremendous achievement in studio recording.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: uffeviking on September 25, 2007, 09:52:38 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!  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Shrunk on September 25, 2007, 11:58:10 AM
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SS400_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel on September 25, 2007, 12:06:42 PM
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SS400_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Anne on September 25, 2007, 12:26:26 PM
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SS400_.jpg)

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?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Shrunk 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Anne 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector 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! ???
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector 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!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: sound67 on September 28, 2007, 09:46:32 AM
Solti.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PerfectWagnerite 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Bogey 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Larry Rinkel 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
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PerfectWagnerite 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown 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
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: David Zalman on October 02, 2007, 04:24:06 AM
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SS400_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: David Zalman 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.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on October 04, 2007, 01:30:38 AM


  Hmmm...this is odd, we all seem to collect various audio recordings of the Ring yet no one here has come back with an ideal candidate (One Ring to Rule Them All) for DVD/TV recordings.  Is Wagner's Ring so taxing on the singers that any live performance will always fall short of a studio audio recording (where the singers have ample time to rest between takes)??  From what I have read the MET Levine DVD recording seems to be the default choice for a DVD One Ring to rule them all recording.

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector on October 04, 2007, 04:48:45 AM

  Hmmm...this is odd, we all seem to collect various audio recordings of the Ring yet no one here has come back with an ideal candidate (One Ring to Rule Them All) for DVD/TV recordings.  Is Wagner's Ring so taxing on the singers that any live performance will always fall short of a studio audio recording (where the singers have ample time to rest between takes)??  From what I have read the MET Levine DVD recording seems to be the default choice for a DVD One Ring to rule them all recording.

  marvin   

But it is so boring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on October 04, 2007, 04:55:27 AM
But it is so boring.


  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wendell_E on October 04, 2007, 05:13:48 AM

  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin

Only alternative?  What about:

Bertrand de Billy, Harry Kupfer, Barcelona 2004 (Opus Arte)
Lothar Zagrosek, various directors, Stuttgart 2003 (EuroArts/TDK)
Hartmut Haenchen, Pierre Audi, Amsterdam 1998 (Opus Arte)
Daniel Barenboim, Harry Kupfer, Bayreuth 1992 (Warner Classics)

The Levine's "good enough" for me.  Someday, I intend to start renting the Boulez, which I haven't seen since it was telecast, from Netflix.  Several people I know say the Barenboim's their favorite.  I did rent the Stuttgart Siegfried, and wasn't tempted to explore that Ring further.

Really, the whole concept of "one Ring to rule them all" is ridiculous.  It's largely a matter of taste, and I'm sure any performance, audio or visual, will have weaknesses.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: uffeviking on October 04, 2007, 05:45:23 AM
In total agreement!

Even to the extent of deleting the Stuttgart/Zagrosek production from the list of possibles! I watched it, some parts are good, especially the singing - Juanita DeVol is a wonderful Brünnhilde - but not even she can save the productions.

The Barenboim/Kupfer was No. 1 on my list until I saw the Haenchen/Audi. Now they are side by side. There will always be new productions coming up, changing the 'favourite' or 'best' list.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on October 05, 2007, 12:13:19 AM
Only alternative?  What about:

Bertrand de Billy, Harry Kupfer, Barcelona 2004 (Opus Arte)
Lothar Zagrosek, various directors, Stuttgart 2003 (EuroArts/TDK)
Hartmut Haenchen, Pierre Audi, Amsterdam 1998 (Opus Arte)
Daniel Barenboim, Harry Kupfer, Bayreuth 1992 (Warner Classics)



  I was not aware there were so many recordings and two directed by Kupfer.  Kupfer is quite radical in his approach to Wagner's operas (I have his Flying Dutchman) I wonder what angles he has taken with the Ring.....definitely worth checking out. 

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Hector on October 05, 2007, 03:35:43 AM

  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin

Chereau's production will not be to all tastes and the singing is not up to scratch in some major areas but it is never boring (except in the usual boring parts, of course).

I enjoyed Sawallisch more than the Met production and have only heard the Barenboim.

Uffe is right as far as DVDs go, I suspect.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: max on October 05, 2007, 09:02:35 PM
A few Karajanesque inflections and refinements would certainly have enhanced the Solti recording as good as it is on it's own terms. It would, imo, have made the sound texture clearer, cleaner, more chromatic and consequently more elevated and even more beautiful. There are many such possibilities for enhancement in Solti's Ring.

The performances of all great musical accomplishments engender a NET EFFECT regardless of how one strives to represent or recreate the ideal of the work. It remains a variable of the imagination always subsidiary like to one of Plato's Forms. That's one reason why videos and stage productions get in the way - even though there's some I really enjoy - and why Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to the Master's works in Bayreuth.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on October 06, 2007, 01:17:57 AM


The performances of all great musical accomplishments engender a NET EFFECT regardless of how one strives to represent or recreate the ideal of the work. It remains a variable of the imagination always subsidiary like to one of Plato's Forms. That's one reason why videos and stage productions get in the way - even though there's some I really enjoy - and why Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to the Master's works in Bayreuth.


  While I agree with you that there is nothing quite like the human imagination I am not sure how Wagner would have felt if told that Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to his (the Master's) works in Bayreuth, seeing as how Wagner in his essays defined  Gesamtkunstwerk "total work of art" as an operatic performance encompassing music, theater, and the visual arts.  Somehow I get the feeling he would have been displeased!  I could be wrong though...

  marvin

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: max on October 06, 2007, 09:10:31 PM
  While I agree with you that there is nothing quite like the human imagination I am not sure how Wagner would have felt if told that Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to his (the Master's) works in Bayreuth, seeing as how Wagner in his essays defined  Gesamtkunstwerk "total work of art" as an operatic performance encompassing music, theater, and the visual arts.  Somehow I get the feeling he would have been displeased!  I could be wrong though...

  marvin


I think that Wagner being the egomaniac he was demanding absolute respect which he certainly received from Bruckner would have forgiven Bruckner's lack of understanding of any Wagnerian theory of Gesamtkunstwerk. Even this is not clear! Bruckner may have had some idea of Wagner's extra-musical ideas but have remained completely indifferent to them.

Any philosophy behind this idea would be far more amenable to the likes of Nietzsche than to Bruckner. I think Wagner was fairly well cognizant of the individuals he was dealing with - the exception being Nietzsche himself - and would not have expected this kind of understanding of his theories from a God-intoxicated composer like Bruckner. The sound world of Wagner is what inspired Bruckner not the multimedia impact Wagner wished to accomplish.

One thing I'm certain of! Wagner, had he lived long enough, would have been astounded at Bruckner's 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies, not to mention the Te Deum! The incredible aura of these works would justifiably have made even Wagner jealous.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Shrunk on November 06, 2007, 01:13:31 PM
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: longears on November 06, 2007, 01:58:35 PM
Good for Gramophone.  I hardly know 33 different recorded performances, but I like the Janowski.  M forever recommended it some time ago when various sellers offered it for next to nothing.  I gambled and won.  This recording is alive--no mean feat, it seems.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on November 06, 2007, 02:10:07 PM
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.

  WOW the Krauss Ring as the top recommendation! I thought the Solti Ring would win hands down....were they factoring in price by any chance? because Solti can be quite dear.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on November 06, 2007, 04:34:16 PM
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.

I am not a big fan of the Janowski for some reason. It strikes me as very nondescript. It is a bit better than the Haitink which is god-awful. Barenboim is okay, some good orchestral playing but at times over-the-top. For modern DDD versions I would recommend the Sawallisch, an overlooked choice that features Hildegard Behrens in fabulous voice. Robert Hale is a strong and youthful Wotan and Julia Varady a ravishing Sieglinde (okay so her scream when Siegmund draws the sword from the tree is more like a whimper). The sound is excellent with none of the stage noise you hear from the Barenboim set.

I am not sure what the merits of the Kempe set are (from 1960 Bayreuth I presume). The sound is an okay mono and the cast is mediocre at best.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on November 06, 2007, 04:38:03 PM
Good for Gramophone.  I hardly know 33 different recorded performances, but I like the Janowski.  M forever recommended it some time ago when various sellers offered it for next to nothing.  I gambled and won.  This recording is alive--no mean feat, it seems.

Yes, I bought it at that time too. Its excellent, but then I have nothing to compare it to...yet  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Shrunk on November 06, 2007, 06:09:03 PM
  WOW the Krauss Ring as the top recommendation! I thought the Solti Ring would win hands down....were they factoring in price by any chance? because Solti can be quite dear.

  marvin

Price wasn't a factor.

I might also mention that he praises the Adelaide Symphony/Asher Fisch as "the best sounding cycle on the market to date, bar none."  I've never even heard of that one, but it seems to be the only one available on SACD.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on November 12, 2007, 02:23:28 AM
I have just managed to add to my collection of Ring cycle on DVD with completed Stuttgart, Barcelona and Amsterdam Ring cycles -you can tell i love modern productions.  I am not finished with them yet but have dipped into them already.  I added the Liceu Walkure and Siegfried and the complete set of the Amsterdam ring.

I have resisted forking out for the Boulez or the Levine Ring DVDs as yet-although am sure at some point i will need to get the Boulez one as most people rave about it.

Here are my initial thoughts.

The Stuttgart Ring is not half bad. Am not sure if that is saying something about the other two!

I actually enjoyed the Das Rheingold from Stuttgart.  I think that this is the one i would return to.  The Giant killing on the other two was laughable to be honest.

I also prefer the Stuttgart Siegfried.  Not only for the Mime but also for Siegfried of Jon Frederic West-much prefer his singing to the other sets.  Again, the Stuttgart setting seems to be better.

However, the others score for Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung.  I really enjoyed the ending of the Amsterdam Ring where Altmeyer is covered in a red cloth which moves around to simulate flames-i thought this was very effective and similar to the La Scala Madame Butterfly some years ago where they used coloured cloth to show butterfly killing herself.  The Liceu Gotterdammerung ends powerfully as well.

So far i am enjoying all the new productions.  Each is not perfect in setting or cast but each illuminates this great work with each watching.

Any thoughts  on these DVDs?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on November 12, 2007, 02:49:09 AM
I have just managed to add to my collection of Ring cycle on DVD with completed Stuttgart, Barcelona and Amsterdam Ring cycles -you can tell i love modern productions.  I am not finished with them yet but have dipped into them already.  I added the Liceu Walkure and Siegfried and the complete set of the Amsterdam ring.

I have resisted forking out for the Boulez or the Levine Ring DVDs as yet-although am sure at some point i will need to get the Boulez one as most people rave about it.

Here are my initial thoughts.

The Stuttgart Ring is not half bad. Am not sure if that is saying something about the other two!

I actually enjoyed the Das Rheingold from Stuttgart.  I think that this is the one i would return to.  The Giant killing on the other two was laughable to be honest.

I also prefer the Stuttgart Siegfried.  Not only for the Mime but also for Siegfried of Jon Frederic West-much prefer his singing to the other sets.  Again, the Stuttgart setting seems to be better.

However, the others score for Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung.  I really enjoyed the ending of the Amsterdam Ring where Altmeyer is covered in a red cloth which moves around to simulate flames-i thought this was very effective and similar to the La Scala Madame Butterfly some years ago where they used coloured cloth to show butterfly killing herself.  The Liceu Gotterdammerung ends powerfully as well.

So far i am enjoying all the new productions.  Each is not perfect in setting or cast but each illuminates this great work with each watching.

Any thoughts  on these DVDs?

  Yashin, the only thing I can say is that if you like modern adaptations of the Ring, the Levine Ring (MET) is far from it.  This is a VERY TRADITIONAL adaptation of the Ring (in essence it is the Ring most true to Wagner's text in terms of setting, costumes etc.) I have heard many people criticize it as being too boring, etc.  I tend love it because I have a problem with modern adapations, to each his own I guess.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on November 12, 2007, 03:49:00 AM
I guess one consideration is financial as the Levine or the Boulez ring is cheaper than at least 2 of the others i believe.  I first got the Stuttgart set at a bargain price and then i found 2 of the Liceu sets for about 10 Euro each in a sale-yes, amazing!  So i wanted to complete that Ring cycle.  The i had to choose between buying one of the older ones or splashing out on the Amsterdam Ring cycle.  Since i lived in Holland but did not see the recent cycle...for various reasons ......i decided to go for the DVD.

I quite like modern productions-eurotrash or not.  What i tend not to like is the stand-and -deliver opera of the old Met productions.  I have some like the Luisa Miller and the Il Trovatore......where overbloated productions with stars with huge shoulder pads and huge hair look like they would rather be somewhere else.  At least in modern productions some of the acting (not all!) is better, the sound is better and the visuals are not grainy like on some of the Video transfers.

I will certainly look out for the Boulez and if at the right price the Levine would be nice.

The one i am waiting for is the Copenhagen Ring cycle which is promised for release but no date as yet.

How many rings can someone have on DVD? 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on November 12, 2007, 03:57:04 AM

How many rings can someone have on DVD? 

  As much as is needed to keep one happy  ;).

  marvin

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: longears on November 12, 2007, 05:30:18 AM
the Levine Ring (MET)...is a VERY TRADITIONAL adaptation of the Ring (in essence it is the Ring most true to Wagner's text in terms of setting, costumes etc.) I have heard many people criticize it as being too boring, etc. 
Seems authentic to me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: uffeviking on November 12, 2007, 08:59:39 AM
I will certainly look out for the Boulez and if at the right price the Levine would be nice.

The one i am waiting for is the Copenhagen Ring cycle which is promised for release but no date as yet.

How many rings can someone have on DVD? 

Some place January 2008 is mentioned as release date for the Copenhagen Ring.  :)

How many Rings? As many as you can afford, but don't waste your money on the Met/Levine! It's boringly old-fashioned and the acting impossible, especially James Morris, the stand-and-deliver originator! For the lovers of traditional Rings, I wish the Seattle so-called 'Green Ring would be available on DVD. It is 'natural', lots of trees and rocks and such stuff, but it is not boring!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on November 12, 2007, 11:00:13 AM
Seems authentic to me.

  Yes longears, it does have that "authentic" true to Wagner's intentions feel to it. but I would imagine that viewers who like modern adaptations might find it a bit "uninteresting".  That said I love the Levine Ring, it is the only recording of that masterpeice on DVD that I own, but I am always looking for another recording.

  Lis you mention the "Green Ring" from Seattle. I have seen excerpts in a Wagner documentary from a Ring in Seattle- The excerpts I saw were from the Seatle opera house and  had a mechanically operated "metallic" Fafner that spews fire?  If that is the "Green Ring" I would definitely be interested in seeing that recording.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: uffeviking on November 12, 2007, 02:17:10 PM
Marvin, as far as I know there is no commercial release of the so-called Seattle Green Ring.  :(

Here are a view pictures from a Seattle Opera program:

http://www.seattleopera.org/tickets/ring/index.aspx
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on November 12, 2007, 02:35:20 PM
Marvin, as far as I know there is no commercial release of the so-called Seattle Green Ring.  :(

Here are a view pictures from a Seattle Opera program:

http://www.seattleopera.org/tickets/ring/index.aspx

  Thanks for the link Lis, looks very interesting  :).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wanderer on March 15, 2008, 03:26:46 AM
Bumping this for Harry’s benefit.

Also, I'd like to ask whether there's a difference between Levine’s CD & DVD versions; I seem to remember reading some way back that they're not the same performances?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: head-case on March 15, 2008, 06:59:15 AM
Bumping this for Harry’s benefit.

Also, I'd like to ask whether there's a difference between Levine’s CD & DVD versions; I seem to remember reading some way back that they're not the same performances?

The DVD has live performances in the MET.  The CD's are traditional studio recordings which were made at about the same time at a different venue in New York (IFRC).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wendell_E on March 15, 2008, 07:48:42 AM
The DVD has live performances in the MET.  The CD's are traditional studio recordings which were made at about the same time at a different venue in New York (IFRC).


Yes, you recall correctly.  There's one major casting difference (Siegfried Jerusalem is the DVD Siegfried, on CD it's Reiner Goldberg), and, no doubt, some differences in other roles, as well.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on March 16, 2008, 08:17:01 PM
Yes, you recall correctly.  There's one major casting difference (Siegfried Jerusalem is the DVD Siegfried, on CD it's Reiner Goldberg), and, no doubt, some differences in other roles, as well.

Really, if you can get past the dusty staging, Jerusalem trumps Goldberg, who - for whatever reason - never seemed to catch on to Siegfried. I think I once called him 'dusty' in a conversation. Windgassen, though, was about the last one who really nailed the scene.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Haffner on March 18, 2008, 03:55:15 PM
  In my very humble opinion, and seeing that you want to buy only one Ring Cycle I would invest in the SOLTI Ring.  As far as I am concerned the Solti Ring  is the Ring Cycle to have if you only want one recording.  The sound is exceptionally good, the cast is as "ideal" as you are ever going to get and the shear power of that recording is mindblowing. Trust me, this set does NOT lack drama!!

  That said, Sarge is the authority on  Wagner's Masterpiece so he should be able to guide you better.  But as far as I am concerned the SOLTI RING is as good as it gets!!!

  marvin



Marvin  said it!


As to the Levine Ring dvd: I happen to like it alot, though I thought Jerusalem was way better in the Stein Parsifal. His Siegfried comes across to me sometimes more brain dead than without fear (in the "noble" manner that I am guessing Wagner intended). His voice is often very good on the dvd, but after hearing the Solti and Krauss-conducted Rings I am a bit picky when it comes to Siegfried. And Behrens as Brunnhilde here is just fine when she goes up high, but seems to find chest singing uncomfortable, Her acting wasn't very bad at all, at times quite convincing.

I love James Morris as Wotan, Matti Salminen as Hagen, and Crista Ludwig as Fricka. Excellent!

The conducting seemed well paced...maybe a little slow at times.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Haffner on March 18, 2008, 04:01:36 PM
Windgassen, though, was about the last one who really nailed the scene.


JA!!!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Haffner on March 18, 2008, 04:05:17 PM
Is anyone familiar with this 1953 Bayreuth recording by Clemens Krauss:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SS400_.jpg)

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.




Get it. The orchestra sounds buried at times, but the singing is absolutely stellar for the most part.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wanderer on March 24, 2008, 09:43:20 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/5194792.jpg)

Any opinions on Haitink's Ring?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 24, 2008, 10:59:46 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/5194792.jpg)

Any opinions on Haitink's Ring?

I haven't heard any of it. I recall reading that Eva Marton's Brünnhillde was a serious drawback in Götterdämmerung.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 24, 2008, 04:53:21 PM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/5194792.jpg)

Any opinions on Haitink's Ring?


I used to have Haitink's Siegfried. It's very well played and is quite enjoyable - up until Marton makes her entrance. After that, her wobble wrecks everything.

Sorry, haven't heard the rest of the cycle...





Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on March 24, 2008, 05:27:51 PM
I haven't heard any of it. I recall reading that Eva Marton's Brünhillde was a serious drawback in Götterdämmerung.

Sarge

Yeah, Marton was not a terribly good choice for Brünnhilde, even considering competition like Hildegard Behrens and Anne Evans, but John Tomlinson's Hagen and Thomas Hampson's Gunther go some distance to making up for the issues with Marton. Also, Siegfried Jerusalem's reading of his eponymous role isn't bad. To my mind, however, Theo Adam's Alberich poses more of a problem than does Marton.

I'd say that, if you want a 1990s Ring, then Barenboim is your best bet, followed by Levine (despite some reservations with that set).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on March 26, 2008, 06:30:56 AM


  Which Ring Cycle to buy is one of the major decisions in an opera collector's life.  A lot of Ring Cycles sadly aren't cheap.  Plus since this is a monstrous work spanning 14+ hours I believe that it is crucial to invest in a noteworthy Ring Cycle (Solti, Karajan, Bohm, Levine DVD (IMHO) to name a few).  Criticism such as "Theo Adam's Alberich poses more of a problem than does Marton" are enough to discourage me from buying the Haitink set.  Experience and a few bad purchases (Furtwangler's RAI- God what an awful orchestra  >:() have taught me that investing in a GREAT recording of the Ring Cycle can make all the difference in enjoying this Wagnerian masterpiece.

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on March 27, 2008, 09:26:12 PM
Now hold on here a minute. Your critical lodestar should be your pair of ears. If you've access to a good library or can buy and sell used CDs without trouble (i.e., an eBay account or some such other vendor access), then sample. You can even get individual works and find merits in them. For example, I wouldn't necessarily want to go without Haitink's Götterdämmerung. I wouldn't spend on red cent on the whole Haitink Ring, since some of his key roles are filled by singers I can't stand. That doesn't mean, however, there aren't excellent moments or excellent singers involved. The key aspects in a Wagnerian adventure are a keen interest, deep curiosity, and an understanding of Wagner's intent.

Everything else is superfluous.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: FideLeo on March 27, 2008, 10:20:53 PM
Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart definitely found Levine to be among the right and Solti to be among the wrong conductors for Wagner, which of course includes the Ring.  The way Solti conducts the music simply kills the singers' voices.

"Lear: There are a few conductors who are sensitive enough to have followed Wagner's markings in the score. James Levine was one great conductor who really observed those markings. Others who did not, like Georg Solti, let the orchestra go wild and mad, so he was loud, louder, . . .
Stewart: And it's very exciting. It is very exciting but so far as the singers are concerned, it's very hard on the singers."

"Lear: And many voice teachers, of course, are very leery of the fact that Wagner is associated with the term "loud and dramatic." So they are afraid that the young voices that they are training will be ruined by having to sing that music. But, as you probably know, Wagner was very influenced by the Italian bel canto and he wanted his singers to sing that way. And, as a matter of fact, . .
Stewart: He stated often that he would have preferred Italian singers to sing his operas. But he never could get them because they refused to learn German or sing in German in his day. But he preferred the Italian singers. He wanted them to sing his operas.
Lear: You know what his favorite opera was? Norma of Bellini. He stressed the bel canto style. "Sing my music as if Italian folk songs." You know, that's what he wanted. Not the blasting. So when young singers come to us and audition for us and they start off really blasting the voices, we stop that immediately. That's not what it's about. "

http://www.wagner-dc.org/tomev_bartel_intv.html (http://www.wagner-dc.org/tomev_bartel_intv.html)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rubio on July 26, 2008, 02:24:34 PM
I have heard the Keilberth Ring and I liked it a lot. So I wonder how the 1953 Krauss Ring compare to 1955 Keilberth (Testament)? Is it very similar and only in inferior sound, or is it quite different interpretation-wise? The Krauss Ring can be found quite cheap from time to time (even if that "one dollar offer" seemed to be a fraud, as I never received any CD's).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 26, 2008, 02:30:44 PM
I have heard the Keilberth Ring and I liked it a lot. So I wonder how the 1953 Krauss Ring compare to 1955 Keilberth (Testament)? Is it very similar and only in inferior sound, or is it quite different interpretation-wise? The Krauss Ring can be found quite cheap from time to time (even if that "one dollar offer" seemed to be a fraud, as I never received any CD's).

Cheapest here, for one Euro per opera:

http://www.classicalmusicmobile.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=66&osCsid=c01b9c1206a7eb02aa6738c0277871f9
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Anne on August 01, 2008, 10:02:44 AM
 "Experience and a few bad purchases (Furtwangler's RAI- God what an awful orchestra  ) have taught me that investing in a GREAT recording of the Ring Cycle can make all the difference in enjoying this Wagnerian masterpiece.

  marvin"

Marvin, I so agree with you.  I can never understand these people who will recommend a cheap recording to beginners who have never heard the work before.  They say they are saving the beginner money.  The beginner may not give the work a second chance with a good recording.  Obviously, money does not guarantee quality, but at least go for the best quality.

     
 
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 06, 2008, 05:02:37 AM
"Experience and a few bad purchases (Furtwangler's RAI- God what an awful orchestra  ) have taught me that investing in a GREAT recording of the Ring Cycle can make all the difference in enjoying this Wagnerian masterpiece.

  marvin"

Marvin, I so agree with you.  I can never understand these people who will recommend a cheap recording to beginners who have never heard the work before.  They say they are saving the beginner money.  The beginner may not give the work a second chance with a good recording.  Obviously, money does not guarantee quality, but at least go for the best quality.



And it is not like these old ragged readings with terrible ensemble and wayward tempo are any cheaper than some of the stereo cycles out there. For the $40-$50 you pay for Furtwangler you can get Levine, Sawallisch, Janowski, Boehm, ane Neuhold. For $15-$20 more you can get Barenhoim and Haitink. So what you you saving by buying a mono Ring which sounds like someone recorded a transistor radio broadcast outside a concrete building?

Also, I see that Kempe's 1957 ROH Ring is coming out in a week:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NlFhSPLKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Anyone heard it? What do you think?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on August 06, 2008, 05:40:50 AM
Despite the fact that I have it on pre-order at Amazon, I have heard sort of mixed reviews. Sound quality looks like it might be an issue, but I don't think anyone would look too hard at the SQ of a 1957 live broadcast tape. We got lucky with Keilberth. As to the musical content, the reviews I've seen have praised Kempe's lyricism (which shouldn't surprise anyone), but one reviewer argues that he underplays some of the dramatic content of the music.

I don't know, of course, but we'll see.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 06, 2008, 06:23:22 AM
I've considered before asking this question: How many Rings have you got, Patrick?  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on August 06, 2008, 10:12:49 AM
I've considered before asking this question: How many Rings have you got, Patrick?  ;)

YGPM
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on February 09, 2010, 03:55:16 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 (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 (http://www.esoteric.jp/products/esoteric/essd90021_34/indexe.html)
 
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 10, 2010, 03:50:37 AM
Solti Ring
the ultimate remaster now available from Decca Esoteric for a mere $800......

ONE RING TO RULE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on February 10, 2010, 04:59:58 AM
ONE RING TO RULE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!

Looks like actual street price has increased to $999 if you can find one in stock........ :(
 
http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=ESOSA90021 (http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=ESOSA90021)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Superhorn on February 10, 2010, 08:48:27 AM
  You simply can't go wrong with the Solti Ring; and despite being studio made, it's not at all lacking in sponatneity or excitement, and proves that
studio recordings aren't necessarily sterile and artificial. And the cast has never been bettered.
I haven't heard all the other Rings, but the Levine /DG, which I got from Tower  at a very good prce a few years ago has much to admire,too, although there is no libretto,just detailed notes. This doesn't bother me since I know the Wagner operas so well from having gotten familiar with LPs which  had the librettos long ago.
 But there are websites such as naxos where you can download many opera librettos with English translations.
  Karajan and Bohm are also very fine. But the one conducted by Reginald Goodal in English,recently resiiued on Chandos is ruined by the conductor's impossibly slow and lethargic tempi. It's a sdnooze fest.
   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 10, 2010, 08:58:13 AM
I think Karajan's second cycle could have been the best if it had gone forward.  His film of Rheingold (now on DVD) is based on a live recording (not the studio recording which is available on CD) and is more vibrant and in much better sound.  The film itself, while perhaps a bit dated by 70's movie effects, gets the spirit of the piece right.  To bad the bean counters decided it was too expensive and didn't give the go-ahead to complete the cycle.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Franco on February 11, 2010, 08:31:26 AM
I think this year I will try to conquer my Wagner phobia.  I am *this* close to ordering the Karajan and Krauss Rings (I already own the Solti) and forcing myself to listen to them start to finish.  I also have a few books on the Ring which I will read as well.

I have a few other of his operas on CD and if the Ring thing goes well, I will continue with Tristan and Parsifal.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 11, 2010, 09:42:44 AM
I think this year I will try to conquer my Wagner phobia.  I am *this* close to ordering the Karajan and Krauss Rings (I already own the Solti) and forcing myself to listen to them start to finish.  I also have a few books on the Ring which I will read as well.

I have a few other of his operas on CD and if the Ring thing goes well, I will continue with Tristan and Parsifal.

Instead I'd recommend the Levine Ring DVD.  Levine is the only set that attempts to use modern stage techniques to follow Wagner's stage directions (i.e., the Rhinemaidens are not Time Square Hookers and Woton isn't the chairman of General Electric).  I'd also recommend Tannhauser, not the absolutely mature Wagner, but the mythology behind the story isn't as obscure as in the Ring.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412NRNYdexL._SS500_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sCtzI7QCL._SS500_.jpg)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Franco on February 11, 2010, 12:30:59 PM
Instead I'd recommend the Levine Ring DVD.  Levine is the only set that attempts to use modern stage techniques to follow Wagner's stage directions (i.e., the Rhinemaidens are not Time Square Hookers and Woton isn't the chairman of General Electric). 

Thanks for this suggestion; I had forgotten about my plans to eventually acquire the Levine Ring DVDs - which are now on the way.  I will put off indefinitely the Karajan and/or Krauss purchases until I have had time to watch these.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Renfield on February 11, 2010, 01:34:48 PM
Thanks for this suggestion; I had forgotten about my plans to eventually acquire the Levine Ring DVDs - which are now on the way.  I will put off indefinitely the Karajan and/or Krauss purchases until I have had time to watch these.

FWIW, though I haven't seen (or heard) the Levine, Barenboim's DVD Ring from Bayreuth fully covered my Ring DVD needs. It combines a) a good reading, b) a good performance, and c) a staging that is unobtrusive, but not bland.

Given how Wagner's stage instructions are still mostly unrealisable, except by proxy ('this is supposed to be a dragon'), I found it an extremely satisfiable production. And you might remember I'm otherwise not Barenboim's no. 1 fan. ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Superhorn on February 11, 2010, 03:12:19 PM
  Renfield, next season the Met is introducing its new Ring with Rheingold and Walkure. The Rheingold premiere is on opening night .
  The production will be by the French-Canadian director and designer Robert Lapage, who recently made his Met debut with a strikingly original Damnation of Faust.
  Lepage is responsible for Cirque du Soleil, and this production will use special computer and digital technology. It may be something spectacular and utterly original, possibly like no Ring production in operatic history.
  Good old Jimmy L is scheduled to conduct, and I hope he won't be sidelined by physical problems. I can't wait for this.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on February 11, 2010, 03:47:15 PM
  Renfield, next season the Met is introducing its new Ring with Rheingold and Walkure. The Rheingold premiere is on opening night .
  The production will be by the French-Canadian director and designer Robert Lapage, who recently made his Met debut with a strikingly original Damnation of Faust.
  Lepage is responsible for Cirque du Soleil, and this production will use special computer and digital technology. It may be something spectacular and utterly original, possibly like no Ring production in operatic history.   Good old Jimmy L is scheduled to conduct, and I hope he won't be sidelined by physical problems. I can't wait for this.

Perhaps this will give some preview of what to expect from this recent Rheingold:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4owd7YU7lxQ&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4owd7YU7lxQ&feature=related)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Renfield on February 11, 2010, 03:54:34 PM
Lepage is responsible for Cirque du Soleil, and this production will use special computer and digital technology. It may be something spectacular and utterly original, possibly like no Ring production in operatic history.

'May be' is the keyword here, but colour me interested. Used right, and sparingly, CGI can work wonders.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on February 11, 2010, 04:38:23 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 (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/Feb10/Wagner_Ring_ESSD90021-34.htm)

Thanks for this interesting link. The reviewer comes across as slightly trollish, but undoubtedly an enthusiast. Now, wasn't the 2009 issue of Rheingold a new remaster?


Instead I'd recommend the Levine Ring DVD.  Levine is the only set that attempts to use modern stage techniques to follow Wagner's stage directions (i.e., the Rhinemaidens are not Time Square Hookers and Woton isn't the chairman of General Electric).

You must be a bourgeois neo-fascist!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on February 11, 2010, 04:54:01 PM
Thanks for this interesting link. The reviewer comes across as slightly trollish, but undoubtedly an enthusiast. Now, wasn't the 2009 issue of Rheingold a new remaster?

If you mean the version issued under the rubric "Decca Heritage Masters", apparently not--nothing is mentioned beyond the original recording details from 1958.   This is a very barebones release--just the cast and track listings: you would think Decca was actually expecting people to listen to the music!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Franco on February 11, 2010, 05:24:20 PM
  Renfield, next season the Met is introducing its new Ring with Rheingold and Walkure. The Rheingold premiere is on opening night .
  The production will be by the French-Canadian director and designer Robert Lapage, who recently made his Met debut with a strikingly original Damnation of Faust.
  Lepage is responsible for Cirque du Soleil, and this production will use special computer and digital technology. It may be something spectacular and utterly original, possibly like no Ring production in operatic history.
  Good old Jimmy L is scheduled to conduct, and I hope he won't be sidelined by physical problems. I can't wait for this.

That will be the second new Ring production I will have heard about using "special computer and digital technology." 

Here's the other one (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/record.php?blurb=22&label=C+Major&cat=700508&cat1=700604&cat2=700708&cat3=700804&cat4=700908&cat5=701004&cat6=701108&cat7=701204&pageTitle=Wagner+-+Der+Ring+des+Nibelungen)

Quote
Now in the 21st Century, the imagination of Carlus Padrissa and La Fura combined with the awesome potential of modern technology means that we’re perhaps closer to realising Wagner’s visionary world than ever before. Finally now the Rhinemaidens can emerge from the Rhine (tanks of water), the gods can swoop around the stage (on personal cranes) and Wotan can ride over the mountaintops for his encounter with Erda (accompanied by huge video projections). The whole production is breathtaking, with the magical use of human beings to create organic structures such as Valhalla (here in the picture) producing several jaw-dropping moments.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on February 11, 2010, 07:23:40 PM
Here's the other one (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/record.php?blurb=22&label=C+Major&cat=700508&cat1=700604&cat2=700708&cat3=700804&cat4=700908&cat5=701004&cat6=701108&cat7=701204&pageTitle=Wagner+-+Der+Ring+des+Nibelungen)

Striking, but NOT how I picture the Rhine maidens:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/jan-jun09/valencia_rhinemaidens.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 19, 2010, 05:46:13 PM
I'm looking for the Goodall Ring at a good price (under 100$). It doesn't seem to be a available from e-retailers at  anything under 150$. Prices range from expensive to outrageous.

This has some of the best sung Wagner around (esp. in Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods), and orchestral detail is just astounding.

Any one has a tip ?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 20, 2010, 12:51:07 AM
Striking, but NOT how I picture the Rhine maidens:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/jan-jun09/valencia_rhinemaidens.jpg)


There's a lot of Klingsor in this production. I doubt the Magician of Bayreuth would be pleased. Just listening to Wagner and seeing the mental picture is probably best (it has worked for me, I only saw my first and only production in the late 'nineties, in Amsterdam).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 20, 2010, 11:35:38 AM
I tried searching but couldn't find a thread dedicated to Ring recordings - so here's one. This was inspired by a thirty-year-old aspiration to own the Solti Ring, thwarted down the years by its prohibitive cost, but suddenly now affordable. (I bought mine last week for £51 on Amazon, and I see that its price has already leapt up to £68 - though that's still cheap by comparison with previous prices.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XST9HX1ZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

My 'big period' of Wagner listening was in the 70s and 80s. I had the Bohm Ring on LPs; listened to the live Bayreuth radio broadcast around 1980-ish (Boulez/Chereau/Gwyneth Jones) on successive evenings; saw ENO's 'Twilight of the Gods' (Goodall/Rita Hunter) twice, live. But I always wanted a Solti Ring, ever since a friend of mine played part of it to me in his newly constructed listening room. Herewith a diversion:

This guy had bought two semi-detached cottages, converted them into one, and included in the reconstruction a special listening room with a domed ceiling, painted with putti among clouds. There was a small stage, on which stood two Quad electrostatic loudspeakers, concealed by a thin gauze curtain. At the back of the room was a projector capable of projecting a range of special lighting effects onto the gauze: rippling water, clouds, fire, and so on. I first heard a large part of Solti's Gotterdammerung sitting in this room, played on what was then state-of-the-art audio equipment, with the projected images shifting according to what was happening in the music. My own stereo system couldn't compete with this; neither could the room acoustic in our family lounge; and neither could my Bohm recording, excellent though it seemed to me at the time.

I went home after that and ached for a Solti set; read Culshaw's book; but by then my Wagner phase was waning somewhat, and the Solti investment never happened. And in fact I haven't listened to a complete Act from The Ring in 20 years, being content with bleeding chunks, but knowing all the time that the bleeding chunks really were not the point, and never could be.

My Solti Ring arrived a couple of days ago, and today I listened to Rheingold. I wondered how I'd find it after all these years, and in this new legendary, unfamiliar version (unfamiliar to me, that is). Well, it was spellbinding, for all sorts of reasons.

First, even though I've read comments about the recording quality in reviews, I still found it impossible to accept that this recording was made in 1958. It comes up as fresh and dynamic and exciting as anything I know - so good that almost immediately I stopped even thinking about recording quality and just seemed to absorb the music directly.

Second, the sense of 'dramatic presence' is astonishing. Even having read Culshaw's book, I'm not sure how they managed to achieve this. I can see in principle that in constructing a studio recording, it's possible to organise things across the stereo sound stage trying to compensate for the lack of visual clues (as one would get in a real performance), but that they achieved this so well is breathtaking. My Bohm set, if my memory serves me right, doesn't come close to achieving this sense of 'presence'.
 
Third, I was astonished to discover how easy it was to listen to; how so many of the leitmotifs are still embedded, subconsciously, in my distinctly feeble musical memory, and immediately recognisable (if not consciously  identifiable), as the tapestry of the music unfolds. A friend once said that he couldn't hear tunes in Wagner - a comment which astonished me, because the whole damn thing is full of tunes: interweaving, constantly shifting gear, but ever-present.

I'm almost scared, now, to move on - not sure whether the rest of this recorded cycle can live up to the brilliance of Rheingold. Oh, I know it will, objectively. But am I up to it? We'll see. Meanwhile, if anyone is hesitating over the buying of this set on grounds that it might sound 'dated' - forget any such worries. As far as I'm concerned, this recording could have been made yesterday, and it can only get better from here on.

I have just two grumbles. (1) Why do they make the outer box so tight that it's almost impossible to extract the inner boxes? (2) Why do they print the booklet so that the lines of the English translation have insufficient left-hand margin, and therefore are so close to the spine that one almost has to break the booklet in order to read them, when there's so much blank space available on the other side?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 20, 2010, 12:15:38 PM

I have just two grumbles. (1) Why do they make the outer box so tight that it's almost impossible to extract the inner boxes?

I think I have the same edition (a recent purchase, and relatively cheap; the cover looks the same). The outer box has a top lid that comes off completely, exposing the four inner boxes, right? Mine come out very easily. I don't know why yours would be different.

Quote
(2) Why do they print the booklet so that the lines of the English translation have insufficient left-hand margin, and therefore are so close to the spine that one almost has to break the booklet in order to read them, when there's so much blank space available on the other side?

I'm so familiar with the Ring I rarely look at the libretto. I hadn't noticed the Solti booklet before. I just took a look. It is poorly made! I actually laughed when I saw all the white space on the right side pages. Brilliant design  ::)

I saw your post in the Purchase thread. Congratulations on realizing a dream. I didn't say anything then because I can be...well, a little negative about the Solti Ring. I own eleven Rings and Solti is ranked number ten. But don't mind me....I'm weird  ;)

When someone asks for a recommendation, though, I do tell them Solti is the safe bet. The cast is great; Culshaw's production astounding. I just find Solti a bit hard driven. I prefer Böhm, Barenboim and Karajan, especially in Walküre. Solti's Walküre is, I think, the weak link. I sincerely hope, though, that when you move beyond Rheingold, it will not be a disappointment. If it is, though, Siegfried should reassure you. I think that is the best of Solti's Ring.

It's strange. I'm usually a Solti advocate: one of the few in this forum who loves his Elgar, Mahler, Liszt, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven. But the one composer he's most identified with, the one he's most celebrated for--Wagner--I have problems with. Go figure  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: samuel on July 20, 2010, 06:32:54 PM
(http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z208/samdrophy/Keilberth.jpg)

This set was a revelation to me when it was released by Testament a few years back and is my prime recommendation to anyone. It's one of the few chances to hear great singers like Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, and Astrid Varnay, etc. ACTUALLY IN THEIR PRIMES and in STEREO SOUND, a very rare combination. Keilberth isn't a big name like Solti or Karajan but he's very good, especially in the second two operas when he really brings levels of excitement unheard of in the competing sets (Karajan, Boehm, even Solti believe it or not).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 21, 2010, 12:30:38 AM
I think I have the same edition (a recent purchase, and relatively cheap; the cover looks the same). The outer box has a top lid that comes off completely, exposing the four inner boxes, right? Mine come out very easily. I don't know why yours would be different.
That's the one, Sarge. (Was the packaging different in previous incarnations, I wonder?) The inner boxes really are a pig to remove from the outer - makes me want to take an oil can to the thing.

Quote
I'm so familiar with the Ring I rarely look at the libretto. I hadn't noticed the Solti booklet before. I just took a look. It is poorly made! I actually laughed when I saw all the white space on the right side pages. Brilliant design  ::)
Yes. Worthy of ranking along with those other dud designs such as saucepans that drip when you try to pour from them (as if we hadn't learned any lessons at all after making saucepans for centuries).

Quote
I saw your post in the Purchase thread. Congratulations on realizing a dream. I didn't say anything then because I can be...well, a little negative about the Solti Ring. I own eleven Rings and Solti is ranked number ten. But don't mind me....I'm weird  ;)

When someone asks for a recommendation, though, I do tell them Solti is the safe bet. The cast is great; Culshaw's production astounding. I just find Solti a bit hard driven. I prefer Böhm, Barenboim and Karajan, especially in Walküre. Solti's Walküre is, I think, the weak link. I sincerely hope, though, that when you move beyond Rheingold, it will not be a disappointment. If it is, though, Siegfried should reassure you. I think that is the best of Solti's Ring.

It's strange. I'm usually a Solti advocate: one of the few in this forum who loves his Elgar, Mahler, Liszt, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven. But the one composer he's most identified with, the one he's most celebrated for--Wagner--I have problems with. Go figure  ;)
I revel in your weirdness in this respect, and am not surprised by it or anyone else's. Reading reviews of these various productions makes it obvious that different people approach the Ring for different reasons and from different perspectives. For me, involvement in the drama has always been uppermost - the chance to inhabit a mythical sphere where great epic deeds, both good and evil are done, where gods mingle with men in ways that seem differently meaningful with every encounter. So for me the music is a vehicle that assists that process, rather than an end in itself. I used to love English National Opera's staging in the 70s/80s - some found it unencouragingly minimal, but I loved the way it lifted the action off the stage, and into an abstract realm where the imagination could have free play. To a large degree I'm still strongly influenced by that particular conceptual approach, which probably seems a bit dated, now. (I was put off by what I saw of Chereau's production because it seemed to pin the thing down too tightly, making the whole Ring concept seem smaller - though it sounded well enough on the radio, and I vividly remember being blown away by Gwyneth Jones's Brunnhilde.)

But that's not the approach for everyone - and indeed my friend with the special listening room used to dismiss my high-falutin' mythic blather, and say that he preferred the Solti version for no other reason than that it was brighter and more exciting.* And indeed, that seems as good a reason as any!


*I think 'more lively' was the expression he actually used, now I come to think of it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 21, 2010, 08:03:24 AM
I like Solti's Ring for its dramatic qualities, and Janowski's for its musical grace and beauty...also a studio recording, with the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the first digital recording, its sound quality is also among the best, and the soloists are darned good, too!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brewski on July 21, 2010, 08:45:56 AM
The Solti set is great, and still holds up well after all these years.  I mean, it's not popular for no reason! 

Just want to mention two recently released sets on DVD, which I've dipped into somewhat.  While I haven't seen either entire cycle (yet), each has enough pleasures to tempt me to buy them both. 

The Copenhagen Ring begins with an interesting concept: Brünnhilde is examining books in an enormous library that stretches from the floor to the top of the curtain, trying to find out what has happened to her.  The entire cycle basically becomes one big flashback.  The conductor is Michael Schønwandt with the Royal Danish Opera, and the orchestra sounds terrific.  Some of the singers are excellent; others good to very good.

The Valencia Ring was perhaps even more surprising, with a production by La Fura dels Baus, the troupe based in Barcelona with a penchant for suspending people high in the air.  Zubin Mehta is the conductor, and (frankly) I hadn't paid much attention to his work in recent years--he's not my favorite--but he is marvelous here, getting a terrific performance from the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.  The spectacular venue (Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía) was designed by Santiago Calatrava.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 21, 2010, 08:48:51 AM
Gawd, but I hate those four-evening-long flashbacks! ; )
 
One of these days, I'll listen to the Ring as included in the Bayreuth Festival Cube
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Franco on July 21, 2010, 08:53:56 AM
Gawd, but I hate those four-evening-long flashbacks! ; )
 
One of these days, I'll listen to the Ring as included in the Bayreuth Festival Cube

At present, listening to the Ring is beyond my capabilities - but I can watch a DVD.  Maybe after I have the basic outline of the characters and plot in my mind from having seen it staged, listening will be more productive.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Josquin des Prez on July 21, 2010, 06:20:51 PM
I personally really like Bohm. Too bad his set didn't come with a booklet.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2010, 12:00:53 AM
I personally really like Bohm. Too bad his set didn't come with a booklet.
When I had it in its original LP version, the booklets were superb - thick, lavish, and a delight to use - with full texts and translations, but also notes and photos from the Bayreuth production. When I bought the CD version (years after I'd disposed of all my vinyl) I was shocked to discover that the whole of that side of things had been cast aside.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on July 22, 2010, 06:37:11 AM
When I had it in its original LP version, the booklets were superb - thick, lavish, and a delight to use - with full texts and translations, but also notes and photos from the Bayreuth production. When I bought the CD version (years after I'd disposed of all my vinyl) I was shocked to discover that the whole of that side of things had been cast aside.

I had the CD version of Rheingold back in the '80s.  It came with a booklet including the libretto, but not that I recall any linkage from the production beyond the cover photo.

Unfortunately, I put this recording and some others on the back shelf for too long. The styrofoam padding included in the CD box dried out, stuck to the CDs and ruined them  irreparably. Had to throw it out.  Same thing with the Solti recordings of Meistersinger and Marriage of Figaro.  A couple of other sets suffered less damage:  the CDs were unplayable, but I could at least rip and burn copies to use in their place.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2010, 07:02:17 AM
About 30-odd years ago I went through the anguish of deciding which Ring to buy, against a background of not having any money. The obvious best choice back then was the Decca/Solti recording, but it was simply out of reach, and I settled on the significantly cheaper but still highly regarded Bohm/Bayreuth version. Well, I played the grooves out of those LPs and thought it was a superb recording, but I always hankered after a Solti set.

That mirrors my own Ring beginnings. In the early 70s, when I finally had a good stereo system, I couldn't afford Solti. I was newly married, scraping by on a Buck Sergeant's salary. All I had were a couple recordings of the bleeding chunks. I was assigned to Germany in 1974, where records were even more expensive. But there was a shop that operated like a club: you had to agree to buy at least one item per month. It was mostly books but they also had a few records. In exchange for that contractual agreement, they offered significant discounts (at a time discounts in normal shops were non-existent). I found Böhm's Ring there, for the astounding price of 99 DM (about 40 dollars).

After I bought a CD player in 1985, my parents-in-law gave me Karajan's Ring for Christmas. I was disappointed (I was hoping for Solti). But when I listened to Karajan, I fell in love. It's still my favorite: a combination of poetry and power (when applicable; the Berlin Phil even trumping Solti's Vienna forces occasionally--the last pages of Rheingold, for example.

When I had it in its original LP version, the booklets were superb - thick, lavish, and a delight to use - with full texts and translations, but also notes and photos from the Bayreuth production. When I bought the CD version (years after I'd disposed of all my vinyl) I was shocked to discover that the whole of that side of things had been cast aside.

There is quite a quantitative and qualitative difference between the LP's presentation and the CD's. My Böhm LP box came with four booklets, one for each opera. The CD box looks pretty puny, doesn't it  ;D

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/june2010/RingBoehm.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2010, 07:04:38 AM
The styrofoam padding included in the CD box dried out, stuck to the CDs...
I've had that happen, too, but found that rubbing alcohol and distilled water were adequate solvents to save the discs.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 22, 2010, 07:24:02 AM
The Copenhagen Ring begins with an interesting concept: Brünnhilde is examining books in an enormous library that stretches from the floor to the top of the curtain, trying to find out what has happened to her.

How original! how dramatically relevant and compelling! But tell me, please: just what is Brünnhilde reading - a century of Wagnerian scholarship? - and since she rides her horse into the funeral pyre being ignited for Siegfried, just when is she expected to catch up with all those books?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2010, 07:31:28 AM
How original! how dramatically relevant and compelling! But tell me, please: just what is Brünnhilde reading - a century of Wagnerian scholarship? - and since she rides her horse into the funeral pyre being ignited for Siegfried, just when is she expected to catch up with all those books?

Maybe it was all just a dream  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2010, 07:35:00 AM
Maybe it was all just a dream  :D

I was literally about to post much the same thing! I was going to say just a bad dream, though ; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2010, 07:37:20 AM
I was literally about to post much the same thing! I was going to say just a bad dream, though ; )

Bad, Karl, bad. Go to your corner.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Walther von Stolzing on July 22, 2010, 07:37:57 AM
Wow. Now I'm even more anxious to pick up the Solti recording.

The only recording I have is the Janowski, which I purchased largely because I got it for 1/3 the price of what the Solti usually runs. I think it's a great bargain, and overall I'm very happy with the performances. It didn't come with a libretto, but I went ahead and purchased the libretto by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington, which I think is much preferable to those little booklets anyways.

But one day soon I'll have to bite the bullet financially and pick up the Solti.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2010, 07:38:29 AM

Bad, Karl, bad. Go to your corner.

For shame, Sarge!  I had in mind the producer's liberties, of course.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Todd on July 22, 2010, 07:47:44 AM
I personally really like Bohm. Too bad his set didn't come with a booklet.


My set did.  I guess it depends on which incarnation you buy.

I've cooled on new Wagner recordings over the past couple years, so I'm still stuck with the Keilberth '55 and Krauss '53 as my two favorites.  It's hard for me to imagine how these could be bettered, though I'd love it if they were.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2010, 09:54:13 AM

For shame, Sarge!  I had in mind the producer's liberties, of course.

Oh, my bad then  ;D  Okay, to make up for the undeserved punishment, I'll buy you ice cream  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2010, 09:56:30 AM
Good man!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 22, 2010, 10:11:17 AM

I don't get the Solti. 

Karajan's is my favorite cycle, although the audio engineering is a problem in some places.  One gripe with Solti's cycle is that the singers "sing."  In Karajan's cycle, there is more "acting" with the voices, which tends to draw me in.  Karajan's recording also has some of the most gorgeous orchestral playing I can ever recall hearing.  At one point I was listening to Walkure and one of the orchestral interludes was so breathtaking I had to stop it and listen again.  It was something unique to Karajan/Berlin, where he was able to get them to produce an exhalation of sound with enormous volume, but without harshness.  I put on the Solti in the same passage, and it sounded like a Sousa march.  I will have to look it up, I don't remember exactly what it was.

Beyond Karajan, I do enjoy Bohm's ring a lot, there is a definite excitement in the live performance, although in places it is not polished.  I recall that at the very end of Rheingold you can distinctly hear one of the trombonists run out of air and take a breath.  They were just pushed beyond the limits of endurance.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2010, 10:41:33 AM
That mirrors my own Ring beginnings. In the early 70s, when I finally had a good stereo system, I couldn't afford Solti. I was newly married, scraping by on a Buck Sergeant's salary. All I had were a couple recordings of the bleeding chunks. I was assigned to Germany in 1974, where records were even more expensive. But there was a shop that operated like a club: you had to agree to buy at least one item per month. It was mostly books but they also had a few records. In exchange for that contractual agreement, they offered significant discounts (at a time discounts in normal shops were non-existent). I found Böhm's Ring there, for the astounding price of 99 DM (about 40 dollars).
It was much the same for us. We started by wearing out an LP of Gotterdammerung highlights (Mackerras/Hunter/Remedios), and with two young children and a new mortgage the idea of spending serious money on a box of LPs seemed outrageous. The Bohm was the most recently released version, and because of the promotional mail order deals, it was the cheapest of the modern recordings. I can't remember just how we scraped the cash together, because Lord knows we didn't have any to spare, but we did it. On the day the Bohm box arrived, my wife phoned me at work, breathless, babbling into the phone: 'It's arrived and I've been listening to Rheingold all morning, and it's even better than we hoped!'

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/june2010/RingBoehm.jpg)

Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! This photo of yours speaks volumes, Sarge, and makes me realise again what an idiot I was, in my zeal to remove all vinyl from our house, and thinking my 'Wagner phase' had passed, not to keep the booklets from that box.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on July 22, 2010, 12:42:44 PM
I've had that happen, too, but found that rubbing alcohol and distilled water were adequate solvents to save the discs.

One has to be careful--too much rubbing alcohol, or putting it on the wrong side, will ruin the CD.  I learned that the hard way....but the CD would have been unplayable anyway....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on July 22, 2010, 01:28:22 PM
My first Ring was the Solti on LPs, like this....

(http://991.com/NewGallery/WAGNER-Der-Ring-Des-Nibe-477798.jpg)

I would have been about 17 and the friend I had who managed our local LP shop got it for me at cost price. In those days a full price LP would cost about £2.10 shillings. I earned about nine pounds a week. I think I paid about £38 for the box, which had 19 LPs of the Ring and three LPs in the Introduction to...which I seem to recall were free when you bought that box.

But, it was Karajan's way with it the music that I preferred; the lyricism.

Alan, you saying someone could not hear the tunes; after the premier of Tannhauser one supposedly distinguished critic claimed that there were no tunes in it! Guy must have been deaf.

Like Bruce I am very engaged by the Copenhagen DVD Ring and have at last just ordered the Mehta Walkure. I have swithered for so long as the camera work is said to be so irritating. We shall see.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 23, 2010, 01:00:21 AM
My first Ring was the Solti on LPs, like this....

(http://991.com/NewGallery/WAGNER-Der-Ring-Des-Nibe-477798.jpg)

That brings back memories too, Mike - that of course was the set my friend had, on permanent display in his home-built auditorium. What a spectacular construction that box was - a massive design that perfectly matched the weight and infinite value of the musical contents, as if it contained, sealed away, the Rhinegold itself.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2010, 02:59:39 AM
My first Ring was the Solti on LPs, like this....

(http://991.com/NewGallery/WAGNER-Der-Ring-Des-Nibe-477798.jpg)

I'll have to keep an eye out for a copy at the local thrift stores!

Serious devotees will, of course, want need to have this 6kg box set:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/Feb10/Ring_4sets.jpg)

Review here: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/Feb10/Wagner_Ring_ESSD90021-34.htm
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2010, 03:39:42 AM
Serious devotees will, of course, want need to have this 6kg box set:

$800 and you don't get an English translation. So it's not just the cheap sets that are lacking  ;D

And is his comment "...a Japanese copy of John Culshaw’s book; extremely useful" meant seriously or ironically?


I'm disappointed in the review. He didn't tell us why these remasters are better. No examples, no comparisons, just "I bought mine because the rich sound of the Viennese, surely the world’s most amazing opera orchestra, can be heard at home as never before" ....whatever that means.


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2010, 03:42:44 AM
My first Ring was the Solti on LPs, like this....
(http://991.com/NewGallery/WAGNER-Der-Ring-Des-Nibe-477798.jpg)

It looks like it was carved out of a single piece of metal (Direct Metal Mastering? ;D )  Impressive. I've never seen the complete Ring box before.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2010, 03:50:10 AM
And is his comment "...a Japanese copy of John Culshaw’s book; extremely useful" meant seriously or ironically?

$800?  Is that all?  For such an exclusive limited edition guaranteed to make you the envy of all your friends?  (Hmmm, imagine if Wagnerites were as common as Trekkies, wearing funny costumes at ComicCon...or if they were like the Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, dressing up and acting out during performances?  Maybe you can start the trend at Bayreuth!)

I think the poor guy is serious.  Hey!  Maybe we should invite him to join GMG and participate in some of Teresa's threads!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2010, 04:01:32 AM
English translations is extra, man.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 23, 2010, 04:09:09 AM
$800 and you don't get an English translation. So it's not just the cheap sets that are lacking  ;D

And is his comment "...a Japanese copy of John Culshaw’s book; extremely useful" meant seriously or ironically?


I'm disappointed in the review. He didn't tell us why these remasters are better. No examples, no comparisons, just "I bought mine because the rich sound of the Viennese, surely the world’s most amazing opera orchestra, can be heard at home as never before" ....whatever that means.


Sarge

Whuddya mean? He says, "Without any doubt, this issue is the ultimate accomplishment of the recording industry." That's all you need.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Guido on July 23, 2010, 05:02:32 AM
Whuddya mean? He says, "Without any doubt, this issue is the ultimate accomplishment of the recording industry." That's all you need.

So many zingers from you on this thread! Keep it up!  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 23, 2010, 05:06:55 AM
So many zingers from you on this thread! Keep it up!  ;D ;D ;D

For $800 you should be getting the entire Vienna Philharmonic plus noted soloists to perform the entire work live in your living room, as well as hard-bound folio copies of the full scores to all four operas.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2010, 05:39:02 AM
For $800 you should be getting the entire Vienna Philharmonic plus noted soloists to perform the entire work live in your living room, as well as hard-bound folio copies of the full scores to all four operas.
If you can get them for that price, I'm sure there are plenty of venues whose management would be interested in hearing from you.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 23, 2010, 05:54:30 AM
If you can get them for that price, I'm sure there are plenty of venues whose management would be interested in hearing from you.

Do you think maybe I can get just an anvil or two?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2010, 06:04:06 AM
And maybe even a dwarf to smack against 'em!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on July 23, 2010, 11:49:06 AM
$800 and you don't get an English translation. So it's not just the cheap sets that are lacking  ;D

And is his comment "...a Japanese copy of John Culshaw’s book; extremely useful" meant seriously or ironically?


I'm disappointed in the review. He didn't tell us why these remasters are better. No examples, no comparisons, just "I bought mine because the rich sound of the Viennese, surely the world’s most amazing opera orchestra, can be heard at home as never before" ....whatever that means.


Sarge

He mentions problems with the original LP and CD reissues that apparently are not present in the Esoteric version.  Plus,  apparently, one should listen to it on the same type of loudspeakers that were used to monitor the recording sessions.  Or something like that. 

And this
Quote
The Notes and Track List - also in German and Japanese however, you can save the European Decca CD set booklet before you discard the CDs.


So not only do I need to be fluent in Japanese and German,  and have the same pair of loudspeakers John Culshaw used,  I should already own the actual Decca issue.

Sarge, I think for the expenses involved in all that, I could fly from Miami to Germany, pick up you wife and you on the way, and take in the complete cycle at Bayreuth.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 25, 2010, 12:00:39 PM
Just been having a discussion with Mike involving the Goodall/ENO Ring, and thought it might be worth putting something here about it.

Although the bulk of my Ring listening was done via the Bohm cycle in the 70s and 80s (as described above), we had a small windfall at some point. Although by then our 'Wagner phase' seemed to have played itself out, we treated ourselves to a Goodall Ring, hoping it would remind us of seeing Rita and Alberto do it live, and maybe restart the Wagner enthusiasm.

But it didn't work out like that. The sound of the discs seemed unsatisfactory - the stereo image seemed vague and the sound woolly - and we put it down to the fact that the LPs were quadrophonic, and perhaps imperfectly compatible with our stereo system. And Goodall seemed slow and ponderous by comparison with Bohm - so the Wagner resurgence never happened, and in fact our 'windfall' Goodall set was dispatched at the end of the LP age along with everything else, having been played through only once.

What's the Goodall set like on CD? Is it still vague, as I remember it? It would be nice to listen to Rita and Alberto again, but I don't want to be bitten twice in the same place, 20 years on ....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: ccar on July 25, 2010, 02:04:52 PM
It is not easy to capture the "moment" of a musical performance into a recording. And naturally this is even more difficult in Opera, where the visual can be as important as the music itself. Most of us long for the frisson of a live performance, for the natural sound and ambiance and for the direct contact with the stage, the musicians and the singers.

So why do we still look for and listen to the old sound only recordings of one of the most epic and theatrical adventures – Wagner’s Ring. Some may look more into the power of some past vocal performances. Others are more impressed by the intensity and sophistication of the recorded orchestral sound.
             
Personally, when I look to these recorded performances, what impresses me most is the way they can build a powerful and dramatic “image”, where we may dream we are actually there, feeling the intensity of the stage, the power of the music and the intelligence and acting qualities of the singers.  And sometimes, if the performance has real magic, and you are familiar enough with the work, the fact that you don’t have the image may be like a great novel that feeds your own imagination.   

Perhaps this is why the luxurious Solti or Karajan recordings never helped my craving for that emotional intensity of a live performance. I really can’t put any list of "best" recordings but perhaps there are those whose preserved magic I most remember –Furtwangler La Scala 1950, Krauss Bayreuth 1953, Keilberth Bayreuth 1955 (particularly the “second cycle”, with Martha Modl’s Brunnhilde) and Knappertsbusch Bayreuth 1958.

And for a totally different reason I also can’t forget the extraordinary “visual“ impression of the Chéreau’s Ring. The truthiness of the acting is so intense I almost found myself on the stage, inside the drama, seeing the action and not really listening to the music or the singing.   
 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51K5NiavpDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f4irxaWaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61XUG6GSMUL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TXckk1IaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)    (http://rodiazsa.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ring58.jpg)

(http://img.amazon.ca/images/I/51BBQ6KQYHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/object3/1143/42/n16319280785_8451.jpg) (http://www.wagneropera.net/Images/Chereau-Rheingold-Zednik-545.jpg)
   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 25, 2010, 11:51:17 PM
And sometimes, if the performance has real magic, and you are familiar enough with the work, the fact that you don’t have the image may be like a great novel that feeds your own imagination.   

Perhaps this is why the luxurious Solti or Karajan recordings never helped my craving for that emotional intensity of a live performance.
Reading that first sentence, I find myself nodding - very much my own feelings about the matter - but I don't think I understand your next sentence. Are you saying that the Solti doesn't have this magic, for you? Or do you mean only that it doesn't have the feel of 'live opera'?

Quote
And for a totally different reason I also can’t forget the extraordinary “visual“ impression of the Chéreau’s Ring. The truthiness of the acting is so intense I almost found myself on the stage, inside the drama, seeing the action and not really listening to the music or the singing.
You're referring here to the purely audio recording, yes? Is this because you've seen the DVD and can transfer the images in imagination when you listen to the audio only?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 26, 2010, 12:11:27 AM
Not really relevant to this thread because not related to a recording, but still part of the ongoing story, for me: I recently came across a programme for a concert performance of Rheingold under Solti's baton when he was with the London Phil, in 1980. To my delight, it was signed not only by him (see below), but, on the other pages, by all the members of the cast too.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/RheingoldProgramme-Soltireduced.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 26, 2010, 05:01:42 AM
It is not easy to capture the "moment" of a musical performance into a recording. And naturally this is even more difficult in Opera, where the visual can be as important as the music itself. Most of us long for the frisson of a live performance, for the natural sound and ambiance and for the direct contact with the stage, the musicians and the singers.

Perhaps "most of us" long for that but I don't. I find live recordings a necessary evil: a way to hear conductors, singers and performances I wouldn't otherwise hear but subject to all the problems inherent in live recording: balance between singers and orchestra, extraneous stage noise (those horrid THUMPS), the chorus scambling around the stage, prompters, audience noise, singers and musicians tiring near the end. Sure, a live recording can make me feel like I'm in the theater--but it also makes me wish I weren't ;D  There are too many distractions that get in the way of the music.

As far as live "frisson" goes: nobody sings the first act of Walküre as intensely as Vickers for Karajan. No one thrills me like Vickers, Janowitz and Karajan's Berliners in the third scene. You don't need a live performance to accomplish that kind of intensity. You just need great performers. I can more easily slip into Wagner's world with a studio recording.


So why do we still look for and listen to the old sound only recordings of one of the most epic and theatrical adventures – Wagner’s Ring. Some may look more into the power of some past vocal performances. Others are more impressed by the intensity and sophistication of the recorded orchestral sound.
             
Personally, when I look to these recorded performances, what impresses me most is the way they can build a powerful and dramatic “image”, where we may dream we are actually there, feeling the intensity of the stage, the power of the music and the intelligence and acting qualities of the singers.  And sometimes, if the performance has real magic, and you are familiar enough with the work, the fact that you don’t have the image may be like a great novel that feeds your own imagination.

I own some of those 50s recordings too: Fürtwängler Rome, Krauss '53, Knappertsbusch '56. But I don't feel they "build a dramatic image" any better than live recordings from the 60s and beyond (Böhm, Barenboim, Thielemann). In my mind they do a worse job because the sound quality is inferior which puts a kind of veil between me and the performers. Even the vaunted '55 Keilberth is noticeably inferior in quality of sound to Böhm.

Perhaps this is why the luxurious Solti or Karajan recordings never helped my craving for that emotional intensity of a live performance.

If that's what you want; if, for whatever reason, you only hear emotion in a live performance but can't hear it in Karajan and Solti's Rings, then of course their studio recordings won't satisfy you. Me, I'm more interested in simply hearing the music (and the emotion is hardly short-changed in their performances anyway--at least I have no trouble hearing it). In any case, the recording industry has taken care of both of our needs spendidly  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 26, 2010, 05:31:07 AM
Perhaps this is why the luxurious Solti or Karajan recordings never helped my craving for that emotional intensity of a live performance. I really can’t put any list of "best" recordings but perhaps there are those whose preserved magic I most remember –Furtwangler La Scala 1950, Krauss Bayreuth 1953, Keilberth Bayreuth 1955 (particularly the “second cycle”, with Martha Modl’s Brunnhilde) and Knappertsbusch Bayreuth 1958.

You should consider this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41k6VnZWGOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

It is a lip-synched film, but the audio track is a live recording at Karajan's Easter Festival.  Gorgeous, clearly better than the studio recording.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 28, 2010, 12:37:58 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NYV33BPSL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Progressing well, now, through my Ring box, and am nearing the end of Walkure. Act 1 seemed superb, to me, but then it's packed with such emotion and such soaring tunes that I knew I'd be overwhelmed by it. I did nod off a bit in Act 2 - I know this is just my ignorance, but I do tend to lose concentration during those long slow soliloquies by Wotan, telling us in painstaking detail all those things we already know. Yes I know - if I were really musically alert and intelligent, I'd marvel at the way it's all put together, but most of that goes over my head, if I'm honest. Bohm's version had much the same effect, so how Solti is faring by comparison I hardly know.

But Act 3 - oh blimey, that is The Best Ride of the Valkyries I've ever heard - and by golly they act their socks off, those gals. The changes in tone, the switches of emotion as they're confronted with what Brunnhilde has done - this all seems excellent to me. I found myself completely swept away into the drama and the music. I've had to leave the closing Wotan/Brunnhilde section for another day.

My only quibble in all this is that sometimes the special acoustic effects aren't completely convincing, despite the fact that I want them to be. I find myself conscious of the 'special effect' aspect of the sound character. But it really is the slightest of quibbles, and I'm not finding this in any sense an anticlimax after the exhilaration of Rheingold.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 28, 2010, 01:28:20 PM
I do tend to lose concentration during those long slow soliloquies by Wotan, telling us in painstaking detail all those things we already know. Yes I know - if I were really musically alert and intelligent, I'd marvel at the way it's all put together, but most of that goes over my head, if I'm honest. Bohm's version had much the same effect, so how Solti is faring by comparison I hardly know.
It's not so much the way it's put together that I marvel over, but that everyone doesn't acknowledge the plain fact that it's not bad for a rough draft, but needs considerable trimming and honing before it could be considered a successful finished work.   Act I itself is a sleep aid more effective than the one Sieglinde cooks up for Hunding, and Act II...well, you know....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 28, 2010, 02:03:27 PM
Act 2 - I know this is just my ignorance, but I do tend to lose concentration during those long slow soliloquies by Wotan, telling us in painstaking detail all those things we already know. Yes I know - if I were really musically alert and intelligent, I'd marvel at the way it's all put together, but most of that goes over my head, if I'm honest. Bohm's version had much the same effect, so how Solti is faring by comparison I hardly know.

When I make this complaint, usually they explain to me that I'm a obviously cretin, since I don't understand that we have to hear Wotan tell us in painstaking detail what we've just seen in order to get Wotan's perspective on these events.   ::)

I tend to think of Wotan as a on-eyed Uncle Leo.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 28, 2010, 02:07:19 PM
One of these days, when I don't have a piece of my own that I am keen to write, I should check out the scores from the BPL, and do up the Ring avec partitures.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 28, 2010, 02:24:12 PM
One of these days, when I don't have a piece of my own that I am keen to write, I should check out the scores from the BPL, and do up the Ring avec partitures.
Make sure you have a blue pencil with, too.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 01:24:36 AM
It's not so much the way it's put together that I marvel over, but that everyone doesn't acknowledge the plain fact that it's not bad for a rough draft, but needs considerable trimming and honing before it could be considered a successful finished work.
Tempting though it is to agree, Dave, what worries me about making such a statement myself is the knowledge that I'm a poor listener, with a poor musical memory, and have an imaginative grasp far inferior to Wagner's - so I feel the odds are that most of the problems are at my end rather than his.
Rough draft? Surely not - after all that development time?
Over-ambitious? Possibly - but how can I know, from down here?
Excessively demanding on the listener? Certainly. But so is almost all the great art that I've carried with me through a lifetime.

Quote
Act I itself is a sleep aid more effective than the one Sieglinde cooks up for Hunding, and Act II...well, you know....
Not sure if that was a typo - do you really mean Act 1? Of Walkure? Siegmund and Sieglinde? Gosh - for me, that's one of the great high points of the Ring. I'd feel short-changed if so much as a note was removed from that. Drama, passion, danger, the most astounding lyrical intensity, orchestration that has me hanging expectantly on what's coming next  - my goodness, I couldn't sleep through any of that, no, no.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 01:39:22 AM
When I make this complaint, usually they explain to me that I'm a obviously cretin, since I don't understand that we have to hear Wotan tell us in painstaking detail what we've just seen in order to get Wotan's perspective on these events.   ::)
Neither of us is a cretin, but I'm content to accept that I may not be a good enough listener to fully grasp the musico-dramatic intricacies of what's going on in Act 2. I could readily believe that if I had a firmer memory of the leitmotives and greater sensitivity to the subtle ways he manipulated them, I'd be able to perceive so much going on that I'd be gripped by these apparently snooze-making proceedings. (I can't help but remember that thirty years ago I used to think Elgar's violin concerto was too long and too boring, but now, having come to know what I know through patience and persistence, I see the problems were all on my side. I have a lot of evidence of that sort to give me pause.)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on July 29, 2010, 04:40:47 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NZEV35HNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00000424H/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)
 
Elgarian
have you looked into getting a used copy of this 2 CD companion to Solti Ring............
 
Many people think very highly of it for giving deeper understanding of the music, said to be easy for anyone to follow and clearly explained, perhaps someone who owns it can comment
 
Neither of us is a cretin, but I'm content to accept that I may not be a good enough listener to fully grasp the musico-dramatic intricacies of what's going on in Act 2. I could readily believe that if I had a firmer memory of the leitmotives and greater sensitivity to the subtle ways he manipulated them, I'd be able to perceive so much going on that I'd be gripped by these apparently snooze-making proceedings. (I can't help but remember that thirty years ago I used to think Elgar's violin concerto was too long and too boring, but now, having come to know what I know through patience and persistence, I see the problems were all on my side. I have a lot of evidence of that sort to give me pause.)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 05:24:45 AM
Tempting though it is to agree, Dave, what worries me about making such a statement myself is the knowledge that I'm a poor listener, with a poor musical memory, and have an imaginative grasp far inferior to Wagner's - so I feel the odds are that most of the problems are at my end rather than his.
Rough draft? Surely not - after all that development time?
Over-ambitious? Possibly - but how can I know, from down here?
Excessively demanding on the listener? Certainly. But so is almost all the great art that I've carried with me through a lifetime.
That's very generous of you, Alan, but your flagging attention--and mine, and that of countless others over the past century-plus--is due not to deficiencies in the audience, but to deficiencies in the work itself.  It's a great idea to have music that "comments" on the dramatic action of a play--that's what opera was about long before little Dickie was born.  But no amount of cleverness in weaving leitmotifs through the music can compensate for dramatic flatness and turgidity.  Artfully arranged parsley won't make a rump roast into filet mignon.

Over-ambitious?  I think so.  Good idea, sloppy execution, and due, I think, to the narcissistic grandiosity of the creator, self-evident in the work and much to its detriment.

Quote
Not sure if that was a typo - do you really mean Act 1? Of Walkure? Siegmund and Sieglinde? Gosh - for me, that's one of the great high points of the Ring. I'd feel short-changed if so much as a note was removed from that. Drama, passion, danger, the most astounding lyrical intensity, orchestration that has me hanging expectantly on what's coming next  - my goodness, I couldn't sleep through any of that, no, no.
Yep, I meant Act I -- and I agree that it's one of the high points of the Ring...along with Act I of Siegfried, which likewise suffers from what we might charitably call too much of a good thing.  I suspect that what happens for true devotees is a quasi-religious trance state in which the passage of time seems suspended.  For the rest of us the dramatic flatness is an obstacle that undermines the success of a work that includes many great moments but, alas, many "dull quarter-hours."  And without the visual spectacle and frisson of a live performance to help hold our attention, some of us find recordings a challenge--but the dramatic emphasis of Solti's Ring helps quite a bit.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 05:40:18 AM
. . . Artfully arranged parsley won't make a rump roast into filet mignon.

Recalls a Zappa-ism: garni du jour.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 07:40:48 AM
That's very generous of you, Alan, but your flagging attention--and mine, and that of countless others over the past century-plus--is due not to deficiencies in the audience, but to deficiencies in the work itself.
No, honestly, it's nothing to do with being generous (though I'd gladly be generous to Wagner, if that's what it takes) - it's more to do with realism, or rather, knowledge of how so often in the past I've been caught out in this way. The pattern is so familiar:

1. I approach generally acclaimed 'Great Work'.
2. I appreciate some bits, but not others. Dismiss them as 'bad' (or overambitious, or badly edited, or whatever).
3. Years go by.
4. One day, I discover things have changed. Lots of the bad stuff now seems much better, and so:
5. What seemed like a patchwork of good bits and bad bits now seems like a tapestry far more intricate, far more demanding, and far more satisfying than I'd thought earlier.

I'm not saying this pattern fits all - but I've experienced it so often that I've become deeply suspicious of my 'dismissive' episodes. That's doesn't mean I believe it's all wonderful; just that my personal dismissals are so unreliable as to be counterproductive.

Quote
I suspect that what happens for true devotees is a quasi-religious trance state in which the passage of time seems suspended.
Well yes, but that's as good a description of a genuine engagement with great art as I'm likely to encounter - or at least, one way of describing it - and for me it's one of the most treasured experiences one can have, when all else is stilled, and the whole of one's being is engaged here and now with this 'other'. I wouldn't myself choose the word 'quasi-religious', perhaps (though I can see why one might); but a deep engagement with a work of art does involve a sense of heightened perception and sometimes a change in the perception of time - don't you think?  I don't think that's just for the 'true devotee' though - it can strike out of the blue, when the perceptive barriers come down, and one sees clearly (in Blake's sense).

I think there's another possible aspect of this, too - those passages of what we think of as 'dramatic flatness' (let's suppose that they really are a bit lacking) remind me of a description Ruskin once gave when analysing the composition of a Turner painting: "He paints for a minute or two with intense decision, then suddenly becomes, as the spectator thinks, slovenly; but he is not slovenly; you could not have taken any more decision from him just then; you have had as much as is good for you." That kind of idea (even if we squirm a bit at Ruskin's 'teacherly' tone) is pretty helpful when looking intently at paintings, and I suppose is used intuitively in music all the time. The difficulty arises specifically in Wagner, because we automatically want the dull bits to be short, and he seems to want them to be a quarter of an hour, as you put it.

But laying all this dubious theorising aside - I've now listened through the whole of Solti's Walkure, and sure, I struggled a bit to stay with it in Act 2. But I don't care. The rest of it (including the whole of the debateable ground of Act 1) was so wonderfully rewarding that I've had my 50 quid's worth out of this set already, and I still have Siegfried and Gotterdammerung to go. The single most stunning aspect of this is that I really thought my Wagner enthusiasm had peaked 25 or 30 years ago and was behind me. It's tremendous discovering that it isn't, and this time round I'm finding it bigger, and better, than ever. I think Solti and Culshaw have a lot to do with this - I'm noticing things in this recording all the time that seem more effectively articulated than I've ever heard them before.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 29, 2010, 07:54:28 AM
I'd like to hear some thoughts of others who have listened to part or all of the DVD 'Copenhagen Ring'?

I've rented and watched Das Rheingold, and thoroughly enjoyed the modernized production.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514VbaebHhL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on July 29, 2010, 08:14:18 AM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,10950.20.html

Here is a link to a thread discussing it.

Alan, A great and thoughtful post. I know what you mean about suspicion of one's own reactions in Wagner. I used to have problems sitting through Walkure Act 2, but then saw the prom with Pappano/Domingo.Terfel. Suddenly I was engaged fully and time did flow by.

But I have sympathy with the view that Wagner can be a bore. I don't think anyone can make three quarters of the first act of Siegfried other than a bum-numbing experience for me.

I would happily half the length of Meistersingers. I last saw it at the Edinburgh Festival and could not wait to get half way through the final act.

Clearly we have no real hard core Wagnerarians haunting the site on a regular basis. There are however two who post nowhere but on Wagner threads and tend to intervene around 'now', simply to set up the altar and condemn the faithless.

Mike



Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 09:23:49 AM
Alan, A great and thoughtful post.
Hear, hear...as usual.  Just as when discussing Elgar's VC or Pre-Raphaelite painting, your thoughtful and measured contribution encourages one to give it another go bearing your generous point of view in mind.    How blessed we are to find such wonderful teachers just a mouse-click away! 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 09:33:32 AM
Hear, hear!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on July 29, 2010, 09:50:57 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NZEV35HNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00000424H/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)
 
Elgarian
have you looked into getting a used copy of this 2 CD companion to Solti Ring............
 
Many people think very highly of it for giving deeper understanding of the music, said to be easy for anyone to follow and clearly explained, perhaps someone who owns it can comment

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PzwaVKN4L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
In addition to the 2 CD companion discussion set there is also the DVD above which documents the recording sessions for the Solti Ring...........perhaps both need to be purchased for the complete Solti experience.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 29, 2010, 10:02:24 AM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,10950.20.html

Here is a link to a thread discussing it.


Great.  Many thanks, Mike!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 29, 2010, 10:09:19 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NZEV35HNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00000424H/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)
 
Elgarian
have you looked into getting a used copy of this 2 CD companion to Solti Ring............
 
Many people think very highly of it for giving deeper understanding of the music, said to be easy for anyone to follow and clearly explained, perhaps someone who owns it can comment
I find it quite useful. It is not something to just listen to straight through, but it can help understand the thing better and the use of examples (quite extensive ones at that) is quite helpful. I recently bought the book Wagner's Ring by M Owen Lee and I hope that will add something as well.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 29, 2010, 10:17:14 AM
I recently bought the book Wagner's Ring by M Owen Lee and I hope that will add something as well.

Great, great book.  I found it very useful in giving me a better understanding of The Ring.  I should read it again.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 11:22:46 AM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PzwaVKN4L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
In addition to the 2 CD companion discussion set there is also the DVD above which documents the recording sessions for the Solti Ring...........perhaps both need to be purchased for the complete Solti experience.
Thanks DA. Yes, I have Cooke's 2CD guide to the Ring; and I have The Golden Ring DVD; and I have Culshaw's book - which I've read many times over the years, even though I didn't own the Solti recording itself until last week!

The Cooke set is excellent - brilliant, actually. My problem is that  I listen and follow everything ... but afterwards the themes tend to muddle together and I so easily forget which is which (except for the very easy, obvious ones); and this happens no matter how many times I listen to the Guide. Well that's OK, I think - the leitmotives aren't there to be analysed, but to generate subliminal musical messages (or so I tell myself) - and in any case the Cooke Guide is a pleasure to revisit in its own right.

I find The Golden Ring film (which is really only concerned with the recording of Gotterdammerung portion of the series), like Culshaw's book Ring Resounding, inspiring and enormously enjoyable. Even after all these years, I keep revisiting them at intervals.

For more general reading, I also have Donington's Jungian dissection of the Ring (Wagner's Ring and its symbols), but, with the best will in the world, I only usually understand about 10% of what I read there, even on a good day. I feel as if his expositions are always operating just beyond my grasp.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 11:33:14 AM
I have sympathy with the view that Wagner can be a bore. I don't think anyone can make three quarters of the first act of Siegfried other than a bum-numbing experience for me.
Well, I must admit that I'm approaching the next phase of my journey (Siegfried) with a good deal of trepidation. I've always found it to contain by far the largest proportion of snoozeworthy material in it, and you may find that my next post contradicts all the quietly contemplative 'could be my fault' assertions I've been making. Could be egg on the face time coming up!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Cato on July 29, 2010, 12:11:37 PM
Some memories of interest (I hope!   :o ) concerning Solti vs. Karajan.  And George Szell .

I recall the Solti Ring being considered practically legendary as soon as it came out, not just because it was the only stereo game in town for a while, (so to speak: I never heard of the Joseph Keilberth stereo Ring until skimming through this topic).

So when DGG announced a Karajan Ring cycle, I recall a good number of people expecting Karajan to go bigger, louder, etc.

The shock at his Rheingold, when it was released, contained disappointment in some reviews (the vast Cato archives no longer have the magazines, due to Mrs. Cato  0:)  bringing me to my senses that not everything can be kept forever) that here was a "chamber-music" approach to Wagner  :o which, grudgingly, they could accept as valid.

I recall it as if the two biggest bullies in town were supposed to be in a cage match, and one shows up as a just converted Buddhist monk to announce a cancellation.   8)

In the early 1970's, George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra had a phenomenal recording on CBS of Ring orchestral excerpts.  The result was a groundswell of support for them to record an entire Ring cycle.

It never happened: I suppose CBS deduced that the market could only support so many versions.

Joseph Keilberth conducted a slam-dunk performance on DGG of Hindemith's Cardillac with Fischer-Dieskau in the title role.  If you can find it, buy it!

Sarge: that German "club-store" you mentioned (like Sam's Club)!  I was a member too, when I lived in Tübingen.  What a coincidence!    :o
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 06:34:38 PM
Well, I must admit that I'm approaching the next phase of my journey (Siegfried) with a good deal of trepidation. I've always found it to contain by far the largest proportion of snoozeworthy material in it, and you may find that my next post contradicts all the quietly contemplative 'could be my fault' assertions I've been making. Could be egg on the face time coming up!
A magic sword, a mighty hunter, a venomous dwarf pursued by a bear, a god in disguise wagering life on a riddle, a nefarious plot to murder an adopted son, a battle to the death with a dragon guarding a magic ring, the rescue of a mysterious maiden surrounded by a ring of fire...only an extraordinary talent could turn such gripping material into a snoozefest.   ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 12:20:15 AM
A magic sword, a mighty hunter, a venomous dwarf pursued by a bear, a god in disguise wagering life on a riddle, a nefarious plot to murder an adopted son, a battle to the death with a dragon guarding a magic ring, the rescue of a mysterious maiden surrounded by a ring of fire...only an extraordinary talent could turn such gripping material into a snoozefest.   ;)
Yes, yes, exactly. We know we've succeeded in being perfect listeners when we can dispense with all that unnecessary stuff, penetrate to the really meaningful core, and fully experience the extremes of eventless tedium that only true genius can provide.

Ordinary people don't realise how much we suffer for our pleasure, do they?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on July 30, 2010, 02:18:50 AM
OMmmmmmmmm

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2010, 04:27:02 AM
As one of the last Perfect Wagnerites still active in this forum, I suppose it's my duty to intervene here and condemn the blasphemy. But frankly, I'm having too much fun reading it...and learning much, too, of certain members' opinions of the sacred texts. Continue, gentlemen and heretics. I may be back later with a corrective.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 04:32:27 AM
I think I need to write an opera with a bear pursued by a venomous dwarf.

For balance.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Cato on July 30, 2010, 06:05:43 AM
I think I need to write an opera with a bear pursued by a venomous dwarf.

For balance.


Hmm: how about a venomous bear pursued by a dwarf?   0:)

Make it Smurfette   :o   and then you would have a feminist subtext wafting around to balance the odor of the bear.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 30, 2010, 06:34:26 AM
Siegfried happens to be my favorite of the 4 Ring Operas (followed closely by Die Walkure).

If fails for me as a sleep inducer.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 06:46:07 AM
Siegfried happens to be my favorite of the 4 Ring Operas (followed closely by Die Walkure).

If fails for me as a sleep inducer.

This reminds me, I meant to post this a day or two ago . . . for the closing credits of (I think) “Cutback at CONTROL” (season 2 of Get Smart) Bernie Kopell's character is mis-spelled Seigfried.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 06:47:04 AM
Siegfried happens to be my favorite of the 4 Ring Operas (followed closely by Die Walkure).

If fails for me as a sleep inducer.
My favorite, too.  Alas, even when well rested and fortified with strong coffee, all four tend to put me to sleep--as well as everything else by the venomous dwarf little Dickie.

That's not to say that I think they're bad--far from it.  Only that they're hardly the flawless masterpieces true devotees believe them to be and would probably be much better if only little Dickie had been more craftsman and less "Artiste."  By way of context, for those so offended by my blasphemy that they fail to get my drift, please note that two of the most effective non-chemical sleep aids I know--the DVDs of Patton and Lawrence of Arabia--are also among the films I most admire. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 06:48:50 AM
. . .  By way of context, for those so offended by my blasphemy that they fail to get my drift, please note that two of the most effective non-chemical sleep aids I know--the DVDs of Patton and Lawrence of Arabia--are also among the films I most admire.

Excellent point, Dave!  They are great films, and therefore invite repeat viewing . . . and yet, when we've already assimilated them a few times . . . aye, they can get a bit sleepy in the middle.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 30, 2010, 06:50:53 AM
By way of context, for those so offended by my blasphemy that they fail to get my drift, please note that two of the most effective non-chemical sleep aids I know--the DVDs of Patton and Lawrence of Arabia--are also among the films I most admire.

Patton is a film that I have found less and less compelling as I my acquaintance with has become longer.  George C Scott played the character better in Dr. Strangelove.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 06:53:34 AM
Patton is a film that I have found less and less compelling as I my acquaintance with has become longer.  George C Scott played the character better in Dr. Strangelove.
Are we now condemned for all eternity to make every thread refer eventually to Teresa's porn thread?  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 30, 2010, 06:53:39 AM
Of course, any music that is approximately 15 hours in length, is bound to hold some moments that could be zzzzzzz inducing for some.  :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 06:53:57 AM
I may be back later with a corrective.
We urgently need your comments on Act 2 of Walkure, Sarge.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 06:54:50 AM
Patton is a film that I have found less and less compelling as I my acquaintance with has become longer.  George C Scott played the character better in Dr. Strangelove.

Oh, that's a false comparison, I think.  The fictional character was necessarily a medium in which Scott could be brilliantly spontaneously comedic.  Playing the historical character has a very different set of parameters.
 
I think he did admirably in both.
 
But you are right:  'Buck' Turgidson was a shining moment!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 06:56:41 AM
But you are right:  'Buck' Turgidson was a shining moment!
Are you saying that Scott rose to the occasion?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 07:07:39 AM
That's not to say that I think they're bad--far from it.  Only that they're hardly the flawless masterpieces true devotees believe them to be and would probably be much better if only little Dickie had been more craftsman and less "Artiste."
I'm reminded here of the problem of figures in Turner's paintings - a source of controversy for more than 150 years, and still going. By normal standards his figures are atrocious, and for many people (myself included, sometimes) they spoil the landscapes that they're the staffage for. In the later pictures they sometimes become no more than mere bubble-headed blobs. But Turner was perfectly capable of drawing an acceptable figure, so it was clearly a deliberate decision on his part. And the big issue is this: if those figures are taken out, the painting suffers. If more traditionally-accepted figures were to replace them, they clearly wouldn't fit - they'd look all wrong. So what, one asks, could Turner have done about it? I suspect the answer may be 'nothing' - that those figures are required to make the paintings what they are.

This isn't the same as the point I made earlier concerning Ruskin's analysis, but it has the same consequences.  We may protest, but the passages are necessary to the whole, in the same way as climbing the hill may a necessary part of the (full) experience of enjoying the view from its summit. Certainly when I get to the end of Act 2 of Walkure, I feel as if I've earned my ticket to Act 3, and somehow that seems to be important.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 07:17:29 AM
Certainly when I get to the end of Act 2 of Walkure, I feel as if I've earned my ticket to Act 3, and somehow that seems to be important.
Indeed.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 07:20:39 AM
Indeed.
One of the most heavyweight words planted on this forum today, I think, Dave! Years of feeling behind it!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 07:23:27 AM
Richard Wagner, Dues Collector
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2010, 07:32:06 AM
Of course, any music that is approximately 15 hours in length, is bound to hold some moments that could be zzzzzzz inducing for some.  :D

My grandfather, the first Wagnerite I ever knew, told me about his theater going days in the 20s in Hannover, acquiring cheap standing room only tickets for Parsifal, and dozing off during Act II (curled up on the floor with other sleepy students) but waking up in time to witness Klingsor's destruction ;D  Yes, even those who love the music can get some rest during it. Wonderfully thoughtful composer, that Wagner  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2010, 07:36:11 AM
We urgently need your comments on Act 2 of Walkure, Sarge.

I'll put some thoughts together.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 30, 2010, 07:41:43 AM
My grandfather, the first Wagnerite I ever knew, told me about his theater going days in the 20s in Hannover, acquiring cheap standing room only tickets for Parsifal, and dozing off during Act II (curled up on the floor with other sleepy students) but waking up in time to witness Klingsor's destruction ;D  Yes, even those who love the music can get some rest during it. Wonderfully thoughtful composer, that Wagner  ;)

Sarge

 ;D  Conductors must require rotator cuff surgery following a Ring cycle.  8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 07:46:53 AM
I'd just like to make the observation that the Solti Ring, which I bought on Amazon UK for £51 last week, and which climbed to £68 a few days ago, is now being offered for £89. Looks like one of those 'the more we sell, the higher the price' sales drives.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 07:56:49 AM
I'd just like to make the observation that the Solti Ring, which I bought on Amazon UK for £51 last week, and which climbed to £68 a few days ago, is now being offered for £89. Looks like one of those 'the more we sell, the higher the price' sales drives.

Glad for you that you caught it in a down-market, Alan!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 30, 2010, 07:56:56 AM
I'd just like to make the observation that the Solti Ring, which I bought on Amazon UK for £51 last week, and which climbed to £68 a few days ago, is now being offered for £89. Looks like one of those 'the more we sell, the higher the price' sales drives.

Standard marketing tactic.  Hold the price high so the fanatics pay top dollar, then dip it down so cheapskates who perpetually have it in the shopping card finally take the plunge, then raise it again.  That way everyone pays what they are willing to pay.   (No point giving a discount to spendthrifts.)

That reminds me, occasionally Amazon makes big pricing errors.  I remember when the Levine ring was first released on DVD and I was thinking of picking up one.  I went to amazon and saw: 

Rheingold: $29.99
Walkure : $39.99
Siegfried : $39.99
Gotterdamerung : $39.99
Complete Ring Cycle : $29.99

I almost broke my mouse, I ordered it so fast.   I had my fingers crossed until they shipped it the next day, but by then the price was up to what it was supposed to be, I think $129.99.

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 30, 2010, 11:26:58 AM
I went to amazon and saw: 

Rheingold: $29.99
Walkure : $39.99
Siegfried : $39.99
Gotterdamerung : $39.99
Complete Ring Cycle : $29.99

I actually laughed out loud when I saw this! Wonderful.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 02:54:15 PM
Fabulous!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on July 30, 2010, 06:41:54 PM
Wondering what folks think about the Zagrosek/Stuttgart recordings on Naxos?
Looking through the Ring threads, no one seems enamored of the DVDs, but opinions of the singing seem to be better, and I'm interested in the CD versions.  I already have Rheingold and Walkure, and am now considering getting the remaining pair.  (In case you're interested, I like the Rheingold but am less enthused about the Walkure.)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Cato on July 31, 2010, 06:47:03 AM
Speaking of DVD's...

What say ye about...

(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/2649E.jpg)

...with Hildegard Behrens (R.I.P.) and James Levine at the Met?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 31, 2010, 07:05:40 AM
Speaking of DVD's...

What say ye about...

(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/2649E.jpg)

...with Hildegard Behrens (R.I.P.) and James Levine at the Met?
It's the only one I have and the only one I've seen besides Boulez and Patrice Chéreau's (except for clips from several others).  To me, the orchestra is first-rate, the singers are mostly good enough (though I'm not a fan of Behrens in this nor of Jerusalem, especially in close up as both seem ludicrous in the roles--but Morris is great and how can you go wrong with Ludwig?), and the staging at least attempts to realize Wagner's intent.  The filming is crap, however, and magnifies shortcomings spoiling the illusion which might not have been an issue for audiences at the actual productions.

Given the number of Ringaholics and the magic of contemporary CGI, I'm surprised that no one yet has bothered to do it up right for "film" as Solti and Culshaw did audio back in the '60s.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on July 31, 2010, 07:21:47 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XWJGHZGNL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QEW2PME3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
Wonder why the record company does not combine these two boxsets and give us one super Solti boxset?
Solti one of the few conductors with a recording of every major Wagner opera......
 
Throw in a nice book, Golden Ring DVD, some bonus material with latest remaster to lure owners of above sets to buy them yet again...........heh heh
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 31, 2010, 07:53:07 AM
Wonder why the record company does not combine these two boxsets and give us one super Solti boxset?
Solti one of the few conductors with a recording of every major Wagner opera......

Good idea...I'd buy it. I have Solti's Parsifal, Holländer and Tannhäuser on LP but never bought the CDs. Missing his Meistersinger, Lohengrin and Tristan entirely. Since most of those recordings have stayed at or near full price for decades, a budget-priced box would be a huge hit, I would think.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 31, 2010, 07:54:48 AM
One of the most heavyweight words planted on this forum today, I think, Dave! Years of feeling behind it!
Brevity, etc.  ;) 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 31, 2010, 08:13:39 AM
Not that I've listened to all of it, myself (I haven't) . . . but has anyone here listened to the Bayreuth Festival recordings in The Cube (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00159679S/ref=wms_ohs_product)?
 
(Wow:
5 new from $139.99 2 used from $99.99;  to think I pounced on it new at $62.99 . . . .)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 31, 2010, 08:15:31 AM
Speaking of DVD's...

What say ye about...

(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/2649E.jpg)

...with Hildegard Behrens (R.I.P.) and James Levine at the Met?

I've been looking at chunks of the DVDs on you tube, and trying to come to a decision about whether to buy, despite the obvious limitations of the you-tube medium. I think the result is rejection, on several grounds. First, I may be being very unfair, but much of the time it looks disturbingly wooden, clunky and panto-like. Maybe that's inevitable in any traditional production, now. But also, some kind of musical balance tipped when I was watching/listening to the opening of Walkure Act 3. The orchestral playing seemed curiously lightweight and fluffy; lacking in urgency; 'catchy', and whistle-able, rather than powerful and rhythmically-driven: I had almost a feeling of Valkyrie-flavoured 'lollipop' music. Now, that may be a perfectly valid way of delivering it, and I must also bear in mind the very poor medium I was listening through - but since I think a live valkyrie (from my point of view) would be a pretty scary character to encounter ... I don't think this is the musical approach, or production, that I'm looking for.

Later amendment: In writing the above I was seriously wrong. See later posts (#292 and 294) for a more enlightened perspective.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 31, 2010, 08:23:11 AM
Not that I've listened to all of it, myself (I haven't) . . . but has anyone here listened to the Bayreuth Festival recordings in The Cube (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00159679S/ref=wms_ohs_product)?
 
(Wow:
5 new from $139.99 2 used from $99.99;  to think I pounced on it new at $62.99 . . . .)
Am I right in my belief that the Ring and Tristan recordings are all Bohm, Karl? If so, then they're the ones I knew best in my big Wagner phase back in the 70s/early80s. I remember the Tristan as being outstanding - I mean, seriously exciting stuff, with a superb cast on peak form, and Bohm on fire. Also his Ring is the one I listened to for years and never felt let down by it, even though I had a Solti-shaped hole inside me. Up there among the best, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 31, 2010, 08:23:26 AM
. . . But also, some kind of musical balance tipped when I was watching/listening to the opening of Walkure Act 3. The orchestral playing seemed curiously lightweight and fluffy; lacking in urgency; 'catchy', and whistle-able, rather than powerful and rhythmically-driven: I had almost a feeling of Valkyrie-flavoured 'lollipop' music. Now, that may be a perfectly valid way of delivering it, and I must also bear in mind the very poor medium I was listening through - but since I think a live valkyrie (from my point of view) would be a pretty scary character to encounter ... I don't think this is the musical approach, or production, that I'm looking for.

Very interesting, Alan.  I haven't checked out the youtube videos (got links?) . . . but just from reading your post, that sounds uncharacteristic of Levine & the Met orchestra!  Which is not to say what you ought to buy, to be sure.  The Shed is in the room.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on July 31, 2010, 08:25:24 AM
Am I right in my belief that the Ring and Tristan recordings are all Bohm, Karl? If so, then they're the ones I knew best in my big Wagner phase back in the 70s/early80s. I remember the Tristan as being outstanding - I mean, seriously exciting stuff, with a superb cast on peak form, and Bohm on fire. Also his Ring is the one I listened to for years and never felt let down by it, even though I had a Solti-shaped hole inside me. Up there among the best, I'm sure.

Yes, Alan, it's Böhm at the [Tarn?-]helm for both Tristan and the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 31, 2010, 08:25:34 AM
that sounds uncharacteristic of Levine & the Met orchestra!
That's worrying, and suggests that the inadequate youtube medium is leading me astray. I'll find the links.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 31, 2010, 08:33:40 AM
Here's the Levine 'Ride of the Valkries' in question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs)

I'm probably being too harsh and over-critical about it- but the issue here is whether or not I buy, and if I'm going to spend this kind of money on a set of DVDs, I have to be sure that I'm not going to find it a disappointment.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on July 31, 2010, 08:37:56 AM
Yes, Alan, it's Böhm at the [Tarn?-]helm for both Tristan and the Ring.
Then I hereby declare with some enthusiasm that on that basis alone you have a wonderful bargain and a great fistul of Wagnerian excellence in your grasp. Congrats!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on July 31, 2010, 08:39:09 AM
Speaking of DVD's...

What say ye about...

(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/2649E.jpg)

...with Hildegard Behrens (R.I.P.) and James Levine at the Met?

Speaking of DVDs, what you've picture is not the DVD but the CD.  It is not the soundtrack of the DVD set.  It was not even recorded at the Met, but at the Manhattan Center, a former opera house which was later remodeled into a cluster of recording studios and ballrooms.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 31, 2010, 08:48:34 AM
Not that I've listened to all of it, myself (I haven't) . . . but has anyone here listened to the Bayreuth Festival recordings in The Cube (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00159679S/ref=wms_ohs_product)?
 
(Wow:
5 new from $139.99 2 used from $99.99;  to think I pounced on it new at $62.99 . . . .)

Wait another decade and your investment will really pay off. You'll be a rich man  ;)

Yes, quite a few of us have heard it. It's the Böhm Ring we've been talking about (I posted the picture). It's fabulous. A legendary cast, Nilsson in even better form than she was for Solti; Adam, in my heretical view, a superior Wotan/Wanderer to Hotter for Solti. In a survey of all Rings up to and including Barenboim's, Alan Blyth in Gramophone pronounced it his favorite. It's certainly one of mine, and Böhm perhaps my favorite conductor in the work. So urgent and exciting.

Edit: I see I'm late to the party. I won't change what I wrote though.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 31, 2010, 08:52:36 AM
...the opening of Walkure Act 3. The orchestral playing seemed curiously lightweight and fluffy; lacking in urgency; 'catchy', and whistle-able, rather than powerful and rhythmically-driven: I had almost a feeling of Valkyrie-flavoured 'lollipop' music. Now, that may be a perfectly valid way of delivering it, and I must also bear in mind the very poor medium I was listening through - but since I think a live valkyrie (from my point of view) would be a pretty scary character to encounter ... I don't think this is the musical approach, or production, that I'm looking for.

Agree that Levine's brass could use some Viagra.  (Maybe the thought of those battle-hardened Valkyries affected their performance?)

Better?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA&feature=related
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on July 31, 2010, 10:52:50 AM
Here's the Levine 'Ride of the Valkyries' in question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs)

I'm probably being too harsh and over-critical about it- but the issue here is whether or not I buy, and if I'm going to spend this kind of money on a set of DVDs, I have to be sure that I'm not going to find it a disappointment.

Elgarian
You will not have any problems with actual Levine DVDs, sound is available in DTS 5.1 for nice surround sound effect in your listening room has plenty of dramatic impact (good subwoofer helpful) when needed. Levine is very capable conductor of Wagner and is never too far off the mark. Because it is a literal staging of Wagner Ring with lavish Met resources/costumes and decent group of singers it is an ideal starter DVD set for learning the Ring, very reasonable price cheaper than many CD sets ($69 new at Amazon USA)......modern/abstract/inventive stagings of Ring are better left for later exploration IMO
 
Picture upscales nicely with my Oppo player, but format is 4:3 and I stretch it to fill my 16:9 HD TV, some of the women don't need any additional horizontal stretching (if you know what I mean). Each opera comes with nice informative booklet and the subtitle feature is huge plus to understand story development
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418e8h3Io4L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 31, 2010, 05:55:46 PM
Speaking of DVD's...

What say ye about...

(http://www.iclassics.com/images/local/300/2649E.jpg)

...with Hildegard Behrens (R.I.P.) and James Levine at the Met?

FWIW, I haven't seen the DVD of Levine's Ring but I greatly enjoy what I have of his CD Ring (three of the four dramas, minus only Walküre). The orchestra is sublime (overused description, but apt, here) and the singing has always satisfied me.

But it's the color Levine extracts from his forces that's most impressive. You WON'T be whipped into the fast lane by his take but if you're looking for a ride in the luxury class with all the amenities to keep you hoppin' this'll do it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2010, 12:36:25 AM
Agree that Levine's brass could use some Viagra.  (Maybe the thought of those battle-hardened Valkyries affected their performance?)

Better?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA&feature=related
Spot on, David, and thank you, because the comparison clarifies my problem with the Levine.

Let's sit them side by side, for the convenience of those interested:

Levine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PHINKZrwRs)

Boulez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aKAH_t0aXA&feature=related)

Listening to this performance by Boulez takes me straight back to 1980 and the electrifying Ring I heard as a radio broadcast, pinned in my seat by the weight and urgency of it (it would have been this very recording, I suppose). Superbly exciting. The music swoops and drives with a kind of ecstatic majesty appropriate to the action. Listening to this makes me want a Boulez Ring set.

Now to these ears, Levine just doesn't have this quality (and I now see that I'm not being misled by the mere sound quality limitation). His depiction seems faster (I haven't timed them) but somehow loses the urgency, the drive, and the power that Boulez gets. Levine is lighter, and altogether more jolly. And as I said, I can see this as a valid alternative approach to valkyrieness (girls just want to have fun, even when collecting dead warriors), but it's not what I'm looking for.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2010, 12:29:15 PM
It's alarming just how easily the Ring takes over one's life, once the bug is allowed to bite again. A few days ago I found myself wondering how it would seem, now, to hear the Goodall Ring again, and Mike pointed out to me the existence of this sampler, which can be had pretty cheaply:

http://www.chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=OPERA%200019 (http://www.chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=OPERA%200019)

Talk about chalk and cheese. Goodall, of course, is very slow by comparison with Solti and Bohm, and I expected that to bother me, listening to these excerpts. It didn't, though it took a while to step down from the drive and energy of Solti to the weighty, portentous approach of Goodall. I'm reminded again of the fabulous Brunnhilde of Rita Hunter - always used to be my first choice Brunnhilde, and could easily be again I think.

But the most striking difference of all is the stereo stage. I always used to think the Goodall Ring sounded woolly, but put it down to the imperfectly rendered quadraphonic sound when played in stereo. It's still there, though, on these presumably remastered recordings on CD. Coming after the pinpoint orchestral articulation of the Solti, the difference is startling. OK - it's not surprising - we're comparing a studio performance with a live one. But even so, the stereo projection of the orchestra seems unusually smeary and cloudy.

So here I am, trying to decide whether to scrape the cash together for a Goodall Ring, and this sampler was supposed to help me. I'm not sure. The singing in English is pretty unintelligible most of the time - so there's no real translational benefit there. One could even argue that the sound of the alliterative poetry of the original German is lost to little purpose, I guess. So I'd be buying it pretty much for Rita, for Alberto, and for the particular over-arching Goodall vision. The jury's still out.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 01, 2010, 12:40:22 PM
It's alarming just how easily the Ring takes over one's life, once the bug is allowed to bite again. A few days ago I found myself wondering how it would seem, now, to hear the Goodall Ring again, and Mike pointed out to me the existence of this sampler, which can be had pretty cheaply:

http://www.chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=OPERA%200019 (http://www.chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=OPERA%200019)

Talk about chalk and cheese. Goodall, of course, is very slow by comparison with Solti and Bohm, and I expected that to bother me, listening to these excerpts. It didn't, though it took a while to step down from the drive and energy of Solti to the weighty, portentous approach of Goodall. I'm reminded again of the fabulous Brunnhilde of Rita Hunter - always used to be my first choice Brunnhilde, and could easily be again I think.

But the most striking difference of all is the stereo stage. I always used to think the Goodall Ring sounded woolly, but put it down to the imperfectly rendered quadraphonic sound when played in stereo. It's still there, though, on these presumably remastered recordings on CD. Coming after the pinpoint orchestral articulation of the Solti, the difference is startling. OK - it's not surprising - we're comparing a studio performance with a live one. But even so, the stereo projection of the orchestra seems unusually smeary and cloudy.

So here I am, trying to decide whether to scrape the cash together for a Goodall Ring, and this sampler was supposed to help me. I'm not sure. The singing in English is pretty unintelligible most of the time - so there's no real translational benefit there. One could even argue that the sound of the alliterative poetry of the original German is lost to little purpose, I guess. So I'd be buying it pretty much for Rita, for Alberto, and for the particular over-arching Goodall vision. The jury's still out.

If you have several audio version I would suggest a DVD (assuming you are set up to play DVDs though a nice sound system).  I think the Levine is the obvious choice.  It is the only one that attempts to follow Wagner's stage direction using the resources of a modern opera house.  I think Levine does a fine job, if there is an objection it is that he is a bit slow and deliverate, but I think the Met orchestra delivers the required heft of sound when it is appropriate.

And I see Amazon.co.uk has it for 45 of those strange units of currency you use in ol' blighty.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 02, 2010, 04:55:17 AM
So here I am, trying to decide whether to scrape the cash together for a Goodall Ring, and this sampler was supposed to help me. I'm not sure. The singing in English is pretty unintelligible most of the time - so there's no real translational benefit there. One could even argue that the sound of the alliterative poetry of the original German is lost to little purpose, I guess. So I'd be buying it pretty much for Rita, for Alberto, and for the particular over-arching Goodall vision. The jury's still out.

I've bought things for less reason...but I'm crazy ;D  For example, I'm considering buying Haitink's Ring just to hear Cheryl Studer's Sieglinde.

I have Goodall's Valkyrie (LPs). The primary motivation for buying it (in the late 70s) was to hear it in English; to be able to follow the drama without a translation and booklet in my lap. But (as you noticed too) I can't make out most of the words. For that reason I decided against buying the rest of the cycle.

But now I'd love to have Goodall's Ring, too, for the reasons you mention: Remedios is a terrific Siegmund (and Siegfried, I hear--but I can't vouch for that, having only heard Goodall's Valkyrie). I love Rita Hunter...such an impetuous, girlish Brünnhilde. In fact, the entire cast is very good. Goodall's conducting? Hmmmm...when the action is becalmed (which, in the Ring, is most of the time ;) ) I like the pacing, the way the singers seem to lead. But he too often fails to punch home the climaxes. Not the most exciting Valkyrie I've heard. The other negative thing about it: the price  :(

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 07:34:01 AM
I think the Levine is the obvious choice.  It is the only one that attempts to follow Wagner's stage direction using the resources of a modern opera house. ... And I see Amazon.co.uk has it for 45 of those strange units of currency you use in ol' blighty.

Despite the reservations I've been expressing about the Levine DVDs earlier in this thread, the price you've pointed me to here, Scarpia, tips the balance - thanks. The risk seems significantly more acceptable at £45 than £60+, and so I've ordered one.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 02, 2010, 07:44:09 AM
Despite the reservations I've been expressing about the Levine DVDs earlier in this thread, the price you've pointed me to here, Scarpia, tips the balance - thanks. The risk seems significantly more acceptable at £45 than £60+, and so I've ordered one.

I think you'll be happy with it.  I had made various attempts to listen to various Ring cycles (Bohm, Karajan, Solti) but it all made a lot more sense when the drama and music were both represented (and the various orchestral interludes made more sense).  You'll still have to use your imagination in places, such as imagining Jessye Norman as a seductive Sieglinde.   ???  I also have DVDs of some of the "symbolic" Rings, which can be interesting, but I still think the ting works best with Little Dickie's original scenario.  There are definitily weaknesses in the drama of the ring, but the symbolic settings don't do anything to ameliorate them.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 07:47:29 AM
But now I'd love to have Goodall's Ring, too, for the reasons you mention: Remedios is a terrific Siegmund (and Siegfried, I hear--but I can't vouch for that, having only heard Goodall's Valkyrie). I love Rita Hunter...such an impetuous, girlish Brünnhilde. In fact, the entire cast is very good. Goodall's conducting? Hmmmm...when the action is becalmed (which, in the Ring, is most of the time ;) ) I like the pacing, the way the singers seem to lead. But he too often fails to punch home the climaxes. Not the most exciting Valkyrie I've heard. The other negative thing about it: the price  :(
I agree completely about Rita Hunter - whereas a singer like Nilsson is supremely majestic, commanding, indefatigable etc., Rita Hunter can almost match her in those aspects, but does so with a sweeter tone and with a softer edge, more capable of expressing vulnerability. Rita and Alberto are the only Brunnhilde and Siegfried that I've seen live, so they have a special resonance for me; that's why the Goodall set keeps drawing my attention. Mind you, the sound of Rita was a very different proposition to her appearance. She was literally monumental on stage - huge, and not much in the way of movement!

I'm also experiencing a bit of extra temptation because MDT have the Goodall set on offer (about £86) until mid-August. Not cheap, but significantly cheaper than usual. However, I'm wondering whether my Rita and Alberto desires could be satisfied by buying Gotterdammerung on its own, rather than the whole cycle (much as you did, with Valkyrie, Sarge).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 02, 2010, 08:32:02 AM
I agree completely about Rita Hunter - whereas a singer like Nilsson is supremely majestic, commanding, indefatigable etc., Rita Hunter can almost match her in those aspects, but does so with a sweeter tone and with a softer edge, more capable of expressing vulnerability. Rita and Alberto are the only Brunnhilde and Siegfried that I've seen live, so they have a special resonance for me; that's why the Goodall set keeps drawing my attention. Mind you, the sound of Rita was a very different proposition to her appearance. She was literally monumental on stage - huge, and not much in the way of movement!

I know. She's in several photos of the performance and production in the booklet. She's about double the width of even the heftiest of the other Valkyries. Considering her physical appearance, and the immolation scene, she could have been the source of the saying, It ain't over until the fat lady sings. Apparently she had a glandular condition; diets didn't work, just made her sick. But what a voice! As powerful as Nilsson's but to me a more appealing sound. I really need to stop talking to you...the more I do, the more I want that Ring  ;D


Quote
However, I'm wondering whether my Rita and Alberto desires could be satisfied by buying Gotterdammerung on its own, rather than the whole cycle (much as you did, with Valkyrie, Sarge).

That wouldn't be a bad compromise. She's not in Rhine Gold at all, and has a relatively small part in Siegfried. Did you get that Ring sampler? That has the Todesverkundigung, doesn't it?...a key moment for the character in Valkyrie--so you'd have that. I was considering something similar with the Haitink Ring: since I mainly want it for Studer's Sieglinde, getting just Walküre would suffice...but the difference in price between that single opera and the enire Ring is only 16 Euro, so it makes little sense not to buy the whole. There's a spectacular difference, though, between the cost of Goodall's Twilight and his complete Ring.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 11:55:06 AM
Did you get that Ring sampler? That has the Todesverkundigung, doesn't it?
Yes, and yes. So I'm feeling increasingly drawn to my superwhizzbang economy Twilight solution.

Quote
since I mainly want it for Studer's Sieglinde, getting just Walküre would suffice...but the difference in price between that single opera and the enire Ring is only 16 Euro, so it makes little sense not to buy the whole.
Yes, no point at all in not doing so (if you're going to do something, that is).

I'm involved in two broadly distinguishable, yet related, activities at present:
1. Digging myself into a deep hole of debt.
2. Taking the best advantage of the various Ring deals that I'm encountering as I bumble my way through the available options.

For example, after DavidRoss drew my attention to the Boulez Walkure on YouTube, I found myself seeking out more and more fragments of the Boulez Ring and ended up weeping during Gwyneth Jones's 'Immolation'. I remember it having the same effect on me during the radio broadcast in 1980, and suddenly I realised that, dammit, after waiting 30 years I needed and deserved a Boulez Ring. But which? The CDs or the DVDs? I wondered whether I could really handle watching Fafner and Fasolt with those absurd arms, and when I found a last remaining copy of the CD set on Amazon at £50, I decided to go for it.

So the end result, at present, of my recent delvings, seems to be the acquisition of the following (in addition to my Bayreuth Bohm set), for a total of around £150:

Solti Ring
Boulez Ring
Levine Ring (DVD box)
(with the Goodall Twilight still to be decided upon).

But how do we eat, during August?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 02, 2010, 12:00:20 PM
Ha ha
The music beast within must be fed..............at all costs!
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 02, 2010, 12:03:00 PM
Solti Ring
Boulez Ring
Levine Ring (DVD box)
(with the Goodall Twilight still to be decided upon).

But how do we eat, during August?

If there is a river nearby, try to steal some gold from naive rhinemaidens.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 12:14:43 PM
If there is a river nearby, try to steal some gold from naive rhinemaidens.
Good thinking. That idea has a familiar ring to it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 12:15:49 PM
I can't believe I actually posted that last post. I'm just going outside. I may be gone for some time ....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 02, 2010, 12:35:14 PM
I can't believe I actually posted that last post. I'm just going outside. I may be gone for some time ....

Ok, say high to Flosshilde for me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 02, 2010, 12:51:58 PM
Right guys; time for an intervention, lets get it sorted before he comes back.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 12:57:11 PM
This is nothing to do with recordings of the Ring - just part of my present Ring crusade. I have a copy of a book published in 1925, called Wagner's Music Drama of the Ring, by L. Archier Leroy, and perhaps its most notable claim to fame is that he commissioned Paul Nash to make four wood engravings to illustrate it. They're conceived so as to suggest stage designs, one for each opera in the cycle, and their roots in cubism are fairly obvious. Nash was a superb wood engraver with a deep sensitivity to the character of the medium, and the lovely thing about this book, for me, has always been that it brings together Wagner's great drama with original work by one of my favourite artists.

It's a relatively rare book I think, so I thought I'd post the woodcuts here, for anyone who doesn't know them. I'm enjoying their Wagnerian flavour more than usual at the moment, with my ears and head so full of the music.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/ring1.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/ring2.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/ring3.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/ring4.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 12:59:19 PM
lets get it sorted before he comes back.
I only meant I'd popped out to get my Wagner book ... [innocent look]
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 02, 2010, 01:11:51 PM
I only meant I'd popped out to get my Wagner book ... [innocent look]

Actually the shocking events are shown in the attached photo, which I found on the BBC world service web site.  They are still searching for their stolen rheingold.   :'(

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on August 02, 2010, 04:43:25 PM
...I needed and deserved a Boulez Ring. But which? The CDs or the DVDs? I wondered whether I could really handle watching Fafner and Fasolt with those absurd arms, and when I found a last remaining copy of the CD set on Amazon at £50, I decided to go for it.
A fine choice, methinks (along with the others listed).  The music, sets, and performers are fine, but the costume conceit trivializes the gods.  Wagner's opus may be seriously flawed, but trivial it ain't.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2010, 11:46:48 PM
Actually the shocking events are shown in the attached photo, which I found on the BBC world service web site.  They are still searching for their stolen rheingold.   :'(
(http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16840.0;attach=26498;image)
Damn! I'd forgotten about the CCTV camera!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 03, 2010, 12:26:09 AM
A fine choice, methinks (along with the others listed).  The music, sets, and performers are fine, but the costume conceit trivializes the gods.  Wagner's opus may be seriously flawed, but trivial it ain't.
Funny business, that whole Chereau production thing. I remember the uproar in the press when those first Bayreuth performances were being booed in the 70s. As I recall, the uproar wasn't at all to do with the panto-like qualities, but with the break from tradition, and the politicising interpretation. I didn't like the descriptions and photos in the newspaper reviews, but that was primarily (I now see) because I was too locked in to the 'abstract' visual approach of the slightly earlier Bayreuth productions and of the ENO productions I'd attended (which had similarly sparse, Bayreuth-influenced stage sets). Of course, listening to it on the radio, one escaped all that.

But now, judging from the bits of Chereau that I see on Youtube, it all seems rather tame. OK, it seems a bit clunky in places (let's leave aside the joke arms of the giants), but the aspects that attracted such opprobium when it was first staged don't seem worth making much fuss about. I might even guess (on the basis of these few excerpts) that it has significantly more vitality than the Levine Met production that I've just ordered, and it's not inconceivable that I might invest in the Chereau/Boulez DVDs at some point.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 06:57:58 AM
it's not inconceivable that I might invest in the Chereau/Boulez DVDs at some point.

If children should be seen and not heard, Chereau/Boulez is just the opposite, I'd say.   8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 03, 2010, 07:04:15 AM
This is nothing to do with recordings of the Ring - just part of my present Ring crusade. I have a copy of a book published in 1925, called Wagner's Music Drama of the Ring, by L. Archier Leroy, and perhaps its most notable claim to fame is that he commissioned Paul Nash to make four wood engravings to illustrate it. They're conceived so as to suggest stage designs, one for each opera in the cycle, and their roots in cubism are fairly obvious. Nash was a superb wood engraver with a deep sensitivity to the character of the medium, and the lovely thing about this book, for me, has always been that it brings together Wagner's great drama with original work by one of my favourite artists.

It's a relatively rare book I think, so I thought I'd post the woodcuts here, for anyone who doesn't know them. I'm enjoying their Wagnerian flavour more than usual at the moment, with my ears and head so full of the music.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/ring1.jpg)

Nice woodcuts, thank you.

As to this one . . . the Rhine isn't anywhere near so deep
; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 03, 2010, 11:51:52 PM
It;s very interesting to read all the different opinions and thoughts on the various ring cycles available. I have the Krauss, but have wanted to get a modern sound version for some time. But I always hesitate. The reason is that there always seems to be a trade off of something. This has made me begin to wonder if I should try to accumulate a ring cycle opera by opera. It would be more expensive, but it would minimize the problem of the singers as I could mix and match.

Any thoughts on this and which ones (for each of the 4 parts) you would recommend?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 04:08:48 AM
It;s very interesting to read all the different opinions and thoughts on the various ring cycles available. I have the Krauss, but have wanted to get a modern sound version for some time. But I always hesitate. The reason is that there always seems to be a trade off of something. This has made me begin to wonder if I should try to accumulate a ring cycle opera by opera. It would be more expensive, but it would minimize the problem of the singers as I could mix and match.

Any thoughts on this and which ones (for each of the 4 parts) you would recommend?

My Ring:

Rheingold: Karajan (power and beauty, and a fresher-voiced cast than Solti: F-D's superb Wotan, Stolze's incomparable Loge, Zelemen's Alberich matching even the young Neidlinger (he was too old by the time he recorded the role for Solti)

Walküre: Karajan Act I, Barenboim Act II, Böhm Act III (yes, buy all three  ;D )

Siegfried: Krauss '53 (Solti or Barenboim for "modern" sound)

Götterdämmerung: Levine (yeah, I know, Goldberg isn't the greatest Siegfried--but Behrens is one of the great Brünnhilde's, and Levine and the Met Orchestra are on fire)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 04, 2010, 04:19:55 AM
It's only a thumbnail, of course, with maybe 40 minutes of interludely stuff from the Ring:
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416KGEB6G0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
My two-fer actually has a nice etching of Siegfried & Fafner for cover art.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 04, 2010, 04:38:25 AM
Which is the Leitmotiv which goes (movable Do for me, thanks) sol mi do re mi fa mi re?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 04, 2010, 05:06:19 AM
My Ring:

Rheingold: Karajan (power and beauty, and a fresher-voiced cast than Solti: F-D's superb Wotan, Stolze's incomparable Loge, Zelemen's Alberich matching even the young Neidlinger (he was too old by the time he recorded the role for Solti)

Walküre: Karajan Act I, Barenboim Act II, Böhm Act III (yes, buy all three  ;D )

Siegfried: Krauss '53 (Solti or Barenboim for "modern" sound)

Götterdämmerung: Levine (yeah, I know, Goldberg isn't the greatest Siegfried--but Behrens is one of the great Brünnhilde's, and Levine and the Met Orchestra are on fire)

Thanks for those ideas..........
I take from reading past posts that your favorite Ring is the Karajan?
 
I am curious about the Keilberth/Testament 1955 Ring in stereo, I read some think the sound quality is great even very picky audiophiles. Decca had top recording team use cutting edge gear to professionally record in then experimental stereo and they were thrilled with the results, but Culshaw shelved the release because of his planned massive studio Ring with Solti
 
What is your take on Keilberth Ring and how good is early stereo sound compared to Karajan for instance?
 
Also why are we stuck with very expensive Testament boxset and no Naxos version for instance  :( 
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61XUG6GSMUL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 04, 2010, 05:22:57 AM
I am curious about the Keilberth/Testament 1955 Ring in stereo, I read some think the sound quality is great even very picky audiophiles. Decca had top recording team use cutting edge gear to professionally record in then experimental stereo and they were thrilled with the results, but Culshaw shelved the release because of his planned massive studio Ring with Solti

According to Culshaw's book it was not released because Decca could not negotiate the rights to release it (i.e., some participants in the live performance were under contract to other labels).  In any case, Culshaw was a producer at Decca and it would have been up to his bosses at Decca to decide whether to release it or not, not Culshaw.

According to some reviews at Amazon Rheingold is marred by some sort of electronic gizmo which was used as a special effect to simulate the hammering of the Nibelungen, or something like that.  It goes on for 25 minutes.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 04, 2010, 05:25:47 AM
Gizmodämmerung!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 06:01:01 AM
I take from reading past posts that your favorite Ring is the Karajan?

Yes...that would be the one I'd take to the desert island. It's not perfect (no Ring is) but it satisfies me the most: the voices (young, fresh, beautiful), the orchestra (powerful when need be but with a wonderful chamber-like transparency), Karajan's sensitive conducting, the sound quality (particularly the balance between voices and orchestra, which is ideal to my ears).

I rate Barenboim and Böhm very higly too. Of the historical Rings in my collection, Moralt/Vienna (radio broadcasts from 1948/49) is my favorite. Incredible voices, the Wagnerian stars of the 30s and 40s which Moralt follows rather than leading.
 
What is your take on Keilberth Ring and how good is early stereo sound compared to Karajan for instance?

That's one Ring many Wagnerites consider the best (a few folks here think so). I have no knowledge of it, though, except hearing excerpts online. Although it's now half the price it was on initial release, it's still pretty expensive and I'm not seriously considering it for a number of personal reasons: I'm not a fan of Varnay (and I have her on the Krauss and Knappertsbusch Rings anyway). I don't have that particular fetish for 50s singers that many Wagnerites seem to have. I think the golden age was the 30s and 40s but I love our "modern" crop of Wagnerian singers, too, and think they are too often unfairly compared to that post-war generation.

I also recall a fanatical Wagnerite on another forum who bought each opera at full-price as they were released. Initially enthused--calling it the greatest ever--he gradually cooled off and by the time he reached the last, he wasn't nearly as thrilled. That forum is dead now and I can't recall his specific reasons, but he did convince me not to buy. The Keilberth recordings with Modl interest me more because I don't have her Brünnhilde. EDIT: D'oh! Of course I have her: the Furtwängler Rome Ring.

But all the above is just prejudice based on absolutely no personal knowledge. I'm sure someone will explain to me (to us) why the Keilberth Ring is essential  :)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 06:11:58 AM
Which is the Leitmotiv which goes (movable Do for me, thanks) sol mi do re mi fa mi re?

If I could sing, or if I had a piano in the house, I could probably tell you. But I haven't, and I can't  :D

Edit: I just tried to sing it...it came out Du bist der Lenz...Sieglinde's ecstatic "aria" from Scene 3 Act I Walküre. But I'm not a singer...so maybe it's really Fafner's motif  :D

Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 04, 2010, 06:19:47 AM
Sarge
Would you agree with comments from others that within the Karajan Ring the two strongest performances are Rheingold and Die Walkurie?
How would you rank the 4 Karajan performances inside his Ring from best to worst.....
 
Most of the comments from Keilberth advocates mention:
-great vocalists some are same singers used by Solti in younger fresher voice
-dynamics of live performance vs studio
 
There seems to be some debate about how good the stereo sound is which I am still curious to get some comments on
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 06:41:52 AM
Sarge
Would you agree with comments from others that within the Karajan Ring the two strongest performances are Rheingold and Die Walkurie?

I would. I love the cast of Rheingold and I think Vickers' Siegmund and Janowitz's Sieglinde the best twins ever, Janowitz's beauty of voice so utterly breathtaking one can understand why Siegmund violates the old taboo :D 

Siegfried is the weakest of the Karajan cycle primarily because of Jess Thomas. I get around the fact that Mime comes across as the stronger, better tenor by thinking of Siegfried at this point as still an immature boy. I'm not sure that will help anyone else  ;)  I like Karajan's Götterdämmerung although here too we have a relatively weak, and with a cast change, new Siegfried (Brilioth). Sensational Brünnhilde in Dernesch though. The rest of the cast is impressive too: Janowitz, Ludwig, Stewart, Kelemen, Ridderbusch. Karajan's conducting, and his orchestra, remain consistent: so if you like them in the first two dramas, you'll probably like them here too.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 04, 2010, 06:45:25 AM
If I could sing, or if I had a piano in the house, I could probably tell you. But I haven't, and I can't  :D

Edit: I just tried to sing it...it came out Du bist der Lenz...Sieglinde's ecstatic "aria" from Scene 2 Act I Walküre. But I'm not a singer...so maybe it's really Fafner's motive  :D

If it helps, Sarge, the prompt for my question is that I recently re-watched Operation: Rabbit (http://www.spike.com/video/operation-rabbit/2779425) . . . and what should tickle my ears at the 1:54 mark but . . . Carl Stalling having fun with Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 07:00:59 AM
If it helps, Sarge, the prompt for my question is that I recently re-watched Operation: Rabbit (http://www.spike.com/video/operation-rabbit/2779425) . . . and what should tickle my ears at the 1:54 mark but . . . Carl Stalling having fun with Wagner.

Two Leitmotive: Siegfried's Horn Call then Siegfried's Mission (heard to spectacular effect in the orchestral interlude "Siegfried's Rhine Journey" near the beginning of Götterdämmerung). Works well for Wyle E.'s mission  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 04, 2010, 07:30:47 AM
I can't play this game of 'make up your own Ring in bits', because the only Ring I've had a lot of exposure to is Bohm, so I'll continue to plough my own exploratory furrow.

When the Boulez Ring arrived yesterday, I couldn't resist taking a quick listen to it, after a thirty-year gap, so I listened to the last half-hour of Gotterdammerung. Gwyneth Jones's Brunnhilde was very much as I remember her: very distinctive, with what I can only describe as a certain 'swooping' aspect to her singing.  I can see some might not like it, but she knocked me sideways 30 years ago, and reduced me to tears this time round too. The orchestra seemed pretty exciting - weighty, strong, and decisive. There's a bit of a ragged edge when they all come to a halt for that moment of silence before the final redemption theme sweeps in on the strings, and as a result that critical moment of silence seems slightly too short for comfort - exactly as I remember it seemed in 1980, in fact! But on the whole I thought this was marvellous, and I'm in no doubt about the wisdom of the purchase.

And then, I looked at the discography in M. Owen Lee's book, and was shocked. He describes this Ring as 'badly sung and feebly played', and speaks of the 'limpness of the musical performance'. This is a classic example of why I consider negative criticism of this sort to be worse than useless. In 1980 I sat through this entire recording, night after night for four nights when it was broadcast on the radio. It was utterly engrossing, enormously exciting, and the memory of it has haunted me for 30 years. Listening to the Immolation, yesterday, tells me that my memory hasn't been leading me astray all these years. This Ring is different, for sure, compared with Bohm, with Solti, with Goodall - but to use words like 'limp' and 'feeble' to describe it is absurd and misleading: the usual case of a personal antipathy being dressed up to masquerade as objective comment. A truly feeble and limp performance is a forgettable performance (except in nightmares); and this isn't. What's disturbing is that this book of Lee's is a very popular introductory guide to the Ring. I wonder how many people have been persuaded not to give the Boulez Ring a try because of what they've read there?

I think what has struck me so far in my recent delvings is not which one comes out 'best', but how extraordinarily lucky we are to have so many meaningfully different recordings available. The real issue is not whether Solti is better than Bohm or Karajan ('better' being undefinable in sensible terms), but how exciting it is to have such varied riches to explore.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 07:56:39 AM
I think what has struck me so far in my recent delvings is not which one comes out 'best', but how extraordinarily lucky we are to have so many meaningfully different recordings available. The real issue is not whether Solti is better than Bohm or Karajan ('better' being undefinable in sensible terms), but how exciting it is to have such varied riches to explore.

I agree completely. There is no "best" Ring. There are only Rings that appeal to an individual, or don't. And the reasons they appeal are as numerous as there are individuals. One of the old forum regulars, an opera fanatic with a superior knowledge of both recordings and live performances, thought Gywneth Jones marvelous. Her vocal shortcomings bothered him not at all...they were quite irrelevant in fact. Like many of us, I heard the Boulez Ring, and later saw it when it was televised. Lee's criticism makes no sense to me; it's not what I heard and saw. And watching the clip you posted of the Valkyrie scene made me lust for that recording too. (In fact, the copy you got may be one I was eyeing a few days ago  :D )

But in forums someone always asks the questions: Which do you prefer; which should I buy? In order to answer we have to narrow things down. I'd like to say: Buy these ten Rings...but I don't think that would help anyone  ;D  So we have to commit to one or two, thereby making it seem all the others are somehow lesser performances. But they aren't. The Boulez/Chéreau Ring has become legend. Lee is wrong.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 04, 2010, 08:04:24 AM
Ten fingers, ten Rings. It sounds so right.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 04, 2010, 09:00:35 AM
I agree completely. There is no "best" Ring. There are only Rings that appeal to an individual, or don't. And the reasons they appeal are as numerous as there are individuals. One of the old forum regulars, an opera fanatic with a superior knowledge of both recordings and live performances, thought Gywneth Jones marvelous. Her vocal shortcomings bothered him not at all...they were quite irrelevant in fact. Like many of us, I heard the Boulez Ring, and later saw it when it was televised. Lee's criticism makes no sense to me; it's not what I heard and saw. And watching the clip you posted of the Valkyrie scene made me lust for that recording too. (In fact, the copy you got may be one I was eyeing a few days ago  :D )

But in forums someone always asks the questions: Which do you prefer; which should I buy? In order to answer we have to narrow things down. I'd like to say: Buy these ten Rings...but I don't think that would help anyone  ;D  So we have to commit to one or two, thereby making it seem all the others are somehow lesser performances. But they aren't. The Boulez/Chéreau Ring has become legend. Lee is wrong.

Sarge
I completely agree that too often we try for the 'perfect' performance. And for so many hours of music, there is bound to be a weakness or two. The problem for me is that I don't want to spend money on 10 rings until I have at least one performance of every single piece of music I want. I like the Krauss a lot, but the sound just doesn't give me what I want, but the singing is so good that it will make a good complement to any additional performances I buy. Of course, I won't know if I like it until I hear it, but it is useful to hear WHY people like what they like. In telling this, I can then make the best determination I can.

Speaking of which, has anyone heard the Leinsdorf Walkure (with Vickers and Nilsson)?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 04, 2010, 11:19:56 AM
Yes...that [Karajan] would be the one I'd take to the desert island.
Turning the tables on me now, I see. I want them all! I want them all!

I've just picked up the Karajan Rheingold DVD. I was anticipating the visuals to be a mixed bag, and a brief half-hour flirtation with it confirmed that; but it was cheap enough to be worth a try, and I hoped it might give me a taste of the Karajan approach to things - though this isn't the same cast as the earlier audio recording, I think?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 04, 2010, 11:27:44 AM
Turning the tables on me now, I see. I want them all! I want them all!

I've just picked up the Karajan Rheingold DVD. I was anticipating the visuals to be a mixed bag, and a brief half-hour flirtation with it confirmed that; but it was cheap enough to be worth a try, and I hoped it might give me a taste of the Karajan approach to things - though this isn't the same cast as the earlier audio recording, I think?

You have there one of the great tragedies of the gramophone.  The sound track of that DVD is actually a live recording from Karajan's Easter Festival in Saltzburg, I believe from 1971 or so.  It strikes me as clearly superior to the studio recording.  Karajan was not able to convince his backers to go ahead with the full series of four films, only Rheingold got made.  As a result, I presume, the live recordings of the other there installments of Karajan's ring are in a can somewhere, never released.   :'(

As far as the visuals, it is a bit dated by 70's movie technique, the opening scene with the Rheinmaidens swinging around on cables is perhaps the most cringe inducing.  Beside that is a lip-synched version, but I think it captures the spirit of the work, and it is worth it for the soundtrack, which is not available elsewhere.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 04, 2010, 11:33:38 AM
Turning the tables on me now, I see. I want them all! I want them all!

 ;D :D ;D  ...sorry

Quote
I've just picked up the Karajan Rheingold DVD. I was anticipating the visuals to be a mixed bag, and a brief half-hour flirtation with it confirmed that; but it was cheap enough to be worth a try, and I hoped it might give me a taste of the Karajan approach to things - though this isn't the same cast as the earlier audio recording, I think?

Almost completely different casts. Edda Moser is the Wellgunde on both. Ridderbusch is Fasolt on one, Fafner on the other. That's it. The DVD cast looks like a good one, though.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 04, 2010, 11:59:21 AM
As far as the visuals, it is a bit dated by 70's movie technique, the opening scene with the Rheinmaidens swinging around on cables is perhaps the most cringe inducing.
Yes - I feel distinctly more comfortable (that is, no longer worrying about whether to laugh or cry) once we get out of the river, and in fact I was quite impressed with the stage set for Scene 2, and thought the giants were pretty good. Freia gives a good impression of a cardboard cutout of a frightened goddess, but is very golden and beautiful, so I don't mind too much.

As you say, the music is excellent and I'm happy to close my eyes wherever necessary!

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 04, 2010, 12:52:20 PM
Yes - I feel distinctly more comfortable (that is, no longer worrying about whether to laugh or cry) once we get out of the river, and in fact I was quite impressed with the stage set for Scene 2, and thought the giants were pretty good. Freia gives a good impression of a cardboard cutout of a frightened goddess, but is very golden and beautiful, so I don't mind too much.

As you say, the music is excellent and I'm happy to close my eyes wherever necessary!

There was one scene that I thought worked out quite well, although the production quality was not the highest.  The one during the interlude with the tuned anvils, where we plunge down under the earth to the forge where the Nibelungen are slaving away on the rheingold, and then out again.  Well conceived, I thought, although they clearly did not have the resources to make the special effects convincing.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 04, 2010, 04:42:24 PM
(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0749677141226.jpg)
 
Getting close to making a purchase, these sound samples at JPC sound very very good........
 
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Richard-Wagner-Der-Ring-des-Nibelungen/hnum/6471079 (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Richard-Wagner-Der-Ring-des-Nibelungen/hnum/6471079)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 04, 2010, 04:47:50 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61HMD35Q0VL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
Any comments on the lastest 2005 Gebhardt remaster of 1953 Furtwangler Ring......
 
Everyone says sound much more detailed than older EMI release, cast is fabulous. JPC has sound samples of this also and mono sound does have some grain and ambient noise but voices are pretty detailed for radio broadcast
 
Very cheap......
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 05, 2010, 07:17:01 AM
Any comments on the lastest 2005 Gebhardt remaster of 1953 Furtwangler Ring......

I own it. There is a bottom layer of grain but it's not objectionable (to my ears). Compared to LPs I heard years ago, Gephardt has accomplished a miracle. This Ring sounds very good indeed (considering its age and provenance). If you can accept a less than great band (brass especially weak, seemingly unable to follow Furt's beat at times, intonation problems), it's certainly worth having (for the cast, for the conducting...he really is a force of nature). It's especially attractive at JPC's price.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 05, 2010, 10:06:30 AM
As far as I know neither of Goodall's much praised principle Ring singers, Remedios and Hunter, nor his Isolde Linda Esther Gray, seem to have achieved a great deal under other batons.

I have a live recording of Mahler 8 under Boulez from 1975. Remedios manages the first movement OK, but the second movement is a shocker, possibly the worst singing I have heard coming out of a professional singer.

The Ring comes variously from 73 to 77. So he was clearly not a 'spent' singer by 75. But once the partnership split up and Hunter went to Australia, there seems not to have been a continuation of the glory days.

Goodall went in for extraordinary runs of rehearsals and really worked in detail with the singers, but he surely was not Svengali. Gray was supposed to sing Turandot, after the Isolde, but she withdrew from the first of a run of performances and I never heard of her again.

I wonder why the others seemed to sink without trace?

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 05, 2010, 11:44:22 AM
I own it. There is a bottom layer of grain but it's not objectionable (to my ears). Compared to LPs I heard years ago, Gephardt has accomplished a miracle. This Ring sounds very good indeed (considering its age and provenance). If you can accept a less than great band (brass especially weak, seemingly unable to follow Furt's beat at times, intonation problems), it's certainly worth having (for the cast, for the conducting...he really is a force of nature). It's especially attractive at JPC's price.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61HMD35Q0VL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
Amazon USA has it for close to $50, but have to deal with limited mono sound quality plus as you say orchestra is definitely not top tier......you do get some great singers plus Furtwangler
 
Have you checked those Keilberth sound samples at JPC, 1955 Decca live stereo sounds very good on Testament release (especailly compared to Furtwangler for instance)
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 06, 2010, 06:02:51 AM
Have you checked those Keilberth sound samples at JPC?

Not recently. And please, don't tempt me  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: BMW on August 06, 2010, 06:22:30 AM
Any comments on the lastest 2005 Gebhardt remaster of 1953 Furtwangler Ring......
 
Everyone says sound much more detailed than older EMI release, cast is fabulous. JPC has sound samples of this also and mono sound does have some grain and ambient noise but voices are pretty detailed for radio broadcast
 
Very cheap......

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31hQAYUAP3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Gebhardt did a fine job with the La Scala Ring (my favorite of the two but not better when it comes to recording quality) -- I would hope this mastering standard was at least met with the 1953 version.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 06, 2010, 07:22:56 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41k6VnZWGOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I just wrote a long review of this, then did that thing where you click on the previewed text by accident (instead of the text entering panel), and behold - all is lost. Bah! And bah again. I haven't the heart to write it all out again.

The short version: mixed bag. Perfectly acceptable most of the time, but ruined by absurdly inadequate 'special effects'. I'm glad to have seen this once; but I wouldn't like to say how many more viewings it will get. Possibly none. I'm glad it didn't cost much.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 06, 2010, 07:50:13 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41k6VnZWGOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I just wrote a long review of this, then did that thing where you click on the previewed text by accident (instead of the text entering panel), and behold - all is lost. Bah! And bah again. I haven't the heart to write it all out again.

The short version: mixed bag. Perfectly acceptable most of the time, but ruined by absurdly inadequate 'special effects'. I'm glad to have seen this once; but I wouldn't like to say how many more viewings it will get. Possibly none. I'm glad it didn't cost much.

I suspect one possible problem was HVK got too involved in the actual movie direction in addition to the music........
 
I did make a Blu Ray purchase myself and am awaiting delivery:
 
 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PAOkkg%2BFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B002S8ON8M/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=130&s=dvd)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51txCdW1q3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
First two operas of 2008 Valencia Ring with Zubin Mehta, blu-ray format allows each opera to fit on 1 disc, if this provides the visual blockbuster I hope the other two operas will soon follow.....
 
In the near future I will compare these to Levine and Boulez DVD sets.......
 
Valencia Opera House
Please check these pix of amazing new design by architect Santiago Calatrava!

http://archiatlas.org/palau-de-les-arts-santiago-calatrava (http://archiatlas.org/palau-de-les-arts-santiago-calatrava)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: False_Dmitry on August 06, 2010, 08:56:47 AM
As far as I know neither of Goodall's much praised principle Ring singers, Remedios and Hunter, nor his Isolde Linda Esther Gray, seem to have achieved a great deal under other batons.

I have a live recording of Mahler 8 under Boulez from 1975. Remedios manages the first movement OK, but the second movement is a shocker, possibly the worst singing I have heard coming out of a professional singer.

The Ring comes variously from 73 to 77. So he was clearly not a 'spent' singer by 75. But once the partnership split up and Hunter went to Australia, there seems not to have been a continuation of the glory days.

Goodall went in for extraordinary runs of rehearsals and really worked in detail with the singers, but he surely was not Svengali. Gray was supposed to sing Turandot, after the Isolde, but she withdrew from the first of a run of performances and I never heard of her again.

I wonder why the others seemed to sink without trace?

Mike

Alberto* Remedios was far from a spent force after the ENO Ring cycles.  He went on to sing an impressive TRISTAN at ENO.  However, he suffered a physical injury (I forget exactly what - twisted ankle or similar?) and couldn't continue with the run.  Kenneth Woollam - a magnificent ENO in-house heldentenor, whose greatest fame was as Pierre in WAR & PEACE - took over, and got rave reviews that he well deserved.   They were two entirely different performances - Remedios the "big voice" performer, and Woollam the tortured, guilt-ridden knight.  An unexpected "bonus" from this event was that Woollam was released from his commitments on WAR & PEACE (then in re-rehearsal for the infamously disastrous tour of the USA),  and Stuart Kale - who had understudied it for years, and never had a performance - took over Pierre, and made a triumph of it.

Alberto later sang the title role in Stravinsky's OEDIPUS REX in a Camden Festival production conducted by Anthony Shelley,  performed in the Elgin Marbles hall at the British Museum,  and with Maurice Denham as the Narrator, standing on top of the Altar of Zeus (with the BM's very special permission).  I can confirm these performances since I was in the chorus for them  :)

Alberto freely admitted he couldn't read music, nor did he ever learn.  This contributed in no small part to the mammoth note-bashing sessions involved in his Ring preparations.

The story of Lynda Esther Gray is altogether more sad, and is not for public telling.   But there were several more ENO singers during that period whose careers were prematurely extinguished in similar fashion.  Let us not name them though, please?  ENO has been a poor parent to too many of its offspring :(


*He was not the only tenor Remedios.  His brother, Ramon Remedios, had a somewhat shorter career, mainly for Welsh National Opera and Opera North.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 06, 2010, 09:05:16 AM
That was all very interesting, thanks. Oedipus is a favourite piece of mine and I have enjoyed singing in it. I do envy you the chance to sing it in that hall in the BM. I often haunt it in late night openings during the winter, when the lighting partly emulates moonlight. Very beautiful.

Oddly enough, from that Boulez Mahler performance, which I was singing in, I got the impression from watching him that Remedios literally lost where he was in the score.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: False_Dmitry on August 06, 2010, 09:58:44 AM
Oddly enough, from that Boulez Mahler performance, which I was singing in, I got the impression from watching him that Remedios literally lost where he was in the score.

I'm surprised he even knew where he was before he got lost ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 06, 2010, 10:18:31 AM
Good idea to join the new thread onto the old one, but ... I started the new one because I searched for 'Wagner Ring' and found nothing suitable. And now, if I do the same search, it still doesn't find this thread. I'm not great at this searching business, but maybe others are as ungreat at it as me - so ... would it be possible for a kind Moderator to modify the title of this thread to include the word 'Wagner' so that it shows up on a simple search of thread titles, please?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: BMW on August 06, 2010, 11:17:04 AM
Good idea to join the new thread onto the old one, but ... I started the new one because I searched for 'Wagner Ring' and found nothing suitable. And now, if I do the same search, it still doesn't find this thread. I'm not great at this searching business, but maybe others are as ungreat at it as me - so ... would it be possible for a kind Moderator to modify the title of this thread to include the word 'Wagner' so that it shows up on a simple search of thread titles, please?

I am not sure about before, but now a search of 'Wagner Ring' brings up this thread -- maybe it was your post that solved the problem!   :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 06, 2010, 11:23:31 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41k6VnZWGOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I just wrote a long review of this, then did that thing where you click on the previewed text by accident (instead of the text entering panel), and behold - all is lost. Bah! And bah again. I haven't the heart to write it all out again.

The short version: mixed bag. Perfectly acceptable most of the time, but ruined by absurdly inadequate 'special effects'. I'm glad to have seen this once; but I wouldn't like to say how many more viewings it will get. Possibly none. I'm glad it didn't cost much.

I have to admit that the special effects in the film seem more appropriate to a Ray Harryhausen monster movie than to Wagner's epic Ring.    But with a little suspension of disbelief I found it as compelling a telling of the Rheingold story as I have seen, and musically I think it may be my absolute favorite.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 06, 2010, 11:27:19 AM
I am not sure about before, but now a search of 'Wagner Ring' brings up this thread -- maybe it was your post that solved the problem!   :)
So it does! How strange!

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on August 06, 2010, 11:29:16 AM
So it does! How strange!

The Ring's magical powers are already working wonders!  8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 06, 2010, 11:37:08 AM
I have to admit that the special effects in the film seem more appropriate to a Ray Harryhausen monster movie than to Wagner's epic Ring.    But with a little suspension of disbelief I found it as compelling a telling of the Rheingold story as I have seen, and musically I think it may be my absolute favorite.
As a musical experience, the Solti had me spellbound by comparison - but the playing field isn't level, as my TV is hopelessly poor by comparison with my hifi system (one of the reasons why I don't have a large opera DVD collection).

I agree though that it does have its strengths, and I wasn't bored by it. Just squirming now and then!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 06, 2010, 12:37:42 PM
Alan, I have altered the title and hope that continues to ensure the thread is found. The search engine does not like Berlioz either.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 06, 2010, 12:40:37 PM
as my TV is hopelessly poor by comparison with my hifi system.

Virtually all music/opera DVDs have an uncompressed stereo track that is technically superior to CD sound, so it is well worth the effort to connect the DVD player to the stereo system for playback of musical programs.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 06, 2010, 11:53:22 PM
Alan, I have altered the title and hope that continues to ensure the thread is found. The search engine does not like Berlioz either.
Thanks Mike.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 07, 2010, 12:04:30 AM
Virtually all music/opera DVDs have an uncompressed stereo track that is technically superior to CD sound, so it is well worth the effort to connect the DVD player to the stereo system for playback of musical programs.
Yes, I sometimes contemplate attempting something along those lines, but it's a small room, and the room logistics don't support the combination: the best place for the hifi speakers (by far the most important consideration) is on either side of the fireplace; that means the TV (much less important) would have to sit inside the fireplace for them to work together (normally the TV's in a corner). So if we want the best audio we can get, and an open fire, and a TV in the room - we're stuck. Though the combination might be effective for a few minutes to watch the end of Gotterdammerung, especially if we had buckets of Rhine water on hand.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 07, 2010, 12:11:24 AM
I ended up with an extra DVD player, don't ask. I hitched it up to my hi-fi, so I do sometimes just listen to the DVDs. I know that does not altogether make sense, but it means I do hear them in much better sound than on my TV. I am contemplating buying separate speakers for the TV, but I am not sure yet about the benefit/deficit ratio. I don't want to be able to see the damned things.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: False_Dmitry on August 07, 2010, 12:14:51 AM
Though the combination might be effective for a few minutes to watch the end of Gotterdammerung, especially if we had buckets of Rhine water on hand.

All you need is a team of Nibelungs to slave for you.  They are quite dapper at smithying a few wall-brackets for the speakers, for example :)   Or you could have them dig you a subterranean listening chamber to your own acoustically-approved specifications.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 07, 2010, 12:38:48 AM
All you need is a team of Nibelungs to slave for you.
Can they be ordered through Amazon?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 07, 2010, 12:43:31 AM
There ones are obviously accustomed to dealing with fireplaces and chimneys; seem like the right gang for you.

(http://www.dcist.com/attachments/dcist_charles/2006_0327_nibelungs.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: False_Dmitry on August 07, 2010, 12:48:07 AM
Can they be ordered through Amazon?

For he who holds the Ring, anything can be ordered :)

However, I would recommend removing the Tarnhelm when delivery is expected - to avoid disappointment and having to collect your Nibelungs from the Mail Depot later.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on August 07, 2010, 04:37:13 AM
Yes, I sometimes contemplate attempting something along those lines, but it's a small room, and the room logistics don't support the combination: the best place for the hifi speakers (by far the most important consideration) is on either side of the fireplace; that means the TV (much less important) would have to sit inside the fireplace for them to work together (normally the TV's in a corner). So if we want the best audio we can get, and an open fire, and a TV in the room - we're stuck. Though the combination might be effective for a few minutes to watch the end of Gotterdammerung, especially if we had buckets of Rhine water on hand.
;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 07, 2010, 05:08:38 AM
Buckets of Rhenish, eh?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 07, 2010, 08:11:51 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HHRJXDZPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Having been less than enthusiastic about Karajan's Rheingold movie, I thought I'd better take a look at the Levine DVD set I'd bought, and know the worst, as it were.

Well ... there was no worst! I watched the first hour of Walkure and thought it was superb! Despite the poor sound quality from the TV, I was gripped from the start. Hunding is wonderfully well portrayed (I love the way his eyes light up when Siegmund offers to tell him about his recent fight), and Jessye Norman is an unexpectedly convincing and sympathetic Sieglinde. My earlier uncertainties about the Levine approach were vapourised within mere minutes of listening to the dramatic intro. I love this, and I think for the sake of this Ring alone I'm going to have to find some way of squeezing better sound out of  the TV.

I've read some criticism of this along the lines 'yes, detailed traditional production but boring'. Well, boring it is NOT. These three characters are continually alert to each other through eye contact, facial expressions and gesture; and the music vividly speaks through them and through the orchestra. Every line seems so loaded with musical and dramatic significance that I can't afford to lose attention for even a few seconds without missing something. Marvellous stuff. My thanks to those who persisted in recommending it to me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 07, 2010, 08:23:43 AM
Glad that Levine has been vindicated, and that you take such pleasure in the production, Alan!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 08, 2010, 07:02:10 AM
Glad that Levine has been vindicated
Continuing the vindication of Levine....

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HHRJXDZPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I've now watched Act 3 as well as Act 1 (wicked to skip Act 2, I know, and I expect I'll be made to suffer for it in Valhalla). This time I got a significant boost in sound quality by using headphones (fine when I'm on my own, useless when not). I'd run out of superlatives, trying to describe this. Certainly my earlier comments on the beginning of Act 3, based on a youtube viewing, are fit only for the rubbish bin.

Musically, I can't think of anything to comment on adversely. As a musico-dramatic whole, it's entirely convincing, and I found myself immersed in it, imaginatively, in a way that I felt would make any subsequent criticism of mine seem impertinent. The change taking place in Wotan is palpable, as he discovers the meaning of real personal loss (Brunnhilde), and of love. Thoroughly heart-rending. I wept buckets.

As a by-the-way: how do other people cope with the fact that in the famous beginning section, the Valkyies are all singing about what they're doing with their horses, when there's not a horse in sight? (Watching one of the valkyries almost pretending to trot reminded me alarmingly of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 08, 2010, 07:51:39 AM
Continuing the vindication of Levine....

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HHRJXDZPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I've now watched Act 3 as well as Act 1 (wicked to skip Act 2, I know, and I expect I'll be made to suffer for it in Valhalla). This time I got a significant boost in sound quality by using headphones (fine when I'm on my own, useless when not). I'd run out of superlatives, trying to describe this. Certainly my earlier comments on the beginning of Act 3, based on a youtube viewing, are fit only for the rubbish bin.

Musically, I can't think of anything to comment on adversely. As a musico-dramatic whole, it's entirely convincing, and I found myself immersed in it, imaginatively, in a way that I felt would make any subsequent criticism of mine seem impertinent. The change taking place in Wotan is palpable, as he discovers the meaning of real personal loss (Brunnhilde), and of love. Thoroughly heart-rending. I wept buckets.

As a by-the-way: how do other people cope with the fact that in the famous beginning section, the Valkyries are all singing about what they're doing with their horses, when there's not a horse in sight? (Watching one of the Valkyries almost pretending to trot reminded me alarmingly of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

They don't want to be that literal in the staging otherwise the critics would be merciless in saying this is a dumbed down version that requires no thinking or imagination from viewer, there has to be some symbolism or reading between the lines....... ;)
 
If you collect many opera DVDs you can count on 1980-90s MET productions to have lavish stage sets and costuming and also attract some of the top singing talent, that doesn't mean it will be the best version but they have all the ingredients needed for success
 
By now you know what the next purchase should be......
There can be no money better spent than upgrading to a good large screen HD home theater system, the opera experience is amazing, besides huge picture with subtitles can you imagine Wagner in high quality surround sound, oh my
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 08, 2010, 08:01:39 AM
As a by-the-way: how do other people cope with the fact that in the famous beginning section, the Valkyies are all singing about what they're doing with their horses, when there's not a horse in sight? (Watching one of the valkyries almost pretending to trot reminded me alarmingly of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

I'm glad you're enjoying the set.  I believe the Met has regularly used horses on the stage, but only in ceremonial scenes (in Aida, for example).  I'd imagine they would be there if the stage director thought they would be effective.  As things stand a bit of willful suspension of disbelief is in order.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 08, 2010, 10:01:09 AM
I'm glad you're enjoying the set.  I believe the Met has regularly used horses on the stage, but only in ceremonial scenes (in Aida, for example).  I'd imagine they would be there if the stage director thought they would be effective.  As things stand a bit of willful suspension of disbelief is in order.
Actually, I think a bunch of horses on the stage would wreck the whole proceedings. I suppose it's Wagner's theatrical decision I'm questioning, rather than the production team's.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 08, 2010, 10:03:45 AM
By now you know what the next purchase should be......
There can be no money better spent than upgrading to a good large screen HD home theater system, the opera experience is amazing, besides huge picture with subtitles can you imagine Wagner in high quality surround sound, oh my
I need no persuading about the awesomeness, but alas this is a small room that has to be lived in as well as listened in, so quite a lot of compromises have to be made.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 08, 2010, 10:08:51 AM
I need no persuading about the awesomeness, but alas this is a small room that has to be lived in as well as listened in, so quite a lot of compromises have to be made.

Actually a good flat panel can be quite unobtrusive, no deep box, etc.   For audio, various companies make very compact rigs for providing decent (if not audiophile) sound.  One format is the "sound bar" which you put above or below the screen, and which provides virtual surround sound.  One example is by Polk, I'm sure other companies make them.  (Haven't heard one myself, so can't vouch for the quality of sound).

(http://www.polkaudio.com/images/site/surroundbar/long-50-title.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 08, 2010, 10:32:12 AM
Actually a good flat panel can be quite unobtrusive, no deep box, etc.   For audio, various companies make very compact rigs for providing decent (if not audiophile) sound.  One format is the "sound bar" which you put above or below the screen, and which provides virtual surround sound.  One example is by Polk, I'm sure other companies make them.  (Haven't heard one myself, so can't vouch for the quality of sound).

(http://www.polkaudio.com/images/site/surroundbar/long-50-title.jpg)
Thanks for this - it's long past time we did something about this, and you've given me a place to start here. I'll make a trip to the local hifi shop and see if I can get to listen to some alternatives.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 12, 2010, 07:28:56 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61XUG6GSMUL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TXckk1IaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B002HESQNK/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&m=A3EYG12GMIOWXZ&n=5174&s=music)
 
Fans of Keilberth 1955 Ring......
 
Have most of you supplemented the Ring boxset with Keilberth's other 1955 Die WalKure with Martha Modl,
what makes it important addition?
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on August 13, 2010, 11:24:15 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HHRJXDZPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Having been less than enthusiastic about Karajan's Rheingold movie, I thought I'd better take a look at the Levine DVD set I'd bought, and know the worst, as it were.

Well ... there was no worst! I watched the first hour of Walkure and thought it was superb! Despite the poor sound quality from the TV, I was gripped from the start. Hunding is wonderfully well portrayed (I love the way his eyes light up when Siegmund offers to tell him about his recent fight), and Jessye Norman is an unexpectedly convincing and sympathetic Sieglinde. My earlier uncertainties about the Levine approach were vapourised within mere minutes of listening to the dramatic intro. I love this, and I think for the sake of this Ring alone I'm going to have to find some way of squeezing better sound out of  the TV.

I've read some criticism of this along the lines 'yes, detailed traditional production but boring'. Well, boring it is NOT. These three characters are continually alert to each other through eye contact, facial expressions and gesture; and the music vividly speaks through them and through the orchestra. Every line seems so loaded with musical and dramatic significance that I can't afford to lose attention for even a few seconds without missing something. Marvellous stuff. My thanks to those who persisted in recommending it to me.

I'll be watching this DVD tonight!  Took a few minutes already to listen to the swash buckling overture and am now really excited to watch the rest of it!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 18, 2010, 09:16:04 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61XUG6GSMUL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
Fans of Keilberth 1955 Ring......

You always wondered what was in this boxset........
 
(http://cgim.audiogon.com/i/vs/s/f/1282155234.jpg)
 
There is no booklet for each opera, but two booklets covering entire set.
Nice photos for cardboard CD sleeves
 
You can download complete libretti from Testament website in PDF files
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 18, 2010, 12:29:18 PM
You always wondered what was in this boxset........
You're absolutely right, DA - and thank you for telling/showing us.

Meanwhile, we're still wondering how Ray got on with his swashbuckling Walkure experience ....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 18, 2010, 12:41:18 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IkuD2rsFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Meanwhile, I've now watched Gotterdammerung from the Levine set (yes, I'm watching them out of order).

There are a few quibbles, but let me say straight away that I was bowled over by this. Hagen is wonderfully menacing, Siegfried heroic in the usual slightly dumb sort of way. But Brunnhilde steals the show for me - as a piece of acting. The way she shifts through the cycle from valykrie to mortal, to intensely vulnerable betrayed female, and finally to the redeeming heroine is pretty miraculous, I think. In terms of singing, I'd say Behrens isn't up to Nilsson, Jones, or Hunter (the only others I know). I thought her voice quite often seemed strained and harsh, with a thin edge to it. Watching this on TV and listening on headphones was fine, but I wouldn't want to listen to this purely on audio - the deficiencies would be too noticeable I think. It was her commitment to the role, and her understanding of it that won me over, rather than the singing.

But overall, I am thrilled to have this. Best money I've spent for ages - hugely rewarding. Onward (or rather backward) - to Siegfried.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 18, 2010, 01:06:26 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IkuD2rsFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Meanwhile, I've now watched Gotterdammerung from the Levine set (yes, I'm watching them out of order).

There are a few quibbles, but let me say straight away that I was bowled over by this. Hagen is wonderfully menacing, Siegfried heroic in the usual slightly dumb sort of way. But Brunnhilde steals the show for me - as a piece of acting. The way she shifts through the cycle from valykrie to mortal, to intensely vulnerable betrayed female, and finally to the redeeming heroine is pretty miraculous, I think. In terms of singing, I'd say Behrens isn't up to Nilsson, Jones, or Hunter (the only others I know). I thought her voice quite often seemed strained and harsh, with a thin edge to it. Watching this on TV and listening on headphones was fine, but I wouldn't want to listen to this purely on audio - the deficiencies would be too noticeable I think. It was her commitment to the role, and her understanding of it that won me over, rather than the singing.

But overall, I am thrilled to have this. Best money I've spent for ages - hugely rewarding. Onward (or rather backward) - to Siegfried.

Another great investment for your opera viewing is nice 52" HD TV set.........
(me watching Levine Ring)
 
(http://cgim.audiogon.com/i/vs/s/f/1282168605.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 19, 2010, 01:08:57 AM

Another great investment for your opera viewing is nice 52" HD TV set.........
(me watching Levine Ring)
 
(http://cgim.audiogon.com/i/vs/s/f/1282168605.jpg)
Very nice, but to do that we'd need to move house! No, we're quite happy with the image quality we have; it's the audio that's the problem. I visited my local hifi emporium yesterday, and discovered that none of the affordable alternatives can match the audio quality I get on headphones, so that direction of exploring is a dead end. The real solution is some kind of room reorganisation that would allow me play the DVD audio through my hifi and to place the LS3/5As on each side of the TV. But we've known that for years, and still haven't found a solution. The room is just too small, and headphones remain the best alternative at present.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on August 19, 2010, 07:36:34 AM
Very nice, but to do that we'd need to move house! No, we're quite happy with the image quality we have; it's the audio that's the problem. I visited my local hifi emporium yesterday, and discovered that none of the affordable alternatives can match the audio quality I get on headphones, so that direction of exploring is a dead end. The real solution is some kind of room reorganisation that would allow me play the DVD audio through my hifi and to place the LS3/5As on each side of the TV. But we've known that for years, and still haven't found a solution. The room is just too small, and headphones remain the best alternative at present.
LS3/5As?  I was blessed with a pair 25 years ago.  Wish I still had them.

Your post suggests that the TV set is not the center of your home life.  I'm not surprised.  ;)  8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 19, 2010, 07:46:23 AM
Very nice, but to do that we'd need to move house! No, we're quite happy with the image quality we have; it's the audio that's the problem. I visited my local hifi emporium yesterday, and discovered that none of the affordable alternatives can match the audio quality I get on headphones, so that direction of exploring is a dead end. The real solution is some kind of room reorganisation that would allow me play the DVD audio through my hifi and to place the LS3/5As on each side of the TV. But we've known that for years, and still haven't found a solution. The room is just too small, and headphones remain the best alternative at present.

But a flat panel can be hung on a wall like a picture frame.  I would think that would be compatible with almost any room layout?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 19, 2010, 07:49:06 AM
If the wall space is not otherwise bespoken.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 19, 2010, 07:49:41 AM
Your post suggests that the TV set is not the center of your home life.  I'm not surprised.  ;)  8)

: )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on August 19, 2010, 10:15:11 AM
If the wall space is not otherwise bespoken.
And if the room would accommodate proper positioning of the Rogers speakers.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 19, 2010, 10:18:51 AM
And if the room would accommodate proper positioning of the Rogers speakers.

I think Elgarian mentioned the speakers flank a fireplace.  A monitor could even be hung on the wall above the mantle. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on August 19, 2010, 10:20:59 AM
I think Elgarian mentioned the speakers flank a fireplace.  A monitor could even be hung on the wall above the mantle.

Depending on the depth of the room and the height of the fireplace, that could easily be uncomfortably high.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 19, 2010, 10:32:52 AM
Depending on the depth of the room and the height of the fireplace, that could easily be uncomfortably high.

Be can watch while reclining on a hammock hung from the ceiling rafters.  No imagination.   8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 19, 2010, 11:30:53 AM
I think Elgarian mentioned the speakers flank a fireplace.  A monitor could even be hung on the wall above the mantle.
It's nice to see so many people trying to solve my problem for me, but ... yes, Scarpia's right. The speakers flank a tall fireplace, and a TV panel placed above it would be too high: very uncomfortable viewing unless we stood the chairs on 2 foot high plinths, or adopted Scarpia's hammock idea.

Wall space is also problematic. There's a lifetime's collection of art on the walls, and one of the finest of them hangs over the fireplace, which is the natural focus of the room. My pictures are my lifeblood, and to replace that superb image with one of those big flat screens would be seriously horrible. So the TV gets stuck in the corner and there really isn't anywhere else it can go. Too many conflicting priorities. Really, the headphones are the best solution for now.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 19, 2010, 11:34:27 AM
It's nice to see so many people trying to solve my problem for me, but ... yes, Scarpia's right. The speakers flank a tall fireplace, and a TV panel placed above it would be too high: very uncomfortable viewing unless we stood the chairs on 2 foot high plinths, or adopted Scarpia's hammock idea.

Wall space is also problematic. There's a lifetime's collection of art on the walls, and one of the finest of them hangs over the fireplace, which is the natural focus of the room. My pictures are my lifeblood, and to replace that superb image with one of those big flat screens would be seriously horrible. So the TV gets stuck in the corner and there really isn't anywhere else it can go. Too many conflicting priorities. Really, the headphones are the best solution for now.

At least you can get a second pair of headphones for when Mrs Elgarian wants to watch.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 19, 2010, 11:37:42 AM
At least you can get a second pair of headphones for when Mrs Elgarian wants to watch.
Nicely spotted. We've debated whether to splash out on a pair of wireless Sennheisers to accommodate that very possibility, but she's much less keen to watch opera on TV than I am, so the idea may just fizzle out.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on August 19, 2010, 11:39:49 AM
Nicely spotted. We've debated whether to splash out on a pair of wireless Sennheisers to accommodate that very possibility, but she's much less keen to watch opera on TV than I am, so the idea may just fizzle out.
Hmmm...perhaps if you were more keen on watching Mozart and less on watching Wagner, she might come around...?  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 19, 2010, 11:56:16 AM
Hmmm...perhaps if you were more keen on watching Mozart and less on watching Wagner, she might come around...?  ;)
Dave, you have no idea. When I want Wagner, she wants Mozart. When she wants Wagner, I want Mozart. We end up meeting somewhere like Star Trek.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 19, 2010, 12:43:25 PM
Hmmm...perhaps if you were more keen on watching Mozart and less on watching Wagner, she might come around...?  ;)

More blasphemy from the Unbeliever. Be careful, David....remember, nobody expects the inquisition.  $:)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 20, 2010, 12:05:35 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51p3seq6TVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Interesting, this. In so many obvious ways this Met production is superior to the Karajan version that I wrote about earlier, and yet, and yet - there's a kind woodenness about it. Siegfried Jerusalem's Loge doesn't quite seem to catch fire, unlike his counterpart in Karajan's production, who does. Morris's Wotan seems as if he doesn't quite know what to do with his spear most of the time, so resorts to a set of formulaic stances involving it. And maybe that's how gods behave, but it makes them seem a bit dull. I'll be interested to have Scarpia's thoughts on this. I fancy that while we're both aware of the limitations of the Karajan (most notably the special effects), it actually has more life in it.

I wondered if maybe I was getting jaded, but when I put Siegfried on I was immediately captivated, so I think there really may be something not-quite-so-convincing about this Rheingold.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on August 20, 2010, 02:11:50 PM
Dave, you have no idea. When I want Wagner, she wants Mozart. When she wants Wagner, I want Mozart. We end up meeting somewhere like Star Trek.

When I want Wagner, she wants Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  When I want Buffy, she wants House M.D.   :(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 27, 2010, 04:16:06 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eRxAqJlLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Here goes with a response to the last of the Met Ring cycle DVDs (I watched them out of sequence).

I've always found Siegfried the most difficult of the four (partly I think because of the lack of female voices in the first two Acts, to bring some variety to the vocal sound texture), and was shocked to discover, when listening to the Solti Siegfried for the first time about 3 weeks ago, that I experienced hardly a dull moment. Wonderfully dramatic, with a sound stage almost tangible, and as musically articulate as I could hope for. So I approached the Levine Met DVD(s) with a lot more optimism than I'd otherwise have managed to summon. Coming with Solti (audio only of course) as the most recent background, I found the Levine seemed a good deal more patchy. I found myself losing focus in some of the more ponderous dialogues (Wotan and Mime telling the whole tale again to each other, etc). And it hurts to say this, but Act 3 never really took off for me because of Hildegard Behrens's Brunnhilde. I've mentioned this before when posting about the Gotterdammerung, but although she lives the part wonderfully well, her singing often seems thin, edgy, and strained to these ears, and particularly so in Siegfried Act 3.

Looking back overall, then, and awarding medals, I think for me Walkure stands out as the pinnacle of the Met cycle, with a commendable Gotterdammerung in second place. Siegfried comes in as a rather patchy third, and Das Rheingold seems, by comparison with all these, stodgy, static, worthy, but dull.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 27, 2010, 04:43:00 AM
BUT THEN...

there was this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dhOQMEoAL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Yes, I couldn't resist remortgaging the house and buying the box set of Chereau's Ring. I've heard this production, but never seen it. Today I watched the first two scenes of Rheingold, expecting to find myself squirming at the non-traditionalisms. There was no squirming at all. I was gripped from the beginning. I loved the set, with the Rhinemaidens cavorting along the top of the dam. And these Rhinemaidens are real temptresses, oozing sexuality. The singing is superb to match. Alberich is the most convincing dirty old man, being led on mercilessly. And the music - oh my goodness, I found myself swept away by the music quite compellingly. I can't pin down the difference, but Boulez makes Levine seem a bit lightweight, somehow. I seem to hear more - more detail - and it hits me more convincingly.

I believe thoroughly in McIntyre's Wotan, whereas Morris's was a rather static character with whom I felt uninvolved. The only quibble I have so far - and it's a significant one - is with the daft giants, who look as if they'd have difficulty getting in and out of bed, let alone building Valhalla. The silly arms, the absurd proportions - surely this was a major artistic blunder on the production side? Or am I missing some point of irony here? Please tell me.

Giants apart, I'm both thrilled and astonished by my decision to get one of these sets. It's a very, very exciting prospect ahead.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on August 27, 2010, 07:23:02 AM
Perhaps the point re the giants was to visually underline their ineptness in dealing with life. They may have been able to build a city, but they were so easily seduced by temptation and so quickly succumbed to the malign influence of the ring, showing that the bigger you are the harder you fall.

Just a thought.

I remember enjoying the production....until GJ enters the scene. But that is my problem, not yours.

Memories!

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wendell_E on August 27, 2010, 07:45:26 AM
The only quibble I have so far - and it's a significant one - is with the daft giants, who look as if they'd have difficulty getting in and out of bed, let alone building Valhalla. The silly arms, the absurd proportions - surely this was a major artistic blunder on the production side? Or am I missing some point of irony here? Please tell me.

Absurd proportions?  You should see the giants in the later Kupfer/Barenboim production!  I really liked that production overall, though (Kupfer, I mean, but I love the Chéreau one as well).  Too bad that's the only part of that Ring Netflix is currently carrying.

I've heard the giants in the Chéreau production came off much better live in the theatre than in TV closeups.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 28, 2010, 10:44:42 PM
Perhaps the point re the giants was to visually underline their ineptness in dealing with life. They may have been able to build a city, but ...
Yes, OK ... but build a city? I think they'd have trouble putting one children's building brick on top of another. It's the rubbery arms that are particularly derisory - Fafner's attack on Fasolt makes Monty Python's fish-slapping dance look positively lethal.

However, I don't want to attach undue importance to it - opera productions in general are full of neo-pantomime absurdities, after all! Having now watched the rest of the Chereau Rheingold, I can only confirm how much I've enjoyed it. I suppose it never quite lived up to its highpoint - the first scene with those wonderful Rhinemaidens - but it's still full of drama and action, and the musical flow never flags. The camera work is effective too - using cutaway moments to pick up the responses from one character to another.

On, then, to Walkure.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 30, 2010, 05:32:43 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51p3seq6TVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Interesting, this. In so many obvious ways this Met production is superior to the Karajan version that I wrote about earlier, and yet, and yet - there's a kind woodenness about it. Siegfried Jerusalem's Loge doesn't quite seem to catch fire, unlike his counterpart in Karajan's production, who does. Morris's Wotan seems as if he doesn't quite know what to do with his spear most of the time, so resorts to a set of formulaic stances involving it. And maybe that's how gods behave, but it makes them seem a bit dull. I'll be interested to have Scarpia's thoughts on this. I fancy that while we're both aware of the limitations of the Karajan (most notably the special effects), it actually has more life in it.

The scence depicted on cover where the entire family of gods work things out with giants in front of valhalla does seem very stiff to me also like statuary in a formal garden......compared to opening Rhine maidens segment and then going underground to steal the ring and helmet segment. The crafty Loge character does give some welcomed relief to the otherwise wooden gods clan.
 
Yes what does one do with a 8ft spear that you must lug around all the time and try to be cool  ;) 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on August 30, 2010, 09:32:02 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TPAjqq4uL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I remember, when I listened to this Ring production on the radio in 1980-ish, that Act 1 of Walkure was electrifying. Now, 30 years on, and seeing it for the first time ... it still is electrifying. The electricity between Hofmann and Altmeyer positively crackles, both musically and dramatically. I was also struck by how very, very intimate the orchestra becomes in some of those passages - one could almost believe that in places the pair are accompanied by a mere string quartet. Is this what they mean about Boulez causing so much trouble (initially) by his restraint of the orchestra?

I was also struck (not for the first time) by how very like Elgar Wagner can be (yes I know it's the other way round, but this is how it felt, not how I know it really is). Some of the really tender aching string passages have such a 'yearning for the feminine' feel to them, not a million miles away from Elgar's windflower stuff in feeling.

I groaned a bit when Act 2 began, but Fricka sings her part so well, and I was so drawn in to the plight of McIntyre's Wotan, that the time fairly sped by. The appearance of Gwyneth Jones had me wondering if, after all these years, I'd find myself troubled by the dreaded 'wobble' that Mike dislikes so much ... but no, she was as magnificent as I remembered her to be. Passing as I am, straight from the Met production to this Chereau, I think the contrast between Jones's wild, seemingly effortless, soaring Brunnhilde, and the Behrens version, thinly straining at the edge most of the time, could hardly be more marked. Don't get me wrong, I've heard GJ sing very badly, so I know what her worst is like - but surely, surely this is far removed from that? What, I wonder, is this 'wobble'? Is it a slow, prominent and somehow objectionable vibrato? (If that's what it is, Behrens does her fair share of that.) And I can hear some of that, but it sounds very natural, and not at all troublesome. Anyway, for my money Gwyneth is, all things considered, a tremendously convincing Brunnhilde here, taken as a whole package.

Act 3 awaits.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on August 30, 2010, 06:23:30 PM
I finally purchased the Weimar ring on DVD, resisting the extra cost of the blu-ray version.

I was left pretty underwhelmed by the Valencia Gotterdammerung on blu-ray, not the format just the production -it found it all emotionless and a rather cold production. Maybe the other 3 in the series might fair better.

So far i have been impressed with the Weimar ring.  Its fairly simple, low tech like the Stuttgart Ring - and i like it like that.  Like the Stuttgart Ring, i found myself understanding things better and thinking about scenes more than i had done with other Rings.

It seems to have got slated in a number of places as the worst Ring on DVD so what do i know - i enjoyed the playing of the orchestra, i did not find it too slow.  Some singers are better than others, and some scenes work and some do not.  But overall, i am more than glad i bought it and will dip into it again and again.

Anyone else seen any of them?  I think i have 6 full Ring cycles on DVD now, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Kufer/barenboim and now thie Weimar.  They all have faults and all have good and bad parts.  The Amserdam one is probably the best for my money-just beautiful playing from the orchestra and nice modern concepts without being overwhelming
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on August 31, 2010, 03:33:36 AM
I finally purchased the Weimar ring on DVD, resisting the extra cost of the blu-ray version.

I was left pretty underwhelmed by the Valencia Gotterdammerung on blu-ray, not the format just the production -it found it all emotionless and a rather cold production. Maybe the other 3 in the series might fair better.

So far i have been impressed with the Weimar ring.  Its fairly simple, low tech like the Stuttgart Ring - and i like it like that.  Like the Stuttgart Ring, i found myself understanding things better and thinking about scenes more than i had done with other Rings.

It seems to have got slated in a number of places as the worst Ring on DVD so what do i know - i enjoyed the playing of the orchestra, i did not find it too slow.  Some singers are better than others, and some scenes work and some do not.  But overall, i am more than glad i bought it and will dip into it again and again.

Anyone else seen any of them?  I think i have 6 full Ring cycles on DVD now, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Kufer/barenboim and now thie Weimar.  They all have faults and all have good and bad parts.  The Amserdam one is probably the best for my money-just beautiful playing from the orchestra and nice modern concepts without being overwhelming

Is that the Ring where stage extends beyond orchestra like a circle runway with orchestra surrounded?

Seems that might be a distraction to see orchestra behind the actors......how do they handle this in DVD?
Use camera angles to hide Orchestra?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on September 02, 2010, 03:11:38 AM
no the orchestra is visible in many of the scenes.  You are right in saying that they took out some of the front seats and built what looks like a set of saturn rings around the orchestra on which the singers move.  With clever lighting and a modern setting i find it very effective.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 02, 2010, 10:50:49 PM
I just noticed that the Bohm Ring is being re-issued at a lower price point. Does this make it a first choice now (at roughly $50-70 or so)?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41h4js69YTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on September 04, 2010, 05:40:19 AM
Interesting to see that Opera Now magazine reviews both the Weimar Ring cycle and the Valencia Fura del Baus Ring and the reviewer just about prefers the more intimate Weimar Ring.  Me too!!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on September 04, 2010, 06:22:22 AM
Interesting to see that Opera Now magazine reviews both the Weimar Ring cycle and the Valencia Fura del Baus Ring and the reviewer just about prefers the more intimate Weimar Ring.  Me too!!

That's the "St. Clair" cycle.  Most reviewers on Amazon rate it 1 or 2 stars out of 5. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on September 04, 2010, 07:13:15 AM
LA Ring 2010
 
This is what happens when hollywood and big budget of $32 million get to produce Ring Cycle......is this the future of Wagner Ring?  :(
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boa7zcaVOSo&feature=channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boa7zcaVOSo&feature=channel)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3kiGU8GdKk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3kiGU8GdKk)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKqqUWTuJLU&feature=channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKqqUWTuJLU&feature=channel)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on September 04, 2010, 09:21:32 AM
LA Ring 2010
 
This is what happens when hollywood and big budget of $32 million get to produce Ring Cycle......is this the future of Wagner Ring?  :(
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boa7zcaVOSo&feature=channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boa7zcaVOSo&feature=channel)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3kiGU8GdKk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3kiGU8GdKk)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKqqUWTuJLU&feature=channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKqqUWTuJLU&feature=channel)
Wow!  The Smurfs meet Teletubbies and Barney duels Sponge Bob Squarepants...our civilization is doomed!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DarkAngel on September 04, 2010, 10:42:06 AM
Wow!  The Smurfs meet Teletubbies and Barney duels Sponge Bob Squarepants...our civilization is doomed!

Yes my first reaction when seeing these samples was did I accidently tune into Saturday morning cartoon show
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Conor71 on September 22, 2010, 05:30:36 AM
I just noticed that the Bohm Ring is being re-issued at a lower price point. Does this make it a first choice now (at roughly $50-70 or so)?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41h4js69YTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
I would be interested to know the answer to this too :) - I have also posted this in the Recommendations thread as well :D.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 22, 2010, 06:56:27 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41h4js69YTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I would be interested to know the answer to this too [is it now a first choice at this new price?] :) - I have also posted this in the Recommendations thread as well :D.
Well, whether it makes an automatic first choice regardless of all other circumstances, is surely debatable. But if you mean 'Would Jack be a lunatic to pass up this unbelievable bargain offer on this famous and stunning live recording?', then yes, he would.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on September 22, 2010, 07:01:41 AM
Well, whether it makes an automatic first choice regardless of all other cirumstances, it's surely debatable. But if you mean 'Would I be a lunatic to pass up this unbelievable bargain offer on this stunning live recording?', then yes.

Of course, Culshaw in his book, "The Golden Ring," describes the 1965 Bayreuth production with Bohm as execrable, and proof that only an idiot would bother see the Ring performed live at Bayreuth when they could listen to his records instead.   ::)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 22, 2010, 07:14:49 AM
Of course, Culshaw in his book, "The Golden Ring," describes the 1965 Bayreuth production with Bohm as execrable, and proof that only an idiot would bother see the Ring performed live at Bayreuth when they could listen to his records instead.
That's not you talking. It's characteristic of the condition known as 'Toxic Culshaw Neuritis'.

Incidentally the only reference to Bohm that I can find in my copy of the Gospel According to Culshaw questions the wisdom of the Bohm/Wieland Wagner decision to cut a two and a half minute scene from Gotterdammerung. I can't find the word 'execrable' anywhere. Does he have a go at it somewhere else?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on September 22, 2010, 08:50:33 AM
That's not you talking. It's characteristic of the condition known as 'Toxic Culshaw Neuritis'.

Incidentally the only reference to Bohm that I can find in my copy of the Gospel According to Culshaw questions the wisdom of the Bohm/Wieland Wagner decision to cut a two and a half minute scene from Gotterdammerung. I can't find the word 'execrable' anywhere. Does he have a go at it somewhere else?

Look in the epilogue.  He describes returning to Bayreuth to promote the release of Walkure and attending a performance of part of the Ring cycle by the Bayreuth Festival.  He never mentions Bohm by name, but refers to the 1965 production.  Bohm's recording of the Ring at Bayreuth was the 1966 festival, if memory serves, but that was carried over of the 1965 production which was also directed by Bohm (according to Wikipedia).   Culshaw criticizes the stage direction, but also ridicules the unnamed conductor quite harshly (although I am paraphrasing when I use the word execrable).  I don't have the book in front of me and can't give a specific reference at the moment, but I will check when I am at home.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 22, 2010, 12:50:32 PM
Look in the epilogue.  He describes returning to Bayreuth to promote the release of Walkure and attending a performance of part of the Ring cycle by the Bayreuth Festival.  He never mentions Bohm by name, but refers to the 1965 production.  Bohm's recording of the Ring at Bayreuth was the 1966 festival, if memory serves, but that was carried over of the 1965 production which was also directed by Bohm (according to Wikipedia).   Culshaw criticizes the stage direction, but also ridicules the unnamed conductor quite harshly (although I am paraphrasing when I use the word execrable).  I don't have the book in front of me and can't give a specific reference at the moment, but I will check when I am at home.
You're absolutely right, Scarps: "The moments of tension ... were loud and rhythmically slack; and the moments of release ... were conducted with a stupifying indifference. ... A performance of ... monumental ineptitude."

I hadn't actually read the dates carefully enough to realise it was Bohm he was talking about. Certainly what he says is light years off target, as anyone listening to the superb Bohm recordings would recognise. The kindest thing one can think is that maybe he had the misfortune to go on a bad day? But ... that bad? Surely not. I know there are people who think Bohm 'goes at it' too heavy-handedly, but I've never thought it myself.

You're going to make me deface and burn my copy of The Golden Ring now, aren't you?

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on September 22, 2010, 01:04:13 PM
You're absolutely right, Scarps: "The moments of tension ... were loud and rhythmically slack; and the moments of release ... were conducted with a stupifying indifference. ... A performance of ... monumental ineptitude."

I hadn't actually read the dates carefully enough to realise it was Bohm he was talking about. Certainly what he says is light years off target, as anyone listening to the superb Bohm recordings would recognise. The kindest thing one can think is that maybe he had the misfortune to go on a bad day? But ... that bad? Surely not. I know there are people who think Bohm 'goes at it' too heavy-handedly, but I've never thought it myself.

You're going to make me deface and burn my copy of The Golden Ring now, aren't you?

No, it is a fun thing to read, but too self-serving to revere, in my opinion. 

After that section which ridicules, I presume, Bohm, Culshaw goes on to excoriate the critics who failed to provide unconditional adulation to his recordings, then to predict that Opera Houses around the world would become extinct unless they see the light and strive to imitate the special effects in his recordings.   Oh well, Bayreuth managed to survive anyway, somehow.   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 22, 2010, 11:59:09 PM
No, it is a fun thing to read, but too self-serving to revere, in my opinion.
I wondered whether it was a book I revered, and decided it wasn't. It's the recording I revere - and not just the recording for its own sake, but I enjoy the fact that it not only quickly acquired legendary status, but actually lived up to it whenever I listened to parts of it, and especially when I finally got one of my own. In that context, The Golden Ring qualifies as what Helene Hanff would have called an 'I was there' book - and as such acquires a value regardless of its literary quality or the personality of its author. I think that's how I see it, and why I enjoy it so much.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on September 23, 2010, 03:03:20 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TPAjqq4uL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I remember, when I listened to this Ring production on the radio in 1980-ish, that Act 1 of Walkure was electrifying. Now, 30 years on, and seeing it for the first time ... it still is electrifying. The electricity between Hofmann and Altmeyer positively crackles, both musically and dramatically. I was also struck by how very, very intimate the orchestra becomes in some of those passages - one could almost believe that in places the pair are accompanied by a mere string quartet. Is this what they mean about Boulez causing so much trouble (initially) by his restraint of the orchestra?

I was also struck (not for the first time) by how very like Elgar Wagner can be (yes I know it's the other way round, but this is how it felt, not how I know it really is). Some of the really tender aching string passages have such a 'yearning for the feminine' feel to them, not a million miles away from Elgar's windflower stuff in feeling.

I groaned a bit when Act 2 began, but Fricka sings her part so well, and I was so drawn in to the plight of McIntyre's Wotan, that the time fairly sped by. The appearance of Gwyneth Jones had me wondering if, after all these years, I'd find myself troubled by the dreaded 'wobble' that Mike dislikes so much ... but no, she was as magnificent as I remembered her to be. Passing as I am, straight from the Met production to this Chereau, I think the contrast between Jones's wild, seemingly effortless, soaring Brunnhilde, and the Behrens version, thinly straining at the edge most of the time, could hardly be more marked. Don't get me wrong, I've heard GJ sing very badly, so I know what her worst is like - but surely, surely this is far removed from that? What, I wonder, is this 'wobble'? Is it a slow, prominent and somehow objectionable vibrato? (If that's what it is, Behrens does her fair share of that.) And I can hear some of that, but it sounds very natural, and not at all troublesome. Anyway, for my money Gwyneth is, all things considered, a tremendously convincing Brunnhilde here, taken as a whole package.

Act 3 awaits.

I love this Act 1 better than any other except the Karajan.

I would be interested to know the answer to this too :) - I have also posted this in the Recommendations thread as well :D.

Don't hesitate, it's great, and for the price you've got it made with that one.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 27, 2011, 05:49:52 AM
Solti's recording is my favorite. Karajan and Furtwangler are close, though. Karajan's recording, although magnificent, is in some parts too fast-paced and some powerful parts are singed too softly/vice versa. Karl Ridderbusch as Fafner and Hagen is little too soft to my taste, although still excellent singer. I especially appreciate Dietrich-Fischer-Dieskau as Wotan in Rheingold: it seems like he fits every baritone/bassbaritone role perfectly. Furtwangler's legendary La Scala Ring and Italian Radio Ring are also close to Solti, but In La Scala singers are clearly better than orchestra and in Italian Radio orchestra is better than singers. So I pick Solti because in that recording both orchestra and singers are both as magnificent.

George London, one of the greatest Wotans ever, but Hans Hotter in Walküre and Siegfried surpasses everyone. Contrast between London's more youthful voice and Hotter's deeper give perfect picture about time elapsed between Rheingold and Walküre. Hotter's voice can be tremendously powerful like thunder, but also gentle as zephyr. My opinion: young Hotter is divine... but old Hotter is even better! Nilsson is of course amazing Brünnhilde and I have always appreciated more her high voice compared to another awesome Brünnhilde, more deep-voiced Flagstad, who does great job with Fricka's role in Rheingold. Christa Ludwig as Fricka in Walküre is much younger and thus makes slightly better portyrayal IMO and also as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. Gerhilde, Waltraute, Helmwige, Siegrune, Rossweisse, Ortlinde, Schwertleite and Grimgerde in Walküre have gorgeous singers in Vera Schlosser, Brigitte Fassbaender, Berit Lindholm, Vera Little, Claudia Hellmann, Helga Dernesch, Helen Watts and Marilyn Tyler, respectively.
 I have heard some people disliking Set Svanholm's portrayal of Loge, but to me he is exactly like Loge is supposed to be. Paul Kuen as Mime in Rheingold is pitiful Mime under Alberich's power... Gerhard Stolze as Mime in Siegfried is best - Mime - ever. Oh God, I love him! Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried - no words needed. Gustav Neidlinger is THE Alberich for me: his voice is bitter, tragic, sympathetic, goofy, revengeful, crushing, sarcastic and strong. Everything you could ask for from the lord of the Nibelungs and lord of the Ring! Walter Kreppel is poor soppy Fasolt and there doesn't exist better Fafner than Kurt Böhme and his sinister, pitch-black voice. Eberhard Wächter and Waldemar Kmennt as Donner and Froh really sound like true brothers.

Although both Rhinemaidens (Oda Balsborg, Hetty Plümacher and Ira Malaniuk in Rheingold; Lucia Popp, Gwyneth Jones and Maureen Guy in Götterdämmerung" are superb singers I think Götterdämmerung trio is slightly better. Gottlob Frick was born in Hagen's role. He is awesome Hunding also, but nothing can beat his portrayal of Nibelung's son. "Hoiho! Hoiho!" His pitch-black voice makes me shiver every time I hear it. James King and Regine Crespin are capable Siegmund and Sieglinde. Fabulous Marga Höffgen is better Erda than Jean Madeira IMO. Helen Watts, Grace Hoffman and only finn singer, legendary Anita Välkki as Norns hit a homerun.

You know it is hard-core Ring when Joan Sutherland is Woodbird. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Claire Watson has perhaps cutest voice I have ever heard. Clever combination with roles of Freia and Gutrune. And let's not forget majestic Dietrich-Fischer-Dieskau as Gunther. His solemn voice really captures royalty of the character.

And finally: Vienna Philharmonic and sir Georg Solti, perhaps best orchestra in the world and quite possibly my favorite Wagner conductor. There isn't single flaw in their co-operation. It's... beautiful.

//And chorus of vassals and women in Götterdämmerung! Brilliant!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kaergaard on January 27, 2011, 10:30:32 AM
Solti's recording is my favorite.

A little sad that you too, Alberich, rate Solti as No. 1. Solti is not a recording a stage performance, it's a studio recording, where every bit of off-sound was corrected and a new version added, every not sung by those stars is artificially sound perfect! That is not opora!

Give me any time a stage performance with a few clunkers, and I have experienced Wagner, not the product of some sound engineering wizzard!

I am ready for the rotten eggs and tomatoes, but you won't be able to change my mind. Wagner meant his Gesamtkunstwerke to be performend on an opera stage, not in in a sound studio!  :P
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Wendell_E on January 27, 2011, 01:07:54 PM
Wagner meant his Gesamtkunstwerke to be performend on an opera stage, not in in a sound studio!  :P

...and he meant it to be heard and seen in a theatre, not in our living rooms!  Recordings are evil!   >:D  And I have thousands of 'em.   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 27, 2011, 01:35:25 PM
Oh, I know it's kind of a cliché to pick up Solti. And I am aware that they polished sound with studio equipment, I just don't care about it. I believe they made good enough job anyway. :P It's also kind of nostalgic reason since it was my first Ring and I have grown fond of it. But of course there are many Ring recordings still not tested out.

Btw, those Levine DVD:s kick ass! Levine may not be best conductor but still one of the best ones nowadays.

Live performances still beats the crap out of recordings naturally, even though with recordings you can use more your imagination... it is still not same. But live recordings with audience... somewhat annoy me with coughing (I cough all the time even in opera so I am really not one to blame them though, :)) and worst cases include applauding during the acts, which isn't part of Wagner tradition.

// I meant the old DVDs.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on January 27, 2011, 01:44:37 PM
Oh, I know it's kind of cliché to pick up Solti. And I am aware that they polished sound with studio equipment, I just don't care about it. I believe they made good enough job anyway. :P It's also kind of nostalgic reason since it was my first Ring and I have grown fond of it. But of course there are many Ring recordings still not tested out.

Btw, those Levine DVD:s kick ass! Levine may not be best conductor but still one of the best ones nowadays.
Are there new Levine DVDs, or are you referring to that old production with Morris, Jerusalem, & Behrens?  Based on the Rhinegold I saw a few months back, when they come out with the new one on DVD it'll be a must buy.

And chalk me up as another Solti fan in Wagner--the overheated drama and good sound quality work!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2011, 08:01:14 AM


  Wagner Fans, Hello!  it's good to be back posting on this thread.  For the past couple of days I have been listening to Das Rheingold from this set:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uC04S41VL._SS500_.jpg)

  I am shocked because after only hearing Das Rheingold I am starting to prefer this set over Solti's!!!  :o :o :o  Is it just me or does Bohm have a better understanding of Wagner's music than Solti?  I say this because I find that the Bohm set is more "fluid", it  "flows better" than the Solti set!  I do not know if this is the result of it being a live performance vs the "start and stop" affair of a studio recording (Solti)? Anyone here care to comment.

  I am also looking at acquiring my 3rd Ring cycle now and have turned my attention to the KARAJAN SET!  I'd like some feedback on the Karajan set.  They say that it is the most "beautiful" lyrical Ring on record, I am not saying that Wagner's music needs to be so, but if Karajan is able to bring something new to the music of the Ring that would interest me. 

  marvin
  PS: Regarding the Bohm set: my fears about the the allegedly audible prompter  proved to be senseless!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 31, 2011, 08:40:23 AM
I am shocked because after only hearing Das Rheingold I am starting to prefer this set over Solti's!!!  :o :o :o  Is it just me or does Bohm have a better understanding of Wagner's music than Solti?  I say this because I find that the Bohm set is more "fluid", it  "flows better" than the Solti set!  I do not know if this is the result of it being a live performance vs the "start and stop" affair of a studio recording (Solti)? Anyone here care to comment.

  I am also looking at acquiring my 3rd Ring cycle now and have turned my attention to the KARAJAN SET!  I'd like some feedback on the Karajan set.  They say that it is the most "beautiful" lyrical Ring on record, I am not saying that Wagner's music needs to be so, but if Karajan is able to bring something new to the music of the Ring that would interest me.  

  marvin
  PS: Regarding the Bohm set: my fears about the the allegedly audible prompter  proved to be senseless!


So, your fears about the prompter were unfounded... Excellent! What you say about Böhm is correct - you get Wagner in all his exciting immediacy. Solti's and Karajan's cycles are studio recordings, with all the advantages. But the one ingredient they can't score on is the sense of hearing the whole drama unfold in real-time. That said, I love those other sets, too. In Das Rheingold and Siegfried Act I and Act II I prefer Karajan, in Die Walküre, Siegfried Act III and Götterdämmerung Solti.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2011, 11:43:09 AM

So, your fears about the prompter were unfounded... Excellent! What you say about Böhm is correct - you get Wagner in all his exciting immediacy. Solti's and Karajan's cycles are studio recordings, with all the advantages. But the one ingredient they can't score on is the sense of hearing the whole drama unfold in real-time. That said, I love those other sets, too. In Das Rheingold and Siegfried Act I and Act II I prefer Karajan, in Die Walküre, Siegfried Act III and Götterdämmerung Solti.

  Thank you for the feedback Jezetha  :)!!  I have heard that Karajan's Rheingold is one of the many highlights of his cycle. What surprises me is that you prefer Karajan's Siegrfied Act I and II to Solti whereas I consider Solti's Siegfried the highlight of that cycle!!  What is it about Karajan's Siegfried that you prefer over Solti's?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on January 31, 2011, 11:48:55 AM
  Thank you for the feedback Jezetha  :)!!  I have heard that Karajan's Rheingold is one of the many highlights of his cycle. What surprises me is that you prefer Karajan's Siegrfied Act I and II to Solti whereas I consider Solti's Siegfried the highlight of that cycle!!  What is it about Karajan's Siegfried that you prefer over Solti's?

  marvin

Marvin,

Have you also considered Levine's/Met Ring Cycle from the mid-late eighties?  Die Walkure in particular is fantastic!  :)  That being said, overall, I still prefer the Solti Ring.  I think it is unmatched for raw power. 

Are there any other Ring cycles that use an actual steerhorn in Gotterdammerung, like in the Solti Ring?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 31, 2011, 11:50:57 AM
  Thank you for the feedback Jezetha  :) !!  I have heard that Karajan's Rheingold is one of the many highlights of his cycle. What surprises me is that you prefer Karajan's Siegrfied Act I and II to Solti whereas I consider Solti's Siegfried the highlight of that cycle!!  What is it about Karajan's Siegfried that you prefer over Solti's?


I'll be very precise - I prefer Karajan in the Wotan-Erda scene. His Third Act Prelude has a power and majesty which Solti, with his edginess, doesn't (want to) match. BUT I find the duet between Windgassen and Nilsson (Solti) really scorching. Karajan is beautiful, but doesn't raise the roof IMO.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2011, 12:05:20 PM
Marvin,

Have you also considered Levine's/Met Ring Cycle from the mid-late eighties?  Die Walkure in particular is fantastic!  :)  That being said, overall, I still prefer the Solti Ring.  I think it is unmatched for raw power. 

Are there any other Ring cycles that use an actual steerhorn in Gotterdammerung, like in the Solti Ring?

  Hello ChamberNut, yes I do have the Levine Ring but on DVD and enjoy that very much.  I find Levine's recording more lyrical (the MET orchestra certainly shines in bringing out the beauty in Wagner's music) than Solti's approach, sadly though I believe that Solti and Bohm for that matter had a better cast of singers (I say this with all due respect to James Morris and company).  I am discovering that there really is no perfect recording of a colossal work like the Ring!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on January 31, 2011, 12:08:21 PM
I must say I enjoyed watching the Das Rheingold "Copenhagen Ring" DVD.  Very modern production.  How do others view the "Copenhagen Ring"?  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on February 02, 2011, 04:36:46 PM
The Bohm is really good, one of the best for me. The Solti has an awe-inspiring Siegfried and an absolutely incredible Gotterdammerung, in my humble opinion.

For Die Walkure there are so many great choices. The Karajan had a tremendous 1st act...nah, it's all pretty darn good! I like the whole, oddly intimate Karajan set (in fact, the Karajan is, with the Bohm, Solti, and mono Krauss a must buy). The idea of what Karajan did, the way he approached the Ring in his classic recording seemed kind of off putting to me when I first read up on it...and then I heard it. Once you listen to it, it's easy to forget any preconceptions. Fascinating, a great interpretation. I wouldn't make it one "to rule all" though.

For "one" to rule all...the Bohm and the Solti, for two different sides :P.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 02, 2011, 05:36:39 PM
I used to recommend the Solti and the Bohm, but I've become completely bowled over by the new Valencia Ring blurays. It's very good on just about all levels, which is rare in a work this size. And having it on video with subtitles makes getting into the drama easier.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on February 02, 2011, 08:07:06 PM
The Copenhagen Ring cycle is terrific. Highly recommend and enjoyed this modern production.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 03, 2011, 07:19:26 AM
The Bohm is really good, one of the best for me. The Solti has an awe-inspiring Siegfried and an absolutely incredible Gotterdammerung, in my humble opinion.

For Die Walkure there are so many great choices. The Karajan had a tremendous 1st act...nah, it's all pretty darn good! I like the whole, oddly intimate Karajan set (in fact, the Karajan is, with the Bohm, Solti, and mono Krauss a must buy). The idea of what Karajan did, the way he approached the Ring in his classic recording seemed kind of off putting to me when I first read up on it...and then I heard it. Once you listen to it, it's easy to forget any preconceptions. Fascinating, a great interpretation. I wouldn't make it one "to rule all" though.

For "one" to rule all...the Bohm and the Solti, for two different sides :P.

  Hello Andy  :)!

  It pleases me to read that you think highly of Karajan's Ring (a must buy you say??).  Trouble is for every good review I find I also find a discouraging review. So the Karajan Ring has been sitting in my amazon.co.uk basket, languishing there for the past couple of weeks.    From what I have read so far:

  Pros of Karajan's Ring:
  1) Most beautiful Ring on Record
  2) The BPO shine
  3) Karajan is able to find "emotions", "nuances" in the score no other conductor has been able to find.  Not 100% sure what all of this means but it is intriguing.
  4) Studio recording, excellent sound

  Cons of Karajan's Ring:

  1) Too pretty to be dramatic
  2) Less than stellar cast in the title roles (esp. Wotan and Brunhilde)
  3) Tempos a bit sluggish and slow and that decreases the excitement.
  4) The worst one is THIS IS NOT WAGNER'S RING THIS IS KARAJAN'S RING!


 My heart is into buying it but the flesh.......the flesh is weak (I just can't get my index finger to click the proceed to checkout button).  Maybe Sarge (Karajan's Ring is his favorite Ring), you and Jezetha need to come over and slap some sense into me  $:) $:)!!

  OH I JUST CAN'T MAKE UP MY MIND............ :-\!

  marvin

   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2011, 07:31:10 AM
BUY!!! The Descent into Nibelheim, e.g., is the most thrilling there is (for me). You can listen for yourself on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXxr44gh0U (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXxr44gh0U)


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 03, 2011, 08:35:08 AM
BUY!!! The Descent into Nibelheim, e.g., is the most thrilling there is (for me).

The end of Rheingold, too, is just tremendous in the Karajan. Those Berlin horns even outshine Vienna's.

 

Cons of Karajan's Ring:

  1) Too pretty to be dramatic
  2) Less than stellar cast in the title roles (esp. Wotan and Brunhilde)
  3) Tempos a bit sluggish and slow and that decreases the excitement.


My heart is into buying it but the flesh.......the flesh is weak (I just can't get my index finger to click the proceed to checkout button).  Maybe Sarge (Karajan's Ring is his favorite Ring), you and Jezetha need to come over and slap some sense into me  $:) $:)!!

The "too pretty to be dramatic" criticism is bullshit. Gorgeous it is but when power is called for Karajan delivers. I think no one has a more "dramatic" end to Act I Walküre than Janowitz, Vickers and Karajan. Karajan may not be quite as overwhelming as Solti in some instances but, hey, power ain't the be all end all of the Ring. You notice Wagner is actually stingy with his "big" moments.

Dernesch is a tremendous Brunnhilde, softer, more feminine, more womanly, than Nilsson with a tone of voice that appeals more to me. If Stewart is not among my favorite Wotans (those would be Fischer-Dieskau in Karajan's Rheingold, and Tomlinson in Barenboim's Ring) he's still very good and I prefer his more youthful voice to Hotter's old fart Wotan for Solti. The real weak link in the Karajan Ring is Jess Thomas's Siegfried but over the years I've come to appreciate his take on the character too.

Tempo...yeah, Karajan can be slow but not excessively slow. He's no Goodall or Knappertsbusch. Still, I prefer Bohm's tempos, and Krauss's.

4) The worst one is THIS IS NOT WAGNER'S RING THIS IS KARAJAN'S RING!

And Solti's Ring is not Wagner's Ring, it's Culshaw's Ring ;D

Marvin, have you heard Böhm's Ride of the Valkyries yet? Best ever!

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 03, 2011, 09:07:04 AM
 

  Hello There Sarge!  Yes of course I just finished Die Walkure last night and it blew me away!  The Ride of the Vikings is dripping with excitement and adrenaline!  I am much preferring the Bohm Ring to Solti and I have said this a few times as I am working my way through Bohm's Ring and comparing it to Solti's. 

  Back to Karajan, I much appreciate your and Jezetha's responses.  I will eventually buy it that I am sure, I know myself.  But because it is going to cost me a little under £70 (it's not cheap Sarge!)  I just wanted that extra nudge.  I will say this though I adore Karajan's Parsifal and worship his Die Meistersinger.  There are passages of shear beauty in Karajan's Die Meistersinger.  It is that beauty that I am expecting to find in the Ring and it is that beauty that is pushing me to buy his Ring Cycle. 

  I will let everyone know once I have pulled the trigger on this set.  For tonight though I shall listen to Bohm's Siegfried!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2011, 10:05:07 AM
Enjoy your Siegfried! As for Karajan's Parsifal and Meistersinger, they are firm favourites with me, too...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kaergaard on February 03, 2011, 10:28:59 AM
And Solti's Ring is not Wagner's Ring, it's Culshaw's Ring ;D

Amen to that; have been harping about it all the time: It's not a performance, it's an electronically manufactured best seller!

But to the topic, which expresses one's personal taste only, since Karajan and Böhm we were fortunate to have many other Ring productions to enjoy, accept or reject. Among my favourites to rule is The Copenhagen Ring; Kasper Bech Holten's fresh and new conception is thought-provoking and challenging, putting the moss brains back under their rocks.

But then there is The Valencia Ring, with stunning performances by the La Fura Dels Baus group, and of course great singer-actors in the regular cast.

A third: The Netherlandse, with Rydl's stunning Hagen interpretation.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 03, 2011, 10:30:22 AM
Back to Karajan, I much appreciate your and Jezetha's responses.  I will eventually buy it that I am sure, I know myself.  But because it is going to cost me a little under £70 (it's not cheap Sarge!)  I just wanted that extra nudge.  I will say this though I adore Karajan's Parsifal and worship his Die Meistersinger.  There are passages of shear beauty in Karajan's Die Meistersinger.  It is that beauty that I am expecting to find in the Ring and it is that beauty that is pushing me to buy his Ring Cycle. 

I think Karajan's studio performance is the best, but I have problems with the audio.  Some places where there is distortion in the voices, and generally the orchestra sound not as opulent as it could be.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on February 03, 2011, 11:24:51 AM
Karajan's tempo can also be way too quick sometimes: not really on-topic but he conducts Parsifal way too fast at some points, especially with Grail motive, which is supposed to be slow and solemn.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2011, 11:34:52 AM
Karajan's tempo can also be way too quick sometimes: not really on-topic but he conducts Parsifal way too fast at some points, especially with Grail motive, which is supposed to be slow and solemn.


Isn't it a fact that Wagner's motifs are pliable entities, which can be stretched, shortened, slowed down and speeded up, harmonically changed, melodically altered et cetera? Where in Parsifal do you think Karajan chooses a wrong tempo? (No rush! But I am interested.)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 03, 2011, 11:55:53 AM
Karajan's tempo can also be way too quick sometimes: not really on-topic but he conducts Parsifal way too fast at some points, especially with Grail motive, which is supposed to be slow and solemn.

I don't find that to be true.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 03, 2011, 10:02:11 PM
Err....the one Ring that's been 'forgotten by them all', yet fully deserving wider acclaim, is this wonderfully spirited live Bavarian Ring from Sawallisch. Sparkling sound rounds out a front runner that has sadly never seemed to make any headway on GMG. Shame. Doesn't help that it's now OOP.   




(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DfHxIDbqL._SS400_.jpg)



Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on February 03, 2011, 11:50:55 PM
Although I don't know it, the Baremboim Ring is also supposed to have a lot of merits.

It is good to read so much praise for Karajan. I seem to recall getting shouted down in the old site whenever I said how much I enjoyed some of his Wagner. I would never part with his Gotterdammerung and find the combination of the lyrical and dramatic to be exactly to my taste. I love Dernsch, fresh and feminine and we even get Janowitz in another Wagner role that fits her well. I also take well to Helge Brilioth. His scene with the Rhine maidens is just beautiful and I am wedded to the drama of the scenes where Brunhilde curses her errant lover and later the call of the vassals, wonderful horn playing and such open forward sound. The end of the opera is overwhelming.

I have his Walkure, much as I enjoy Act 1, except for a mauled Wintersturme, I have never been a fan of Crespin. But there is a lot to enjoy and at least she does not sound dry and over stressed as do so many newer models do.

And another resounding endorsement for the Copenhagen Ring, intelligent and engrossing. Very well sung and played...and conducted. Highly recommended.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 04, 2011, 04:48:40 AM
BUY!!! The Descent into Nibelheim, e.g., is the most thrilling there is (for me). You can listen for yourself on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXxr44gh0U (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXxr44gh0U)

  Spellbinding Jezetha! The scene where Alberich becomes invisible and wollups Mime with the wip sent shivers down my spine.  It is a real shame Karajan was not able to complete the cycle on DVD!

   I take it that in the youtube clip you posted above the audio was from the CD recording of Karajan's Ring?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 04, 2011, 04:49:47 AM
Err....the one Ring that's been 'forgotten by them all', yet fully deserving wider acclaim, is this wonderfully spirited live Bavarian Ring from Sawallisch. Sparkling sound rounds out a front runner that has sadly never seemed to make any headway on GMG. Shame. Doesn't help that it's now OOP.   




(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DfHxIDbqL._SS400_.jpg)

  I am ashamed to say that Ihave not even heard of this Ring cycle....and now it is out of print  :(!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 04, 2011, 04:53:15 AM
  Spellbinding Jezetha! The scene where Alberich becomes invisible and wollups Mime with the wip sent shivers down my spine.  It is a real shame Karajan was not able to complete the cycle on DVD!

   I take it that in the youtube clip you posted above the audio was from the CD recording of Karajan's Ring?

No. But this is the sound you'll be getting. (The Wotan is Thomas Stewart, if I'm listening correctly, not the Fischer-Dieskau of the CD recording). Btw - I personally think that the Descent into Nibelheim marks the moment Wagner becomes WAGNER, the power of it is extraordinary and surpasses anything he had done so far.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Harry on February 04, 2011, 05:24:43 AM
I am so happy, I am not ruled by Wagner, in fact I have no single work of him in my collection.....anymore.  ;D ;D ;D ;D 8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on February 04, 2011, 05:48:34 AM

Isn't it a fact that Wagner's motifs are pliable entities, which can be stretched, shortened, slowed down and speeded up, harmonically changed, melodically altered et cetera? Where in Parsifal do you think Karajan chooses a wrong tempo? (No rush! But I am interested.)

Especially in Act I following Gurnemanz's words "Nun achte wohl und lasst mich sehn" etc. until Titurel's words "Mein Sohn Amfortas". Not all the time though. This is just my personal taste because rushing in Parsifal IMO kind of kills the atmosphere. Not saying that Karajan's Parsifal recordings are bad, not at all!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 04, 2011, 06:15:20 AM
Err....the one Ring that's been 'forgotten by them all', yet fully deserving wider acclaim, is this wonderfully spirited live Bavarian Ring from Sawallisch. Sparkling sound rounds out a front runner that has sadly never seemed to make any headway on GMG. Shame. Doesn't help that it's now OOP.   




(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DfHxIDbqL._SS400_.jpg)

I think it was also released on video tape, but no DVD version.   :(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 04, 2011, 06:32:39 AM
I am so happy, I am not ruled by Wagner, in fact I have no single work of him in my collection.....anymore.  ;D ;D ;D ;D 8)

Mentioning his absence means the man still has a grip...  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 04, 2011, 10:05:42 AM
  I am ashamed to say that Ihave not even heard of this Ring cycle....and now it is out of print  :(!

I think it was also released on video tape, but no DVD version.   :(

Yes, originally a VHS release that actually won the Gramophone video award for 1989!

I do have to give kudos to EMI for actually standing behind this production and keeping it in circulation (mostly on CD) for so long (until just recently), which is understandable given the high quality of the performances. But I suppose with such a high profile (and expensive) Ring from Haitink already taking up much of EMI's marketing machine it's inevitable Sawallisch would be muscled aside.

I used to own Haitink's Siegfried but for my money the quality of Sawallisch easily justifies it's existence. If only it were lavished with comparable marketing dollars. 

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 05, 2011, 02:23:23 PM

  Back to Karajan, I much appreciate your and Jezetha's responses.  I will eventually buy it that I am sure, I know myself.  But because it is going to cost me a little under £70 (it's not cheap Sarge!)

karajan's Rheingold is the best of his cycle, with the only drawback being the relatively lightweight Wotan of Fischer Dieskau. However, you can have your cake and eat it too if you get the DVD of Rheingold by Karajan from the Saltzberg festival. Better Wotan, great staging, good sound- that strange multi-miked sound that Katajan favored, but not as extreme as on the studio version..

Karajan's Ring was my first, but since I've heard more, the Rheingold is thenonly one in that cycle that I keep coming back to. My dream Ring is cobbled from several sets

Rheingold- Karajan video
Walkure- Act 1 Walter VPO, the rest either Bohm or Leinsdorf
Siegfried- Either Goodall or Janowski
Götterdämmerung- Solti

Favorite historical Ring- Furtwangler LaScala

But, overall... I think the best single Ring is the Mehta Valencia Ring. Its only drawback is the appearance of some of the singers, but that goes with the territory.

Sawallisch's Ring is good, but it doesn't have many unique qualities. Haitink's Ring is boring... a real trick with music this exciting and passionate.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 05, 2011, 02:34:32 PM
karajan's Rheingold is the best of his cycle, with the only drawback being the relatively lightweight Wotan of Fischer Dieskau. However, you can have your cake and eat it too if you get the DVD of Rheingold by Karajan from the Saltzberg festival. Better Wotan...


By the sound of it (watching the YouTube clip) it was Thomas Stewart? Though I like Fischer Dieskau in the Wotan role. His young-ish voice fits the youthful, impetuous Wotan of Das Rheingold, IMO.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on February 06, 2011, 01:53:11 AM
I agree. Fischer-Dieskau was awesome Wotan. He is one of those very few baritones/bass-baritones whose voice fits in every single role. And he was awesome conductor as well! He looks still youthful for over 80-year old when looking at latest photos of him.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 07, 2011, 03:01:55 AM
karajan's Rheingold is the best of his cycle, with the only drawback being the relatively lightweight Wotan of Fischer Dieskau. However, you can have your cake and eat it too if you get the DVD of Rheingold by Karajan from the Saltzberg festival. Better Wotan, great staging, good sound- that strange multi-miked sound that Katajan favored, but not as extreme as on the studio version..

Karajan's Ring was my first, but since I've heard more, the Rheingold is thenonly one in that cycle that I keep coming back to. My dream Ring is cobbled from several sets

Rheingold- Karajan video
Walkure- Act 1 Walter VPO, the rest either Bohm or Leinsdorf
Siegfried- Either Goodall or Janowski
Götterdämmerung- Solti

Favorite historical Ring- Furtwangler LaScala

But, overall... I think the best single Ring is the Mehta Valencia Ring. Its only drawback is the appearance of some of the singers, but that goes with the territory.

Sawallisch's Ring is good, but it doesn't have many unique qualities. Haitink's Ring is boring... a real trick with music this exciting and passionate.

  That is not very encouraging bigshot  8)!!  I respect your point of view that to get the "best" Ring available one might have to  mix and match to suit one's taste, but to only be drawn to Karajan's Das Rheingold does not speak well of the entire cycle.  Do you not find any redeeming qualities in Karajan's other three operas (The Viking, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods)?? Or were you meeting me halfway on my comment about the Karajan cycle's rather hefty price?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 07, 2011, 08:09:01 AM
Do you not find any redeeming qualities in Karajan's other three operas (The Viking, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods)??

 
 Emotions must be running high for you to change a Valkyrie into a Viking! But don't be discouraged - there is a lot to admire in the Karajan cycle!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 07, 2011, 10:46:18 AM
After about thirty or forty Rings, it's very hard to pick one all the way through. It's a massive undertaking and there are bound to be compromises here and there. The only Rings I have that come close to fitting that bill are Solti, Bohm and the new video Ring by Mehta. (there is a live recording of Rita Hunter and Alberto Remedios singing the Ring in English in Seattle that is a great unified whole too, but it is only available from Hunter's family on CD-R.) Karajan was my first Ring and the orchestral playing in Rheingold is fantastic, particularly the descent into Nibelheim as someone already mentioned. But I really don't think I'd ever go back to listen to the rest all the way through. There are flaws in the cast, Karajan's orchestral balances and textures are weird, and the energy level droops at times, especially in the long monologues.

Do you have any Rings already? Is you already have a few of the major ones, then Karajan is a fine alternative.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 07, 2011, 03:30:38 PM

 
 Emotions must be running high for you to change a Valkyrie into a Viking! But don't be discouraged - there is a lot to admire in the Karajan cycle!

  I always get emotional when I buy Wagner, I just can't help it  :)!!  Doing the research can sometimes be agonizing but it can also be fun!  I took a gamble on the Bohm Ring and I was blown away, I love it when that happens  :D.

After about thirty or forty Rings, it's very hard to pick one all the way through. It's a massive undertaking and there are bound to be compromises here and there. The only Rings I have that come close to fitting that bill are Solti, Bohm and the new video Ring by Mehta. (there is a live recording of Rita Hunter and Alberto Remedios singing the Ring in English in Seattle that is a great unified whole too, but it is only available from Hunter's family on CD-R.) Karajan was my first Ring and the orchestral playing in Rheingold is fantastic, particularly the descent into Nibelheim as someone already mentioned. But I really don't think I'd ever go back to listen to the rest all the way through. There are flaws in the cast, Karajan's orchestral balances and textures are weird, and the energy level droops at times, especially in the long monologues.

Do you have any Rings already? Is you already have a few of the major ones, then Karajan is a fine alternative.

  Thank you for your response, I have Solti's Ring, Bohm's Ring and Levine on DVD (I am a bit of a traditionalist I can't help it) and long ago I had Furtwangler's RAI.  From what others are telling me and what I have read Karajan's Ring seems to be a fine alternative and a contrast to the styles of Solti and Bohm.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 07, 2011, 11:35:30 PM
It's definitely different. Goodall and Knappertsbusch would be nice alternatives too. I was a traditionalist too until I saw the Valencia Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 10:17:25 AM
It's definitely different. Goodall and Knappertsbusch would be nice alternatives too. I was a traditionalist too until I saw the Valencia Ring.

I was an avant-guard-ist until I saw the Valencia Ring...   :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 09, 2011, 03:08:36 PM
Nice to see you're making progress!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 21, 2011, 07:05:48 AM

  Hello Wagner fans!  It's marvin again  ::).......... ;D! Anyway, last night I was "fiddling" around on youtube and I came across this:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj64jhy1swc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj64jhy1swc)
 
  I wanted to post it for your enjoyment (or lack thereof??) I am guessing this is from the Keilberth 1955 set from Bayreuth!  It is stunning but way too expensive for my meager wallet  :(. amazon.co.uk have it retailed at £100 including shipping  :o :o :o!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on February 21, 2011, 08:27:09 AM
The end of Rheingold, too, is just tremendous in the Karajan. Those Berlin horns even outshine Vienna's.

The "too pretty to be dramatic" criticism is bullshit. Gorgeous it is but when power is called for Karajan delivers. I think no one has a more "dramatic" end to Act I Walküre than Janowitz, Vickers and Karajan. Karajan may not be quite as overwhelming as Solti in some instances but, hey, power ain't the be all end all of the Ring. You notice Wagner is actually stingy with his "big" moments.

Dernesch is a tremendous Brunnhilde, softer, more feminine, more womanly, than Nilsson with a tone of voice that appeals more to me. If Stewart is not among my favorite Wotans (those would be Fischer-Dieskau in Karajan's Rheingold, and Tomlinson in Barenboim's Ring) he's still very good and I prefer his more youthful voice to Hotter's old fart Wotan for Solti. The real weak link in the Karajan Ring is Jess Thomas's Siegfried but over the years I've come to appreciate his take on the character too.

Tempo...yeah, Karajan can be slow but not excessively slow. He's no Goodall or Knappertsbusch. Still, I prefer Bohm's tempos, and Krauss's.

And Solti's Ring is not Wagner's Ring, it's Culshaw's Ring ;D

Marvin, have you heard Böhm's Ride of the Valkyries yet? Best ever!

Sarge

I agree with all this, except my favorite Ride is the Solti.

If it weren't for the Boulez act 1 of Die Walkure, I would pick the Karajan performance of that act above any of the others. I find the singers in that Karajan performance to be exemplary in their interpretation, adore the production, everything. In each opera of the Karajan Ring cycle, I find highlights, and I especially agree with Sarge about Gotterdammerung.

In order the essentials for me are the Solti, Bohm, Karajan, and the Krauss for a mono. Well, the Furtwangler is certainly worth getting as well. I haven't heard many more recent Rings. The Copenhagen was good, but I'll probably never own that. I have the Levine on dvd, but haven't heard to much of the studio. I'm still considering that one, as i haven't heard much about it, and I'm mostly happy owning the ones I've already mentioned.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on April 30, 2011, 08:39:04 AM


  Wagner fans, I just spent the past 2 days listening to the first two installments of the Karajan Ring Cycle (Das Rheingold and Die Walkure). This set:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51609G6GRVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

  I found myself having mixed feelings about Karajan's take on Wagner's masterpiece (sorry Sarge- please forgive  0:)).  The orchestral passages (Wotan's Farewell for example) sounded sublimely beautiful, glossy, polished.  However coming off of Solti and Bohm's Ring I found the Karajan Ring seriously lacking in gravity and tension.  I need some aggression, and a lot of gravity in Wagner and it took my ears quite some time to get used to Karajan's more "docile" approach. I kept saying to myself something's missing, the voices and too light etc. etc.   On the whole, I can not say that I am a fan.   

  This set is going to take me some time to appreciate, repeated listening will be necessary.  Tomorrow I shall tackle Karajan's Siegfried....wish me luck!

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2011, 11:31:31 AM
I found myself having mixed feelings about Karajan's take on Wagner's masterpiece (sorry Sarge- please forgive  0:)).

Nothing to forgive, Marvin. I can't predict how anyone will react to performances I love and I don't get upset when someone doesn't agree with me.  I'm just sorry it's disappointed you.

Quote
Tomorrow I shall tackle Karajan's Siegfried....wish me luck!

Since I think Siegfried is the wink link in the Karajan cycle, I don't expect it will change your mind. But stranger things have happened  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 30, 2011, 11:59:25 AM
Since I think Siegfried is the weak link in the Karajan cycle, I don't expect it will change your mind. But stranger things have happened.

I have always liked it...  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2011, 12:01:45 PM
I have always liked it...  ;)


I knows it  :D  (a quote from my favorite Our Gang character)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 30, 2011, 12:08:04 PM

I knows it  (a quote from my favorite Our Gang character)


 :D

If Marvin isn't blown away by the grandeur of the Prologue of the Third Act, I'll be wishing for 'Das Ende! Das Ende!' with Wotan.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on April 30, 2011, 01:18:26 PM
Nothing to forgive, Marvin. I can't predict how anyone will react to performances I love and I don't get upset when someone doesn't agree with me.  I'm just sorry it's disappointed you.

Since I think Siegfried is the wink link in the Karajan cycle, I don't expect it will change your mind. But stranger things have happened  :D

Sarge


  I wouldn't necessarily say it dissapointed me Sarge. It is a completely different interpretation to what I am used to, so it will remain a valuable addition to my Wagner collection  :).  My tastes have been known to change over time  :D!!

  marvin
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on May 01, 2011, 06:28:09 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQU7QpUS9uo

Watch this clip from Sofia opera of Das Rheingold.  Fathner and Fasolt are brought in on a mini JCB and it looks like the killing scene is done with a golf club?  I like the Rhine maidens bouncing on the trampoline. Looks fun.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 01, 2011, 11:15:03 AM


  I am almost midway through Karajan's Siegfried and I love it!!!  Siegfried has forged Notung and has left to the East Forest with Mime.  Alberich and Wotan are arguing it out outside Fafner's lair....wow what spectacular playing by the BPO!  Is it me or has Karajan picked up the pace with Siegfried?  Where was this much needed tension in Die Walkure? 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 01, 2011, 11:19:57 AM

  I am almost midway through Karajan's Siegfried and I love it!!!  Siegfried has forged Notung and has left to the East Forest with Mime.  Alberich and Wotan are arguing it out outside Fafner's lair....wow what spectacular playing by the BPO!  Is it me or has Karajan picked up the pace with Siegfried?  Where was this much needed tension in Die Walkure? 

  marvin


YES!!  :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 01, 2011, 11:26:29 AM
I like the Karajan, in fact I consider Act One of Die Walkure and portions of Siegfried and Gotterdammerung to be among the best. I notice though that I don't play it that often, I'm almost always playing the Solti, or watching the Boulez and Levine.

I actually break out the Furtwangler and Bohm far more.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 03, 2011, 11:08:10 AM
  I just finished listening to Karajan's Gotterdammerung......one word GORGEOUS!!   Karajan's Gotterdammerung is the most beautiful Gotterdammerung I have ever heard. I will have to revisit Karajan's Die Walkure for a 2nd listen.

I like the Karajan, in fact I consider Act One of Die Walkure and portions of Siegfried and Gotterdammerung to be among the best. I notice though that I don't play it that often, I'm almost always playing the Solti, or watching the Boulez and Levine.

I actually break out the Furtwangler and Bohm far more.

  Hi Andy, I can see how addictive Solti's ring can be.  After donating my Furtwangler RAI Ring ( I could no longer tolerate the poor sound on the Furtwangler), I feasted on the Solti set for years......until I discovered Bohm's live recording from Bayreuth!!  On the whole I prefer Bohm's Ring to Solti's which really surprised me.  My favorite Rings are (in order of preference):

  1) Bohm
  2) Solti
  3) Karajan and Levine (DVD  ;))  (tie)
  4) Furtwangler RAI

  There is one other Ring that I would love to hear......... KEILBERTH 1955!  I am still waiting for its price to drop.......will it ever??  >:(

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 03, 2011, 11:58:14 AM
  I just finished listening to Karajan's Gotterdammerung......one word GORGEOUS!!   Karajan's Gotterdammerung is the most beautiful Gotterdammerung I have ever heard. I will have to revisit Karajan's Die Walkure for a 2nd listen.

  Hi Andy, I can see how addictive Solti's ring can be.  After donating my Furtwangler RAI Ring ( I could no longer tolerate the poor sound on the Furtwangler), I feasted on the Solti set for years......until I discovered Bohm's live recording from Bayreuth!!  On the whole I prefer Bohm's Ring to Solti's which really surprised me.  My favorite Rings are (in order of preference):

  1) Bohm
  2) Solti
  3) Karajan and Levine (DVD  ;))  (tie)
  4) Furtwangler RAI

  There is one other Ring that I would love to hear......... KEILBERTH 1955!  I am still waiting for its price to drop.......will it ever??  >:(

  marvin

 

Hi Marvin, great to hear from you!

Oh, the Bohm Bayreuth is an amazing Ring. I love the tempo choices in particular. I think Bohm really put his personal stamp on that production. The Karajan is fantastic, I love how the subtleties seem to stand out a bit more in that set. The Siegfried is quite good too.

I haven't checked out the Karajan dvd yet, and I know I really should. It's just that I already have so many Rings, my girl isn't wild about the fact (laughing).

From the one time I heard it, the Keilberth Walkure is outstanding. I'm curious as to the rest.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 03, 2011, 07:54:06 PM
No Act 1 of Die Walkure has ever matched Walter's with the VPO and Melchior, Lehmann and List. It's probably the greatest recording of Wagner period.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 04, 2011, 03:17:44 AM
I am almost midway through Karajan's Siegfried and I love it!!!

 :o

So miracles do happen  ;D

Seriously, I'm glad you're enjoying it. I have only one reason to call it the weak link (and it has nothing to do with Karajan, the Berlin Phil or most of the cast): it's the relative weakness of Jess Thomas in the title role. Vocally Mime blows him out of the water. However, I've made my peace with him by thinking how Siegfried at this point is still in diapers, metaphorically speaking, with Mime the smarter, more powerful and dangerous character. In fact, if not for a little birdie, and the magic Siegfried employs, Mime would surely have gotten his hands on the Ring.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 04, 2011, 03:33:19 AM
No Act 1 of Die Walkure has ever matched Walter's with the VPO and Melchior, Lehmann and List. It's probably the greatest recording of Wagner period.

That's the conventional wisdom. However, I think Karajan's Act I is even better. Vickers brings more depth and anguish to the character, Janowitz is simply gorgeous sounding (now there's a woman I'd even consider committing incest with  ;D ), and Karajan and Berlin play the hell out of scene three. Sure Melchior is thrilling vocally but the way Vickers sings that final line about Blut, with a fatalism that is incredibly chilling, is staggering. Gets my vote, anyway, for the single most impressive Wagner moment...period. (That's not to say I'd ever give up my Walter recording  ;) )

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 04, 2011, 04:49:40 AM
That's the conventional wisdom. However, I think Karajan's Act I is even better. Vickers brings more depth and anguish to the character, Janowitz is simply gorgeous sounding (now there's a woman I'd even consider committing incest with  ;D ), and Karajan and Berlin play the hell out of scene three. Sure Melchior is thrilling vocally but the way Vickers sings that final line about Blut, with a fatalism that is incredibly chilling, is staggering. Gets my vote, anyway, for the single most impressive Wagner moment...period. (That's not to say I'd ever give up my Walter recording  ;) )

Sarge


The Walter is terrific, but I have to give the Karajan the nod. Not just for the amazing singers, but the conducting and overall sound in the orchestra. Of course, the last might have just as much to do with the recording.

I am also a massive fan of the Boulez Act I of Walkure, looks like it's a bit underrated around here. Great to watch and listen to.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 04, 2011, 05:08:10 AM
Hey guys, I want to know what you think is the most "kick ass" Prelude to Act I of Die Walkure (the birthplace of Heavy Metal!)?

I love Levine's/Met and Solti's/WP version of this Prelude.

Also, who has the most ominous, eerie sounding Prelude to Act II of Siegfried, in your minds?

As well, besides Solti/WP, does any other Ring recording use actual "steer horns" in Gotterdammerung?

Cheers, Ring fans!   8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 04, 2011, 05:15:30 AM
Hey guys, I want to know what you think is the most "kick ass" Prelude to Act I of Die Walkure (the birthplace of Heavy Metal!)?

I love Levine's/Met and Solti's/WP version of this Prelude.

Also, who has the most ominous, eerie sounding Prelude to Act II of Siegfried, in your minds?

As well, besides Solti/WP, does any other Ring recording use actual "steer horns" in Gotterdammerung?

Cheers, Ring fans!   8)

For me, the Prelude to Act I of Tannhauser was the real beginning of Metal. I also think it's the heaviest piece of music ever written. Just my opinion. I was listening to the Bayreuth Lohengrin dvd recently and was struck by how "Metal" Act II sounded, super heavy.

If you're looking for a heavy version of Act I of Die Walkure, you're on the right road with Solti and Levine.

I thought the Levine Siegfried Act II Prelude was pretty darn creepy.

I'm not sure about the steer horns. That's actually a really cool question, now I'm curious.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 04, 2011, 05:17:42 AM
For me, the Prelude to Act I of Tannhauser was the real beginning of Metal. I also think it's the heaviest piece of music ever written. Just my opinion.


Well then, I will have to listen to Tannhauser, as I don't believe I have ever heard that opera yet, or at least I've only heard small excerpts of it.  Do you have a recording recommendation, Andy?   8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 04, 2011, 05:25:13 AM
I just might listen me up some Wagner today . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 04, 2011, 05:27:25 AM
I just might listen me up some Wagner today . . . .

Time to pull out that Cube, Karl!  8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 04, 2011, 05:27:54 AM
Well then, I will have to listen to Tannhauser, as I don't believe I have ever heard that opera yet, or at least I've only heard small excerpts of it.  Do you have a recording recommendation, Andy?   8)


Oh YEAH! It's best just to grab this bad boy for now (super cheap and well worth every last cent)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 04, 2011, 05:31:01 AM

Oh YEAH! It's best just to grab this bad boy for now (super cheap and well worth every last cent)



Oooh, that does look tantalizing, especially since it's Solti/WP.  I'm just waiting and praying for a miracle that someday the Solti/WP Ring will find it's way into the "Super Duper Cheap Bargain Thread".

Yeah, I know......keep on dreamin'.  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on May 04, 2011, 05:32:43 AM
I second Andy's rec, that's a good twofer. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 04, 2011, 05:33:37 AM
I second Andy's rec, that's a good twofer. :)

Oh man, I'm SO a huge fan of the "twofers"!   :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: The new erato on May 04, 2011, 09:05:16 AM
Oooh, that does look tantalizing, especially since it's Solti/WP.  I'm just waiting and praying for a miracle that someday the Solti/WP Ring will find it's way into the "Super Duper Cheap Bargain Thread".

Yeah, I know......keep on dreamin'.  ;D
Or into a twofer. That would save me a lot of time.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on May 04, 2011, 06:13:32 PM
I have the Solti twofer and don't much like it, although I like what I've heard of his Ring. My impression of it was hard-edged and superficial. I am waiting for my Klemperer twofer to arrive!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 04, 2011, 06:27:08 PM
I have the Solti twofer and don't much like it, although I like what I've heard of his Ring. My impression of it was hard-edged and superficial. I am waiting for my Klemperer twofer to arrive!

I had the same impression.  It is one of those CDs I keep around because it should be good, and I know that if I sell it off, I'll find myself buying it again.  For overtures, I enjoy the Bohm collection.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on May 04, 2011, 06:59:41 PM
Does anyone else have the Klemperer twofer on EMI?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 05, 2011, 03:02:35 AM
Does anyone else have the Klemperer twofer on EMI?

I do. Excellent Walter Legge production, Klemperer exhibiting all his virtues and few of his faults (some might think the Meistersinger Prelude is a bit stodgy: I find it majestic). Along with Szell's two discs, Klemperer's is my favorite set of bleeding chunks. Like you and the Baron, I don't much care for the Solti.



Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 05, 2011, 03:57:24 AM
I do. Excellent Walter Legge production, Klemperer exhibiting all his virtues and few of his faults (some might think the Meistersinger Prelude is a bit stodgy: I find it majestic). Along with Szell's two discs, Klemperer's is my favorite set of bleeding chunks. Like you and the Baron, I don't much care for the Solti.


Agreement here. And Klemperer's Meistersinger Prelude is my favourite performance...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 08:01:59 AM
What is the feeling about the Goodall/ENO Ring Cycle - in English?

I don't know it, did not even know of it until your query here . . . I like an ENO English recording of Duke Bluebeard's Castle, so I am interested.

Quote from: Leon
If it could be found (Chandos has it listed as unavilavailable, as does Amazon), I might be interested.  Reviews say it is one of the slowest recorded performances . . . .

You're talking four evenings, so what's our hurry? ; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 05, 2011, 08:48:10 AM
I don't know it, did not even know of it until your query here . . . I like an ENO English recording of Duke Bluebeard's Castle, so I am interested.

In Wagner, failing to understand the words can be a distinct advantage.   :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 09:02:06 AM
In Wagner, failing to understand the words can be a distinct advantage.   :)

OTOH, with so much potential for tedium, why lose opportunities for amusement? ; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 05, 2011, 09:16:42 AM
OTOH, with so much potential for tedium, why lose opportunities for amusement? ; )

You can fill in your own lyrics.  During Wotan's enormous soliloquy in Walkure I image he's complaining about his spear.  "Boy this one was expensive.  They tried to sell me on the 4 meter model, but the 3 meter version is much better for hand-to-hand combat.  And always go for the ash spear, they'll try to convince you to get one of those modern aluminum spears, but boy will your hands sting if you plant that in someone's bronze breast-plate.  Whatever you do don't get walnut, looks good but man is it heavy.  Try to battle a Niebelungen with that thing, they'll run behind you before you can even pivot with one of those walnut spears..."
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 05, 2011, 09:22:49 AM
During Wotan's enormous soliloquy in Walkure I image he's complaining about his spear.

The sure fire way to tell if you are a true Wagnerite: Do you believe Walküre Act II is the heart of the Ring? If the answer is yes, then you become a member of the inner circle. If no...well, you're just a pathetic poser  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brewski on May 05, 2011, 09:24:47 AM
You can fill in your own lyrics.  During Wotan's enormous soliloquy in Walkure I image he's complaining about his spear.  "Boy this one was expensive.  They tried to sell me on the 4 meter model, but the 3 meter version is much better for hand-to-hand combat.  And always go for the ash spear, they'll try to convince you to get one of those modern aluminum spears, but boy will your hands sting if you plant that in someone's bronze breast-plate.  Whatever you do don't get walnut, looks good but man is it heavy.  Try to battle a Niebelungen with that thing, they'll run behind you before you can even pivot with one of those walnut spears..."

 ;D  Love it...

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on May 05, 2011, 09:27:11 AM
Yeah I think I would call that post of the day, perhaps post of the week. :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 09:30:48 AM
The sure fire way to tell if you are a true Wagnerite: Do you believe Walküre Act II is the heart of the Ring?

If it's performed in scat, sure . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 05, 2011, 09:49:54 AM
You can fill in your own lyrics.  During Wotan's enormous soliloquy in Walkure I image he's complaining about his spear.  "Boy this one was expensive.  They tried to sell me on the 4 meter model, but the 3 meter version is much better for hand-to-hand combat.  And always go for the ash spear, they'll try to convince you to get one of those modern aluminum spears, but boy will your hands sting if you plant that in someone's bronze breast-plate.  Whatever you do don't get walnut, looks good but man is it heavy.  Try to battle a Niebelungen with that thing, they'll run behind you before you can even pivot with one of those walnut spears..."


You got the gist of it all right.


 :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on May 05, 2011, 04:27:41 PM
Currently resisting a "Kill da wabbit" joke...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 05, 2011, 09:28:59 PM
I have the Goodall Ring and it is very good. The rhinemaiden music is the only part that really suffers from the slow tempo. Alberto Remedios is a great heldentenor and Rita Hunter is one of my favorite Brunnies. Being able to understand the words is a distinct advantage. The long narratives and back and forth dialogue that can seem tedious come alive when you can understand the words. The first half of Siegfried is a whole lot easier to take, and the humor is brought out. Porter's translation is very sensitive to lining up musical accents andwords properly. It's deceptive in its apparent simplicity.

There is a live Ring radio broadcast from Seattle with Remedios and Hunter that is available on CDR from Rita Hunter's website that is electrifying.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 05, 2011, 11:46:45 PM
What is the feeling about the Goodall/ENO Ring Cycle - in English?

If it could be found (Chandos has it listed as unavilavailable, as does Amazon), I might be interested.  Reviews say it is one of the slowest recorded performances but still many consider this Ring one of the best.

I have the Goodall Ring and it is very good. The rhinemaiden music is the only part that really suffers from the slow tempo. Alberto Remedios is a great heldentenor and Rita Hunter is one of my favorite Brunnies. Being able to understand the words is a distinct advantage. The long narratives and back and forth dialogue that can seem tedious come alive when you can understand the words. The first half of Siegfried is a whole lot easier to take, and the humor is brought out. Porter's translation is very sensitive to lining up musical accents andwords properly. It's deceptive in its apparent simplicity.

There is a live Ring radio broadcast from Seattle with Remedios and Hunter that is available on CDR from Rita Hunter's website that is electrifying.


    Wagner in English???  :o  Yes I suppose one can argue that English is a "Germanic" language but Wagner?? in English??   I'd say the essence of Wagner has be destroyed!  Wagner spent years writing the words to his music dramas and I would argue that the sound of the German language, German words and inflections were critical in the composition of those music dramas!   

  Edit: Many will disagree with me and are free to do so  $:)!
  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 06, 2011, 01:42:27 AM
Currently resisting a "Kill da wabbit" joke...

What's Opera, Doc? I wuv it!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 06, 2011, 01:45:45 AM

    Wagner in English???  :o  Yes I suppose one can argue that English is a "Germanic" language but Wagner?? in English??   I'd say the essence of Wagner has be destroyed!  Wagner spent years writing the words to his music dramas and I would argue that the sound of the German language, German words and inflections were critical in the composition of those music dramas!   

  Edit: Many will disagree with me and are free to do so  $:) !
  marvin


You might want to read this article about Andrew Porter's translation...


http://www.mediafire.com/file/0yb9bspfsbn/Andrew%20Porter%27s%20Wagner%20translation.pdf (http://www.mediafire.com/file/0yb9bspfsbn/Andrew%20Porter%27s%20Wagner%20translation.pdf)


P.S. It also contains a review of the Goodall Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 06, 2011, 01:51:26 AM

    Wagner in English???  :o  Yes I suppose one can argue that English is a "Germanic" language but Wagner?? in English??   I'd say the essence of Wagner has be destroyed!  Wagner spent years writing the words to his music dramas . . . .

Yes, but it isn’t as if it were immortal poetry ; )

Seriously, that is the fundamental challenge of all opera singing translations (let alone such projects as Berlioz setting Shakespeare as opera, &c. en français!)  I think the argument you offer is actually much stronger in the case of Béla Balázs’s libretto to Bartók’s A kékszakállú herceg vára — which actually is enchanting poetry — and yet (as I said above) the English version works. Does it replace the Magyar original? Certainly not; but it is a fine alternative.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 17, 2011, 01:21:23 AM


  Wagner fans.......I did the unthinkable!  Last night I downloaded, yes that's right DOWNLOADED  :o :o my first opera ever from amazon.co.uk mp3 store!  I promised myself I would never do this but the deal was too good to pass up!  I paid £7.98 for this:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51i9JXYffpL._SS500_.jpg)

  Why?...............HOTTER!!!!  HANS HOTTER!!! I need to hear Hotter at his best before I die.  I can not afford Keilberth's Ring in stereo so I had to settle for the next best thing (Krauss 1953 in mono  :-\).  I am preparing myself for the less than ideal sound but I just hope it is not as bad as the sound on Furtwangler's RAI recording.

  MP3 files from amazon.co.uk are created using variable bit rates for optimal audio quality and file sizes, aiming at an average of 256 kilobits per second (kbps)!

  I will listen to Das Rheingold tonight.....wish me luck!

  marvin

   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 17, 2011, 02:51:54 AM
Good luck!

(* chortle *)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 17, 2011, 04:34:19 AM
Marvin, that Krauss deal you got was a great one. That is an excellent performance, Hotter is terrific.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 17, 2011, 04:39:04 AM
Wagner fans.......I did the unthinkable!  Last night I downloaded, yes that's right DOWNLOADED  :o :o my first opera ever from amazon.co.uk mp3 store!  I promised myself I would never do this but the deal was too good to pass up!  I paid £7.98

Nice price. You should be happy with it (provided the sound quality doesn't turn you off). Siegfried is my favorite part of Krauss's cycle...in fact, it's my favorite Siegfried period. Swiftly paced, really exciting.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 17, 2011, 05:19:19 AM
Amazon US also has that Krauss download - as well as Der Ring des Nibelungen (Bayreuth 1952) by Joseph Keilberth - each @ $11.98.

I am going for them since I have no problem with the sound quality of Amazon downloads.


They are both really good performances, it's just that they are also very old performances, with the accompanying have-to-get-used-to-it sound. At least, I think that's what Sarge meant.

In the case of the Krauss, I think that particular performance is ideal if you're looking for a really classic mono set with incredible vocals.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 17, 2011, 05:22:43 AM
They are both really good performances, it's just that they are also very old performances, with the accompanying have-to-get-used-to-it sound. At least, I think that's what Sarge meant.

It was what I meant. I should have been clearer.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 17, 2011, 03:46:38 PM
Here's a new issue of that Krauss Ring apparently utilizing the master tapes for the first time:





But I have to admit that despite all the praise heaped on this Ring - principally on account of the singers - I've never felt it lives up to the hype. Mainly because I don't feel we get the full canopy of Wagner's intentions due to the insufficient orchestral presentation. IOW, the orchestra is fatally recessed in the sonic murk.

I've never been able to get past that despite the "legendary singers" that this Ring is propped up on. It probably doesn't help that I don't like Varnay either so that's strike two right there... ;D

Although I wonder how improved the sound is on this new Orfeo release...


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on May 17, 2011, 04:16:34 PM
The only Ring cycle I own is Barenboim's and I haven't heard a note of it.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 18, 2011, 01:11:56 AM
Here's a new issue of that Krauss Ring apparently utilizing the master tapes for the first time:





But I have to admit that despite all the praise heaped on this Ring - principally on account of the singers - I've never felt it lives up to the hype. Mainly because I don't feel we get the full canopy of Wagner's intentions due to the insufficient orchestral presentation. IOW, the orchestra is fatally recessed in the sonic murk.

I've never been able to get past that despite the "legendary singers" that this Ring is propped up on. It probably doesn't help that I don't like Varnay either so that's strike two right there... ;D

Although I wonder how improved the sound is on this new Orfeo release...

  Not sure about that remastering on the Orfeo set but last night I listened to the first 2 Acts of Krauss's Das Rheingold (Archipel) and I hear what you say about the orchestra being fatally recessed.  But the voices, good heavens the voices were spectacular.  I was instantly hooked.  From what I have heard so far I would say that the Krauss Ring is the direct opposite of the Karajan Ring where I was begging for more vocal power (esp. in Die Walkure) at the expense of the BPO's superb playing.  To each his own I guess!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 18, 2011, 01:15:49 AM
The only Ring cycle I own is Barenboim's and I haven't heard a note of it.



  Never heard this set, and I know nothing about it.  HMV have a few copies left on sale at £60 each and have had them for many months.  They don't seem to be flying off the shelves for some reason  ???.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 18, 2011, 04:53:07 AM
What is the lowest price anyone has ever seen the Solti/WP Ring set at?  I want it so bad, but it is so expensive.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 05:04:42 AM
What is the lowest price anyone has ever seen the Solti/WP Ring set at?  I want it so bad, but it is so expensive.

Amazon DE has a "like new" copy for 55.99 Euro (http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/B0000042H4/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1305726939&sr=1-1&condition=used), That's about 77 Canadian dollars. I bought my Solti Ring when the price dipped momentarily a few years ago in Germany to 65 Euro. It's considerably more now (€100-125)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 05:10:38 AM
Amazon DE has a "like new" copy for 55.99 Euro (http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/B0000042H4/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1305726939&sr=1-1&condition=used), That's about 77 Canadian dollars.

Sacrée vache, but that's a steal!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 18, 2011, 05:27:24 AM
Amazon DE has a "like new" copy for 55.99 Euro (http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/B0000042H4/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1305726939&sr=1-1&condition=used), That's about 77 Canadian dollars. I bought my Solti Ring when the price dipped momentarily a few years ago in Germany to 65 Euro. It's considerably more now (€100-125)

Great, thanks for that info and link, Sarge.  Much appreciated.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 05:39:39 AM
Sacrée vache, but that's a steal!

Or should I have said . . . Heilige Kuh . . . ?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 05:43:07 AM
Or should I have said . . . Heilige Kuh . . . ?

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/asheville/Sacred%20Cow.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 05:46:17 AM
Sacrée vache, but that's a steal!

Unfortunately, the Bundespost usually extracts an arm, leg and your first born for overseas shipping.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 05:49:39 AM
Demanding truly Wagnerian sacrifice!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 18, 2011, 05:50:16 AM
Unfortunately, the Bundespost usually extracts an arm, leg and your first born for overseas shipping.

Sarge

I'll do a price comparison between Amazon DE and Amazon Canada.  With duty and shipping, it may still end up being cheaper going with Amazon Canada.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on May 18, 2011, 05:52:27 AM
Amazon DE has a "like new" copy for 55.99 Euro (http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/B0000042H4/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1305726939&sr=1-1&condition=used), That's about 77 Canadian dollars. I bought my Solti Ring when the price dipped momentarily a few years ago in Germany to 65 Euro. It's considerably more now (€100-125)


That's a fantastic price. I bought mine several years ago, one opera at a time. Whole thing cost me around 200 U.S. I would jump all over that deal!


Getting verrry interested in that supa dupa Krauss redo.


Demanding truly Wagnerian sacrifice!


Oh dear.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 06:06:01 AM
The only Ring cycle I own is Barenboim's and I haven't heard a note of it.



For what it's worth, that's one of my three favorite Rings (I have twelve). I think it's got the best sound of any Ring I've heard (the glorious Bayreuth acoustic caught perfectly). Tomlinson's Wotan is superb (I prefer him even to Hotter). I love Jerusalem's Siegfried and Evans' Brünnhilde is more to my taste than say Varnay or Nilsson. Barenboim conducts a performance that is broad and epic: not quite a modern Furtwängler but close.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 06:08:25 AM
High praise, Sarge.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on May 18, 2011, 06:57:08 AM
For what it's worth, that's one of my three favorite Rings (I have twelve). I think it's got the best sound of any Ring I've heard (the glorious Bayreuth acoustic caught perfectly). Tomlinson's Wotan is superb (I prefer him even to Hotter). I love Jerusalem's Siegfried and Evans' Brünnhilde is more to my taste than say Varnay or Nilsson. Barenboim conducts a performance that is broad and epic: not quite a modern Furtwängler but close.

Sarge

Yes, the Barenboim Ring came highly recommended to me by many people on this forum and a few friends who know Wagner from Amazon. I'm going to try to listen to it at least one of the operas next week (I'll be on vacation starting on Saturday), so I'm sure I can make some time for Wagner in there somewhere. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 06:57:58 AM
Huzzah for vacation!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 18, 2011, 07:16:07 AM
For what it's worth, that's one of my three favorite Rings (I have twelve). I think it's got the best sound of any Ring I've heard (the glorious Bayreuth acoustic caught perfectly). Tomlinson's Wotan is superb (I prefer him even to Hotter). I love Jerusalem's Siegfried and Evans' Brünnhilde is more to my taste than say Varnay or Nilsson. Barenboim conducts a performance that is broad and epic: not quite a modern Furtwängler but close.

Is that a live recording?  I wonder if it the soundtrack of the similar DVD set or a studio recording.  And now I see that the DVD set is out of print (on US websites)!    >:(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 07:27:05 AM
Sarge, do you like the Barenboim better than the Thielemann?

Is that a live recording?

Yes and yes.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 18, 2011, 07:29:06 AM
Yes and yes.

Damn, the DVD would have been cheaper than the CDs, with better sound, and it is out of print already (the one distributed in Europe is not compatible with Region 1 players).   >:(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on May 18, 2011, 08:41:19 AM
For what it's worth, that's one of my three favorite Rings (I have twelve). I think it's got the best sound of any Ring I've heard (the glorious Bayreuth acoustic caught perfectly). Tomlinson's Wotan is superb (I prefer him even to Hotter). I love Jerusalem's Siegfried and Evans' Brünnhilde is more to my taste than say Varnay or Nilsson. Barenboim conducts a performance that is broad and epic: not quite a modern Furtwängler but close.

Sarge

I think this about sums it up (Tomlinson's Wotan is indeed one for the ages), and I would only add that, at least when I bought the Warner Classics reissue, the set had the fantastic libretti from the original Teldec releases, which go so far as to mark the Leitmotiven. Quite a far cry from the modern practice of giving us a DVD-ROM with the libretto on it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 09:07:25 AM
Patrick! nice to see you about, lad!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Valentino on May 18, 2011, 09:15:46 AM
The Barenboim is on my hard drive. Have only sampled it so far. I too do need a vacation.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 09:16:56 AM
Man, when I have a vacation, I'm not listening to the Ring.

The second week's vacation, maybe
: )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on May 18, 2011, 09:31:38 AM
Patrick! nice to see you about, lad!

Good to be back.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 18, 2011, 10:46:03 AM
Man, when I have a vacation, I'm not listening to the Ring.

I know, man, listening to the Ring is hard work  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 18, 2011, 10:52:11 AM
I enjoy 90 minutes of Wagner (which wasn't always the case, Sarge) . . . but after about the 90-minute mark, my ears start itching for some Schoenberg . . . I don't know why . . . .

; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 18, 2011, 01:45:50 PM
I enjoy 90 minutes of Wagner (which wasn't always the case, Sarge) . . . but after about the 90-minute mark, my ears start itching for some Schoenberg . . . I don't know why . . . .

; )


You mean Gurrelieder?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on May 18, 2011, 03:27:48 PM
I enjoy 90 minutes of Wagner (which wasn't always the case, Sarge) . . . but after about the 90-minute mark, my ears start itching for some Schoenberg . . . I don't know why . . . .

; )

FWIW, Karl, nowadays I usually can only listen to one Act of Wagner per day.  Well, that really goes for any opera of any composer.

However, when I first got *hooked onto Wagner (via the Solti Ring copy at the library), I listened to the entire Siegfried twice in one day, and ran out of hours in the day to listen to it a 3rd time in the same day (I enjoyed it that much).

*Happened to be on a solo fishing trip in Northwestern Ontario in July 2008, so the pun is apropos. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 18, 2011, 08:37:56 PM

You mean Gurrelieder?

 :D :D :D :D

No fool, Schoenberg!



Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 18, 2011, 08:42:51 PM
  Not sure about that remastering on the Orfeo set but last night I listened to the first 2 Acts of Krauss's Das Rheingold (Archipel) and I hear what you say about the orchestra being fatally recessed.  But the voices, good heavens the voices were spectacular.  I was instantly hooked.  From what I have heard so far I would say that the Krauss Ring is the direct opposite of the Karajan Ring where I was begging for more vocal power (esp. in Die Walkure) at the expense of the BPO's superb playing.  To each his own I guess!

  marvin

Yes, the one great benefit of the Krauss Ring is the voices come across with wonderful clarity. No complaints there.

So I can see the set's allure...


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 19, 2011, 12:16:46 AM

 :D :D :D :D

No fool, Schoenberg!


 ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: yashin on May 20, 2011, 04:13:24 PM
Got a DVD today called "The Ring without words" conducted by Lorin Maazel with the Berliner Phil orchestra. Actually i am quite impressed. The sound is terrific.  Obviously Maazel has chopped it up and put it back together again. I wish he would have left the God's entry into Valhalla in there. Das Rheingold is only represented by the prelude.  Also in Siegfried the Sword forging scene is cut down drastically. The Orchestra plays beautifully and i heard instruments probably clearer than ever before. So kudos to them and Maazel.

I am not a big fan of Maazel -for one he looks bloody miserable throughout and his lethargic conducting style does not inspire. Also the auditorium looks half empty and i am not sure why.

I got this disc really cheap (around 2 UK pounds) so i cannot complain. Not sure if i would pay the full price - might have been nice on cd (think he made a similar cd years ago)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2011, 09:27:58 PM
Huzzah for vacation!

Yes, a vacation will be long overdue. I haven't had one in about three years, though I've took some time off here and there, but not a full week. Time to relax.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 24, 2011, 11:57:45 PM
 

  Wagner fans, Ok not that I need another Ring cycle (I have Bohm, Karajan, Solti, Krauss '53 (the most vocally stunning performance of them all!!!) and Levine DVD) but what is the story with the Barenboim Ring.  I hear praise for stunning sound but criticism of less than ideal singers??  I ask because the CD version is not easy to find online and I would hate to be passing up a good offer (HMV has very few left at £60)  In addition all the Bayreuth performances I have (Bohm and Krauss) are not the best audio wise.  I have heard great things about Thomlinson's Wotan and I am familiar with Jerusalem's Siegfried (no match for Windgassen) from the Levine set but I also hear that the role of Brunhilde is not well served and some of the minor roles are inadequately cast??  I also hear that Barenboim, while more than adequate is unsuccessful at copying the great Furtwangler!

 So are we looking at a mixed bag here with the stunning audio being the principal selling point of this Ring??


 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on May 25, 2011, 02:28:36 AM
Yes, a vacation will be long overdue. I haven't had one in about three years, though I've took some time off here and there, but not a full week. Time to relax.

Seriously?  You'll go nuts!  Even the president takes vacations. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 25, 2011, 02:30:00 AM
Heck, Bush went golfing on 9/12 (j/k, fer chrissakes)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on May 25, 2011, 03:10:20 AM
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked...(on Bob's birthday)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on May 25, 2011, 06:19:24 AM
 

  Wagner fans, Ok not that I need another Ring cycle (I have Bohm, Karajan, Solti, Krauss '53 (the most vocally stunning performance of them all!!!) and Levine DVD) but what is the story with the Barenboim Ring.  I hear praise for stunning sound but criticism of less than ideal singers??  I ask because the CD version is not easy to find online and I would hate to be passing up a good offer (HMV has very few left at £60)  In addition all the Bayreuth performances I have (Bohm and Krauss) are not the best audio wise.  I have heard great things about Thomlinson's Wotan and I am familiar with Jerusalem's Siegfried (no match for Windgassen) from the Levine set but I also hear that the role of Brunhilde is not well served and some of the minor roles are inadequately cast??  I also hear that Barenboim, while more than adequate is unsuccessful at copying the great Furtwangler!

 So are we looking at a mixed bag here with the stunning audio being the principal selling point of this Ring??


 

  marvin

Well,  if you want to avoid imitation Furtwangler, you can get the real one at a fairly good price: $43.11 from Amazon itself and $38.85 from Amazon marketplace.  (I got mine for $39.99 at Arkiv.)

[crosses fingers and hopes he's got the click me thing figured out correctly]

ETA:  apparently I haven't figured it out correctly.  Can anyone give me simple directions on how to do it?
Meanwhile, here's the old fashioned way:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yquSyXObL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 25, 2011, 06:41:39 AM
So are we looking at a mixed bag here with the stunning audio being the principal selling point of this Ring??

Isn't every Ring a mixed bag, Marvin? They all have strengths and weaknesses. I remember when the Keilberth 55 Ring appeared it was hailed as the greatest ever but I also remember an early buyer (who posted on the Gramophone forum) falling out of love with it after a few months. His criticism convinced me to pass. Since I'm not a Varnay fan it wouldn't likely become a favorite of mine anyway. And so it goes.

Whether you'd enjoy Barenboim or not, I can't predict. I love it. For me its strengths (which I mentioned in an earlier post) far outweigh the weaknesses.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 25, 2011, 09:16:04 AM
Wagner fans, Ok not that I need another Ring cycle (I have Bohm, Karajan, Solti, Krauss '53 (the most vocally stunning performance of them all!!!) and Levine DVD) but what is the story with the Barenboim Ring.

The Barenboim Ring is very well conducted (the staging is not good, so skip the DVD). But at this point, I'd recommend Mehta's Valencia Ring on bluray. It's stunning too. Great sound, consistently solid singing, well paced, an orchestra that really rises to the occasion, and a staging that made me rethink how I felt about modern stagings in general.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 25, 2011, 09:18:06 AM
The Barenboim Ring is very well conducted (the staging is not good, so skip the DVD). But at this point, I'd recommend Mehta's Valencia Ring on bluray. It's stunning.

Stunning or stunningly bad, depending on your point of view (I'm of the latter inclination).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 25, 2011, 09:31:36 AM
Well, with all the obvious things it has going for it, your reaction is likely to be a personal one. That's fine. I like anchovies on my pizza and I can't stand pineapple, but I understand how others could feel differently.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: karlhenning on May 25, 2011, 10:03:39 AM
I'm with you on the anchovies.

Cut the visuals, Fred . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 25, 2011, 10:11:08 AM
Well, with all the obvious things it has going for it, your reaction is likely to be a personal one. That's fine. I like anchovies on my pizza and I can't stand pineapple, but I understand how others could feel differently.

I thought the obvious things were against it.   In the best opera performances, singers also act.  Having watched Reingold from that series, I felt that the singers felt too awkward being ferried around on little cranes, and dealing with all of the technical gadgets, to just act out their characters' emotions and reactions.  The best Rings on video (in my opinion) are the Levine/Met and the Copenhagen Ring.  No pseudo-science fiction, just put the character in a costume (fanciful if necessary) and let him or her act his or her part.

And to follow the metaphor, the Levine Ring is the pizza with pepperoni, and the Valencia ring is the pizza with pineapple.   :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 25, 2011, 10:46:40 AM
Mehta's Walkure has some remarkable acting. The Ring starts out more symbolic than emotional. Rhinegold has always been more about posing with staffs and symbolic acting than the rest of the Ring. You should see the rest of Mehta's cycle.

I like traditional stagings too... But mostly because modern stagings usually throw Wagner's story out along with the helmets and shields. The Valencia Ring is different. It follows the action and characterization better than even some more traditional stagings. The quality of the singing is more consistent than any other modern recording, and Mehta did a great job of bringing the most out of the orchestra. If you just don't like modern staging, try just listening to Mehta's Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 25, 2011, 11:28:07 AM
Well,  if you want to avoid imitation Furtwangler, you can get the real one at a fairly good price: $43.11 from Amazon itself and $38.85 from Amazon marketplace.  (I got mine for $39.99 at Arkiv.)

[crosses fingers and hopes he's got the click me thing figured out correctly]

ETA:  apparently I haven't figured it out correctly.  Can anyone give me simple directions on how to do it?
Meanwhile, here's the old fashioned way:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yquSyXObL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

You are not going to believe this but if that is the Furtwangler RAI set I used to own it  but I gave it away because the poor  sound as well as the below par orchestra (especially the brass section) made it quite unpleasant to listen to.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 25, 2011, 12:54:10 PM
Mehta's Walkure has some remarkable acting. The Ring starts out more symbolic than emotional. Rhinegold has always been more about posing with staffs and symbolic acting than the rest of the Ring. You should see the rest of Mehta's cycle.

I like traditional stagings too... But mostly because modern stagings usually throw Wagner's story out along with the helmets and shields. The Valencia Ring is different. It follows the action and characterization better than even some more traditional stagings. The quality of the singing is more consistent than any other modern recording, and Mehta did a great job of bringing the most out of the orchestra. If you just don't like modern staging, try just listening to Mehta's Ring.

Ok, worth a try.  I got an offer from Borders that said I would get a 50% off coupon if I "like" them on Facebook.  I applied it to that Valencia ring and got $67 off.  But it's on backorder so who knows when it will ever show up.   :(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on May 25, 2011, 05:45:42 PM
Well, with all the obvious things it has going for it, your reaction is likely to be a personal one.

Not to quibble, but ... okay, I quibble: surely all our reactions are personal?
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: JerryS on May 25, 2011, 06:56:14 PM
I thought the obvious things were against it.   In the best opera performances, singers also act.  Having watched Reingold from that series, I felt that the singers felt too awkward being ferried around on little cranes, and dealing with all of the technical gadgets, to just act out their characters' emotions and reactions.  The best Rings on video (in my opinion) are the Levine/Met and the Copenhagen Ring.  No pseudo-science fiction, just put the character in a costume (fanciful if necessary) and let him or her act his or her part.

And to follow the metaphor, the Levine Ring is the pizza with pepperoni, and the Valencia ring is the pizza with pineapple.   :)

I recently saw both the Mehta Bluray ring and the Copenhagen Ring. The cranes in the Mehta Ring were generally a hindrance. A few times when they were horses they made sense, otherwise they were severe restrictions on the acting and stage direction. I found the abrupt change to the modern era very jarring in Gotterdammerung. The video effects on Bluray were sometimes very beautiful but seldom added much to the drama.

The staging and costumes of the Copenhagen ring were completely non-traditional but for me the world created by the director served to illuminate and draw out the depths of the characters. It was easy to be totally absorbed into Wagner's music-drama.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 25, 2011, 07:50:54 PM
Not to quibble, but ... okay, I quibble: surely all our reactions are personal?

Only if they are entirely subjective. If a reaction is based on holding the subject up to criteria for judging, it is less personal and more objective.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on May 25, 2011, 08:16:49 PM
You are not going to believe this but if that is the Furtwangler RAI set I used to own it  but I gave it away because the poor  sound as well as the below par orchestra (especially the brass section) made it quite unpleasant to listen to.

It is.  Don't know which set you had, but this is the 1990 remastering, and to my ears it sounds so far (I've only listened to Siegfried) like very excellent mono, and whatever flubs the orchestra made didn't catch my ear.   Hopefully, I'll be able to listen to the rest of the set over the next couple of days. 

If you want truly horrendous sound, try to listen to the version of the Furtwangler La Scala Ring issued on a label called Virtuoso. I have the Siegfried segment (which is why I listened to that part of the RAI ring first--I was curious about the sonic comparison).    It sounds as if the tape machine was planted somewhere in the woodwind section fo the orchestra, and for much of the opera,  you have to put your ear up to the speakers, concentrate, and you will hear an extra layer of sound which you realize is a human voice singing something or other in German.  The singers can be heard over the orchestra only when they came near the front of the stage (judging by the accompanying stage noises).   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 26, 2011, 12:58:03 AM
It is.  Don't know which set you had, but this is the 1990 remastering, and to my ears it sounds so far (I've only listened to Siegfried) like very excellent mono, and whatever flubs the orchestra made didn't catch my ear.   Hopefully, I'll be able to listen to the rest of the set over the next couple of days. 

If you want truly horrendous sound, try to listen to the version of the Furtwangler La Scala Ring issued on a label called Virtuoso. I have the Siegfried segment (which is why I listened to that part of the RAI ring first--I was curious about the sonic comparison).    It sounds as if the tape machine was planted somewhere in the woodwind section fo the orchestra, and for much of the opera,  you have to put your ear up to the speakers, concentrate, and you will hear an extra layer of sound which you realize is a human voice singing something or other in German.  The singers can be heard over the orchestra only when they came near the front of the stage (judging by the accompanying stage noises).   


  I had this which I believe is the 1990 remastering??  Unfortunately I was unable to appreciate it as much as you did, notwithstanding Furtwangler's superb conducting skills. (By the way, his Tristan und Isolde on EMI is to die for so I guess I was expecting the same for his Ring cycle)

 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61a6%2BHqr0mL._SS400_.jpg)
 
 
  Regarding your comments on the Furtwangler La Scala recording I have not heard it. But it sounds dreadful.  As Sarge so correctly said every Ring is a mixed bag to a certain extent and reading all the posts above it seems that all of us have our ideas of what is acceptable and what isn't. 

  Finally I am going to buy that Barenboim Ring before the discount deal runs out as I do not have a modern recording of the Ring from Bayreuth in my collection and if Tomlinson is as good as they say he is this might well be worth it. In addition a BBC review of various Ring cycles recommended the Keilberth 1955 AND the Barenboim Rings as the two Rings to own.

  marvin 


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on May 26, 2011, 05:21:59 AM

  I had this which I believe is the 1990 remastering??  Unfortunately I was unable to appreciate it as much as you did, notwithstanding Furtwangler's superb conducting skills. (By the way, his Tristan und Isolde on EMI is to die for so I guess I was expecting the same for his Ring cycle)

 

I have that one in Brilliant's issue of the first digital remastering.   It's not overwhelming, but at least I'm able to sit through and listen to it, which I was never able to do with any Tristan before then.    I've got one other Tristan recording on my shelf--the Domingo recording, which I like about as much as the Furtwangler.  But the time differences are telling--Furtwangler is about half an hour longer, and requires 4 CDs to Pappano's 3, and from what I can find out, there aren't supposed to be any cuts in the Domingo/Pappano.  I've also got it on DVD--Barenboim at La Scala; the running time is almost exactly the same as Furtwangler, but I've yet to actually sit down and watch it, even one act at a time.

I'm listening to Das Rheingold, Scene 1,  now.   I think I just heard one of those flubs in the brass you mentioned, and the  Rhinemaidens singing together overwhelm the treble--which might be the recording, or might be the rather cheap CD player I use.    But the singing is as good as it was on Siegfried.

Quote
  Regarding your comments on the Furtwangler La Scala recording I have not heard it. But it sounds dreadful.  As Sarge so correctly said every Ring is a mixed bag to a certain extent and reading all the posts above it seems that all of us have our ideas of what is acceptable and what isn't. 


The problem I had may be due to the individual mastering of that issue; I have another recording from that label (Tosca with Callas) which is not as bad, but certainly suboptimal.   Avoid that label, but there are apparently other masterings available;  if you can audition them, you may find at least one that's acceptable.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 26, 2011, 05:40:58 AM
Only if they are entirely subjective. If a reaction is based on holding the subject up to criteria for judging, it is less personal and more objective.

Ok, if you want to pretend your personal reactions are objective, no one will stop you.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on May 26, 2011, 07:15:52 AM

You might want to read this article about Andrew Porter's translation...


http://www.mediafire.com/file/0yb9bspfsbn/Andrew%20Porter%27s%20Wagner%20translation.pdf (http://www.mediafire.com/file/0yb9bspfsbn/Andrew%20Porter%27s%20Wagner%20translation.pdf)


P.S. It also contains a review of the Goodall Ring.

  Hello Jezetha,

  It was with great interest that I read your attached article, thank you so much for posting it and sorry to come back to you rather late with a response/reaction. It took me a while to digest it.

  First I was surprised to learn that Wagner, the German nationalist, collaborated with translators to get his operas translated in various languages and that he was not opposed to the idea in general. Granted he did not like one English translation but the principal was acceptable to him.

  It is laboriously difficult  to translate an opera from the original language to another language. I respect all the effort needed to do this successfully. However, I have to admit that I was most disturbed by some of the undesirable effects that this process creates. According to the article after Siegfried realizes that the sleeping individual (Brunhilde)  is NOT A MAN- Siegfried sings "Das ist kein Mann"! As I do not speak German I do not know if the words could come across as humorous in any way?? the music certainly does not call for humour.  That said,  I doubt German audiences were laughing when they heard this and I have never laughed as it was not in line with the emotional effect of the music when those words were sung.  However translated verbatim this yielded "It isn't a man" and "It is NOT a man" and variations thereof which when sung can be comical.  Audiences in Seattle did laugh at this. So we have a situation here where the emotional response generated by a translated text is in conflict with the emotions conveyed in the music. I do not know how to come to terms with this.

  For those of you who have the Goodall Ring has this been a problem for you?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 26, 2011, 09:22:48 AM

  For those of you who have the Goodall Ring has this been a problem for you?

Not really. I saw the English Ring in Seattle and I don't remember unintentional laughter. There was laughter at Mime's dialogue in Siegfried, but that is supposed to be funny.

By the way, the best sounding Furtwangler Rai Ring was Gebhardt's transfer. It's out of print now and sells for a high price. EMI has never done this justice.

The Ring I'd like to get but won't pay the price for is Kielberth 55 on Testament. I probably should bite the bullet, but that price is galling to me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: JerryS on May 26, 2011, 01:58:32 PM
I don't have the Goodall Ring but have wanted to acquire a copy.  Unfortunately, it is hard to find and when found is very expensive.  (Presto Classical has it, but for $185.00 or there abouts, which is much more than I care to pay.)

Putting aside concerns about the Ring in English, Goodall's reputation as a Wagnerian is strong and I've read more than one survey which ranks his Ring rather high among all recorded cycles.

You may want to consider a subscription to Naxos Music Library. They have the entire Goodall ring for streaming at "CD quality" (that's what Naxos calls it, not really CD quality but I find it very listenable). The content is indexed the same as the physical CDs.  I first heard some of the Goodall ring through a single CD of the 3rd act of Gotterdammerung and loved it.   Lately I've been sampling the other operas on Naxos Music Library. The vocal cast is strong, the orchestra is very well rehearsed and the sound is exemplary. Goodall's tempi are relatively slow but almost always seem right.

I've subscribed to NML for almost a year and even at $225 a year I consider it a bargain. Some areas even have free access through libraries.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on May 26, 2011, 03:28:48 PM
The 3rd act of Götterdämmerung on Unicorn isn't the same recording as the complete set. It was recorded earlier when the cast was in the heat of performance at ENO. The immolation on the complete set is pretty incredible, but that Unicorn album is even more special. Rita Hunter is amazing.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: brunumb on May 28, 2011, 05:24:56 PM
Pristine Classical have done "An astonishing sonic transformation thanks to XR remastering" of Furtwängler's 1953 Ring Cycle.  The links below to the four parts include extensive notes and samples from different reissues for comparison.

http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO057.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO058.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO059.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO060.php

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 29, 2011, 04:33:45 AM
Pristine Classical have done "An astonishing sonic transformation thanks to XR remastering" of Furtwängler's 1953 Ring Cycle.  The links below to the four parts include extensive notes and samples from different reissues for comparison.

http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO057.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO058.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO059.php
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO060.php

Thanks for the links. I have the Gebhardt. Very interesting to hear the sonic differences.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 29, 2011, 05:54:21 AM
Thanks for the links. I have the Gebhardt. Very interesting to hear the sonic differences.

Sarge


Seconded. I am listening to the excerpt from Siegried, the end of Act 1. I don't know the Furtwängler Ring, but this is very compelling!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 29, 2011, 06:04:30 AM

Seconded. I am listening to the excerpt from Siegried, the end of Act 1. I don't know the Furtwängler Ring, but this is very compelling!

If the Furtwängler Ring had great, or even good sound, I believe it would be, even with his second rate band, the one Ring to rule them all.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 29, 2011, 06:13:05 AM
If the Furtwängler Ring had great, or even good sound, I believe it would be, even with his second rate band, the one Ring to rule them all.


I can well believe it. I am now listening to another excerpt, from Götterdämmerung, Hagen in jolly mood. Very good, too!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on May 29, 2011, 06:55:20 AM
If the Furtwängler Ring had great, or even good sound, I believe it would be, even with his second rate band, the one Ring to rule them all.

That's the wonderful thing about horrible sound, it allows you to fill in what's missing with your blessed imagination and create the greatest performance ever!  I'm guessing that if I could sneak a DSD surround sound recording rig back to those sessions using my time machine you would be very disappointed.   :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 29, 2011, 07:09:51 AM
I'm guessing that if I could sneak a DSD surround sound recording rig back to those sessions using my time machine you would be very disappointed.   :)

;D :D ;D

I disagree though. First, the sound isn't so bad that you can't hear how great the voices are. And second, Furtwängler's unique way with Wagner comes through clearly. He makes a most compelling case.

Years ago paulb said he didn't need any other Ring but the Rome Furtwängler. I thought he was crazy...until I finally heard it myself. I understand him now.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 11, 2011, 07:14:42 PM
Wagnerites rejoice. I have just bought another Ring cycle and I haven't even heard the one I have yet, which is the Barenboim:

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on June 12, 2011, 06:28:07 AM
My new Wagner Ring also arrived in the mail yesterday (the Neuhold superbargain). :) 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 12, 2011, 07:06:46 AM
Wagnerites rejoice. I have just bought another Ring cycle and I haven't even heard the one I have yet, which is the Barenboim:



  Oh Mirror Image now that was my favourite Ring for many many years and remains in my list of the  top 2-3 Rings (along with Bohm and Krauss)! This is a legendary recording with Technicolor sound and a Siegfried dripping with so much adrenaline and power enough to blow the roof off of any house!  Play it loud And enjoy it  :)!

  PS: I too have yet to remove the shrink wrap from my Barenboim Ring  :(. At the moment Villa-Lobos has my attention.

  Marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 12, 2011, 07:25:45 AM
  Oh Mirror Image now that was my favourite Ring for many many years and remains in my list of the  top 2-3 Rings (along with Bohm and Krauss)! This is a legendary recording with Technicolor sound and a Siegfried dripping with so much adrenaline and power enough to blow the roof off of any house!  Play it loud And enjoy it  :)!

  PS: I too have yet to remove the shrink wrap from my Barenboim Ring  :(. At the moment Villa-Lobos has my attention.

  Marvin

Thanks Marvin. I've been wanting this Ring for about two years or so. I finally just took the plunge and bought it. The Barenboim Ring from what I've read and people have told me here is excellent.

Villa-Lobos has your attention right now? Excellent, he's one of my favorite composers. Have you visited the VL composer thread? You should check it out sometime.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 12, 2011, 01:47:41 PM
Thanks Marvin. I've been wanting this Ring for about two years or so. I finally just took the plunge and bought it. The Barenboim Ring from what I've read and people have told me here is excellent.

Villa-Lobos has your attention right now? Excellent, he's one of my favorite composers. Have you visited the VL composer thread? You should check it out sometime.

  Hello,

  Yes I am currently exploring the bachianas brasileiras for the first time. I am familiar with the VL composer thread but would like to get to know VL's music well before I contribute.

  I'll have to make time for Barenboim's Ring somehow  ???

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 12, 2011, 05:09:57 PM
  Hello,

  Yes I am currently exploring the bachianas brasileiras for the first time. I am familiar with the VL composer thread but would like to get to know VL's music well before I contribute.

  I'll have to make time for Barenboim's Ring somehow  ???

  marvin

The Bachianas Brasileiras are a great cycle of works. I own two cycles: Schermerhorn (Naxos) and Neschling (BIS). Both are excellent and much better than any the EMI cycle (Batiz right?), which I owned at one point but quickly sold it once I heard Neschling's performances on BIS. You may want to consider this box set at some point:



What's nice about this set it also contains the only cycle of the Choros available. Check it out if you have time. This is a pretty expensive set, but it's worth every penny.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on June 12, 2011, 06:10:23 PM
My new Wagner Ring also arrived in the mail yesterday (the Neuhold superbargain). :)

Please report when you've given it at least a partial listen.  It's like the $5 pair of shorts I once bought at Bloomingdales, just to say I bought something for five dollars at Bloomingdales (actually they turned out to be a very nice pair of shorts)--I feel like buying it just so I can say I bought a complete Ring for under twenty dollars.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on June 12, 2011, 10:19:38 PM
My new Wagner Ring also arrived in the mail yesterday (the Neuhold superbargain). :)

It sounds better with the bass turned up.
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on June 13, 2011, 03:14:28 AM
Please report when you've given it at least a partial listen.  It's like the $5 pair of shorts I once bought at Bloomingdales, just to say I bought something for five dollars at Bloomingdales (actually they turned out to be a very nice pair of shorts)--I feel like buying it just so I can say I bought a complete Ring for under twenty dollars.

Well this for me is the second time that I've bought a complete Ring for under $20! :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: GanChan on June 13, 2011, 07:50:39 AM
Anybody here like to "Frankenstein" various bits of Rings together? For instance, I know of many Ringheads who prefer to swap out the Solti Walkure for Leinsdorf's recording. It kind of works because the  Brunnhilde is still the same (Nilsson) and George London picks up where he left off from Rheingold, leaving Hotter as a plausibly older Wanderer.

I'm doing the same thing with a conflagration of the Krauss and Keilberth ('55) Rings, and that's where I could use your advice. I began by upgrading my Krauss from the old Gala edition to the (I think) much airier and more detailed Pristine Audio remastering. After Walkure, however, I recalled that I was always driven nuts by Windgassen's mistakes in Siegfried's Forging Song, so I dropped the Keilberth Siegfried in there instead -- problem solved, and the cast is essentially identical.

Now, though, I have to make a decision about Gotterdammerung: Back to Krauss, or forward with Keilberth? Obviously the sound is much clearer on the Keilberth (even with miraculous remastering, the Krauss will always sound like '50s mono),  but common wisdom gives Krauss the win for conducting. In comparing a clip of Keilberth's Immolation Scene with that of Krauss, to give one small example, it does seem that Krauss plays through to the end of the opera with more drive and purpose than Keilberth, who plays it very lyrically but seems to lack rhythmic spine in comparison -- it flows nicely but feels slack. I wonder if that comparison holds true throughout....

Even from an audio-recording standpoint, the choice isn't totally cut and dried. The Keilberth clips made me feel like I was sitting in the middle of the trumpet section (and that they wanted me to leave, if you know what I mean). As opposed to the Krauss recording, where it sometimes sounds as if that very same brass section forgot to show up entirely....

Opinions?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 13, 2011, 08:41:17 PM
Sorry to everyone for getting the thread a bit off topic with the Villa-Lobos talk...now back to Wagner! :)

Tonight, I listened to Das Rheingold from this set:



The music was simply incredible! The only thing that I didn't like was the stage noise. I thought that this was rather distracting, but the performance itself from the vocalists, orchestra, and the conducting of Barenboim was exemplary. I particularly liked the way Barenboim allowed the music to flow naturally and the way he built the climaxes. The opening prelude had me on the edge of seat! Now onto Da Walkure.

Edit: I know the performances in this set are live recordings, but I wasn't expecting this kind of noise.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 15, 2011, 06:03:24 AM
Sorry to everyone for getting the thread a bit off topic with the Villa-Lobos talk...now back to Wagner! :)

Tonight, I listened to Das Rheingold from this set:



The music was simply incredible! The only thing that I didn't like was the stage noise. I thought that this was rather distracting, but the performance itself from the vocalists, orchestra, and the conducting of Barenboim was exemplary. I particularly liked the way Barenboim allowed the music to flow naturally and the way he built the climaxes. The opening prelude had me on the edge of seat! Now onto Da Walkure.

Edit: I know the performances in this set are live recordings, but I wasn't expecting this kind of noise.

  Live recordings usually have some stage noise which is unavoidable.  Sometimes stage noises can amplify the drama and draw me into the action, for example the sound of the sword fragments (Notung) being thrown by Mime after he fails to forge the sword for Siegfried or the sound of Siegfried running on stage to slay Fafner all adds to the excitement and drama. Admittedly I would like for these stage noises to be kept at a bare minimum.  There is nothing more irritating than hearing singers/choruses etc. shuffling on stage. 

  I must say that I was not happy when I read your review, I was so looking forward to Barenboim's Ring  :(......

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 15, 2011, 06:17:44 AM
  I must say that I was not happy when I read your review, I was so looking forward to Barenboim's Ring  :(......
 marvin

His review was positive...why would that make you unhappy? Because he mentioned the stage noises? As you said, it's inevitable with any live recording. When you listen, just pretend you're actually sitting in the theater at Bayreuth. Soak up the sounds and the atmosphere.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on June 15, 2011, 06:20:49 AM
His review was positive...why would that make you unhappy? Because he mentioned the stage noises? As you said, it's inevitable with any live recording. When you listen, just pretend you're actually sitting in the theater at Bayreuth. Soak up the sounds and the atmosphere.

Sarge

My main frustration with the set is that the US edition of the DVD version is out of print in the US.  As far as I understand the CD set is the audio from the DVD, and you can always turn off the monitor. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 15, 2011, 08:48:27 AM
His review was positive...why would that make you unhappy? Because he mentioned the stage noises? As you said, it's inevitable with any live recording. When you listen, just pretend you're actually sitting in the theater at Bayreuth. Soak up the sounds and the atmosphere.

Sarge

  Yes Mirror Image's review was very positive.  Perhaps I read into his criticism of the stage noise more than I should have. If he or someone else could elaborate further as to the extent of these stage noises I would be most appreciative. For example do the singers stomp on stage during the orchestral passages? Are the stage noises distracting enough to ruin the tender/emotional moments (love duets between Sieglinde & Siegmund and
Siegfried & Brunhilde or Wotan's Farewell to his daughter Brunhilde at the end of Walkure or Brunhilde's
awakening at the end of Siegfried etc.)

  Any feedback would be most appreciative, thank you.
 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 15, 2011, 08:58:00 AM
If you find the '50s Bayreuth recordings, e.g. Krauss or Keilbert, enjoyable despite the stage noise and less than perfect audio, then you will have absolutely no complaints with the the Barenboim.  It is decidedly a worthwhile set.


  Thank you Leon much appreciated  :).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on June 15, 2011, 11:57:31 AM
This is a bit OT - but the comments about the DVD made me wonder if there is a way to upload just the audio from a DVD into iTunes or a mp3 player like Foobar?  I have a bunch of works only on DVD that I'd like to have available on my iPod.

That is an interesting question.  The multichannel program is probably of no use, but almost every DVD has a 48 kHz uncompressed two channel program, which could be put directly into a wave file.  The DVD format is not "open" like a CD so I suppose there is little hope of "ripping" it.  But if you connected your DVD player TOSLINK digital output to a appropriate device, I wonder if it can be streamed into a file.  Probably it comes with a protection bit which forbids copying, but there might be some sort of dicey software which can ignore that.

But you are right, that is a potential down-side of the DVD edition.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 15, 2011, 12:04:19 PM
That is an interesting question.  The multichannel program is probably of no use, but almost every DVD has a 48 kHz uncompressed two channel program, which could be put directly into a wave file.  The DVD format is not "open" like a CD so I suppose there is little hope of "ripping" it.  But if you connected your DVD player TOSLINK digital output to a appropriate device, I wonder if it can be streamed into a file.  Probably it comes with a protection bit which forbids copying, but there might be some sort of dicey software which can ignore that.

But you are right, that is a potential down-side of the DVD edition.

To continue OT for a second (and stun my fans by posting in a Wagner topic! :o ) I learned how to extract audio file from a DVD a few years back. It is certainly do-able, but in the event, it took me all day with a 'cracking' software to finally produce a WAV file (no tracks yet), make a cue sheet, convert to flac tracks and eventually create some MP3's for my player. It may well be that there are now some products to do that, but back in 2006, that was a major chore. Worth the effort, but not a lot. :)

8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on June 15, 2011, 12:06:25 PM
There are software programs that can extract the audio tracks.  The ones I used several years ago are probably no longer used.  For what it is worth, the #1 program I used back then was dvd decrypter.  If you can find the modern version of that you have one of the programs that you need.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 05:32:17 PM
  Yes Mirror Image's review was very positive.  Perhaps I read into his criticism of the stage noise more than I should have. If he or someone else could elaborate further as to the extent of these stage noises I would be most appreciative. For example do the singers stomp on stage during the orchestral passages? Are the stage noises distracting enough to ruin the tender/emotional moments (love duets between Sieglinde & Siegmund and
Siegfried & Brunhilde or Wotan's Farewell to his daughter Brunhilde at the end of Walkure or Brunhilde's
awakening at the end of Siegfried etc.)

  Any feedback would be most appreciative, thank you.
 

  marvin

Hey Marvin,

There was quite a bit of shuffling on the stage when the vocalists were walking around. It's pretty audible, but sometimes it's not that bad and the music simply overpowers it, which is always a good thing. Like you said, it is a live recording so it's only natural that you're going to have noise, especially in a large production as this one. I don't think the stage noise should keep you away from this set and, again, I have only heard Das Rheingold so far, so I can't comment on any of the other operas, but Barenboim is so direct and the emotion is definitely there. He's not just up there flailing his arms about like a monkey, he breathes this music from the inside out.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 06:57:43 PM
A quick question for everyone: do the newly reissued Barenboim conducted recordings of Wagner's other operas come with the full librettos? Thanks in advance. :)

Special note: I'll consider them if they have the librettos, but if they don't, then I'll pass and just try to hunt down the originals. For me, apart of the opera experience is having the booklet to follow along if you wanted to. Trying to hunt down this website or that website takes the fun out of it I think. I also like the artwork that comes inside the booklets. I guess I'm just from a bygone era. Someone once told me that I'm an old soul in a young person's body.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 09:25:02 PM
Hey Sarge!

Do you have a picture of the inside of the Karajan Ring set that you could post? I'm chomping at the bit to buy this set, I don't care what the criticisms are surrounding this set. Every Ring has it's own flaws and is not perfect. Anyway, Sarge any pictures you could possibly provide would be much appreciated! Thanks so much! :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on June 16, 2011, 04:33:57 AM
(and stun my fans by posting in a Wagner topic! :o )


But of which Wagner are you a fan? Josef Franz,  Johann Peter Alexander,  or Veit?


[Wikipedia is a wonderful thing.]
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 16, 2011, 05:38:00 AM
A quick question for everyone: do the newly reissued Barenboim conducted recordings of Wagner's other operas come with the full librettos? Thanks in advance. :)

Can't help you. I have Barenboim's Holländer, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Parsifal but all are original issues.

Hey Sarge!

Do you have a picture of the inside of the Karajan Ring set that you could post? I'm chomping at the bit to buy this set, I don't care what the criticisms are surrounding this set. Every Ring has it's own flaws and is not perfect. Anyway, Sarge any pictures you could possibly provide would be much appreciated! Thanks so much! :D

I'm batting 0 for 2 today  :(  I don't have Karajan's Ring box but rather each opera as they were separately released in the 80s.(Left click for full-size pic)

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/may11/P6163035.jpg)


Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on June 16, 2011, 06:57:10 AM
Hey Sarge!

Do you have a picture of the inside of the Karajan Ring set that you could post? I'm chomping at the bit to buy this set, I don't care what the criticisms are surrounding this set. Every Ring has it's own flaws and is not perfect. Anyway, Sarge any pictures you could possibly provide would be much appreciated! Thanks so much! :D

I don't have pictures, but I do have the DG Originals set, as opposed to the original sets. The Karajan set is pretty similar to the Solti Ring (in its most recent incarnation). The four sets are packaged individually in cardboard clamshell boxes with the standard DG Originals layout, with the discs in paper sleeves. Each set has its own booklet—with a picture of Karajan on it, naturally. The big difference is that the Karajan outer box is one of those where the sets slide in and out from the side, while the Solti box is accessed from the top.

I'd say, for what it's worth, that Karajan's set is probably worth the expense if you've got another Ring or two. I tend to think that casting issues are more of a problem than Karajan's ideas about Wagner's score, but even at that, it's not all bad.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2011, 07:01:57 AM
I don't have pictures, but I do have the DG Originals set, as opposed to the original sets. The Karajan set is pretty similar to the Solti Ring (in its most recent incarnation). The four sets are packaged individually in cardboard clamshell boxes with the standard DG Originals layout, with the discs in paper sleeves. Each set has its own booklet—with a picture of Karajan on it, naturally. The big difference is that the Karajan outer box is one of those where the sets slide in and out from the side, while the Solti box is accessed from the top.

I'd say, for what it's worth, that Karajan's set is probably worth the expense if you've got another Ring or two. I tend to think that casting issues are more of a problem than Karajan's ideas about Wagner's score, but even at that, it's not all bad.

I had the original ones, then sold them and traded for the "Original" version.  I have the say I see no advantage in the later version.  The issues with audio engineering were not improved, and I thought the documentation with the first set was more interesting (more photos of the Salzburg production that the recordings were derived from.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: AndyD. on June 16, 2011, 02:06:55 PM
A Sarge said, when it comes to Rings there are so many that have outstanding features. But I would settle for the Solti on a desert island, despite the often not so great Walkure. It has a lot to do with the entire production of that Ring, as well as the often excellent cast and suitably dynamic conducting.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 16, 2011, 04:29:55 PM
Can't help you. I have Barenboim's Holländer, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Parsifal but all are original issues.

I'm batting 0 for 2 today  :(  I don't have Karajan's Ring box but rather each opera as they were separately released in the 80s.(Left click for full-size pic)

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/may11/P6163035.jpg)


Sarge

Cool picture, Sarge. Thanks for your help.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 16, 2011, 04:30:43 PM
I don't have pictures, but I do have the DG Originals set, as opposed to the original sets. The Karajan set is pretty similar to the Solti Ring (in its most recent incarnation). The four sets are packaged individually in cardboard clamshell boxes with the standard DG Originals layout, with the discs in paper sleeves. Each set has its own booklet—with a picture of Karajan on it, naturally. The big difference is that the Karajan outer box is one of those where the sets slide in and out from the side, while the Solti box is accessed from the top.

I'd say, for what it's worth, that Karajan's set is probably worth the expense if you've got another Ring or two. I tend to think that casting issues are more of a problem than Karajan's ideas about Wagner's score, but even at that, it's not all bad.

You've definitely wetted my appetite for Karajan's Ring now. ;) Thanks for the information.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 16, 2011, 06:00:37 PM
Just bought:



This will be my third Ring. Let the insanity begin. ;) :P
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on June 17, 2011, 07:21:10 AM
You've definitely wetted my appetite for Karajan's Ring now. ;) Thanks for the information.

I think you'll find something to like about it, even if it doesn't become your first-choice set. I'd say that Von Karajan's Rheingold and Walküre are stronger than his Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, but you may find otherwise.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 17, 2011, 06:03:57 PM
I think you'll find something to like about it, even if it doesn't become your first-choice set. I'd say that Von Karajan's Rheingold and Walküre are stronger than his Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, but you may find otherwise.

Well let's not forget I have two other Ring cycles (Barenboim, Solti). ;) It's like I've read many times before: there is no perfect Ring cycle. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 19, 2011, 06:09:35 AM
Been listening to:



Listening to Das Rheingold right now and I'm VERY impressed with this performance so far. I like Karajan's approach here a lot. I'm going to try and listen to Die Walkure next. But I'm pressed for time right now, so it looks like I'll have to listen to it later on tonight, but I'm really digging the Karajan so far.

Special note to Sarge: I can certainly understand why you put Karajan on top now. You're absolutely right. This is a stunning interpretation.

Also a note on the packaging:

There are no jewel cases in this set. Each opera is housed in a cardboard box with a booklet (containing libretto of course) and paper sleeves for the discs. Each set has the covers from the remastered releases of each opera. All of these sets are housed in an outer box. The set didn't get the deluxe treatment Solti's did, but it is still a nice, attractive looking set and well worth the investment.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 19, 2011, 06:53:37 AM
The end of Rheingold, too, is just tremendous in the Karajan. Those Berlin horns even outshine Vienna's.

The "too pretty to be dramatic" criticism is bullshit. Gorgeous it is but when power is called for Karajan delivers.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. This Ring is beautiful, but it doesn't lack dramatic power. I like Karajan's approach and it offers such a nice contrast to the other Ring cycles I own (Barenboim, Solti).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 21, 2011, 04:39:09 PM
Karajan's Ring is incredible. I can surely see what Sarge sees in it. This may end up being my favorite cycle. I like the more refined approach of Karajan, but don't let this description fool you because there is passion, fire, and virtuosity abound in this cycle. Too bad Marvin didn't get anything out of it. :-\ I wonder how Marvin is getting on with it now?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 21, 2011, 11:27:59 PM
Karajan's Ring is incredible. I can surely see what Sarge sees in it. This may end up being my favorite cycle. I like the more refined approach of Karajan, but don't let this description fool you because there is passion, fire, and virtuosity abound in this cycle. Too bad Marvin didn't get anything out of it. :-\ I wonder how Marvin is getting on with it now?

 
 I will probably get chastised for posting this but here goes:

 I find myself in the minority here but Karajan's Siegfried and his das Reingold were the highlights of his cycle. I was sorely disappointed with Die Walkure as I found it too docile for my taste.  I kept yearning for more, more vocal power, more aggression, more oomph! Somehow I felt Karajan was able to "shift gears" when he got to Siegfried which was a pleasant surprise.  Karajan's Götterdämmerung is the most beautiful on record.  That is its selling point.

  Personally I am very much a "vocal" "singer" fan, ie give me a superb cast (Krauss, Solti, Bohm) over a superb orchestra any day. It is here that I find Karajan's Ring most wanting. That said I would never part with it as it is beautifully recorded. Karajan's Ring is unique, one day I hope to appreciate his "chamber" approach for what it is.

  PS: I have yet to listen to Barenboim's Ring  :-\.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 22, 2011, 01:27:22 AM
I find myself in the minority here but Karajan's Siegfried and his das Reingold were the highlights of his cycle

Agreed.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on June 22, 2011, 04:42:37 AM
I know I find myself in the minority when I say Siegfried is my favorite opera of The Ring cycle.   ;D :) 8)

I'm sure if there was a poll to pick your favorite of the four, Siegfried would probably end up in last place.  Having said that Siegfried is my favorite, Die Walkure is a very close second for me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 22, 2011, 05:08:07 AM
I know I find myself in the minority when I say Siegfried is my favorite opera of The Ring cycle.   ;D :) 8)

I'm sure if there was a poll to pick your favorite of the four, Siegfried would probably end up in last place.  Having said that Siegfried is my favorite, Die Walkure is a very close second for me.


Interesting... My first picks are different according to different criteria - musically first pic: Götterdämmerung; emotionally: Die Walküre; dramatically: Das Rheingold; coloristically (from deepest darkness to brightest light): Siegfried.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2011, 07:00:29 AM
 
 I will probably get chastised for posting this but here goes:

 I find myself in the minority here but Karajan's Siegfried and his das Reingold were the highlights of his cycle. I was sorely disappointed with Die Walkure as I found it too docile for my taste.  I kept yearning for more, more vocal power, more aggression, more oomph! Somehow I felt Karajan was able to "shift gears" when he got to Siegfried which was a pleasant surprise.  Karajan's Götterdämmerung is the most beautiful on record.  That is its selling point.

  Personally I am very much a "vocal" "singer" fan, ie give me a superb cast (Krauss, Solti, Bohm) over a superb orchestra any day. It is here that I find Karajan's Ring most wanting. That said I would never part with it as it is beautifully recorded. Karajan's Ring is unique, one day I hope to appreciate his "chamber" approach for what it is.

  PS: I have yet to listen to Barenboim's Ring  :-\.

  marvin

You and I are very different in how we feel about Karajan and probably opera in general. I favor a strong orchestral presence in the music, because, for me, it tells the story just as effectively as the singing does. But I understand the importance of good vocalists, especially in Wagner's operas, but this is not a to end all thing with me as it is with some people.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on June 22, 2011, 09:35:25 AM
I  was sorely disappointed with Die Walkure as I found it too docile for my taste.  I kept yearning for more, more vocal power, more aggression, more oomph! Somehow


Well, there's a better live Karajan Walkure from the Met in 1969 -- Birgit Nilsson,  Jon Vickers, Regine Crespin,  Theo Adam. Let me know if you want a link to the recording. This has a really fantasic Bruenhilde/Siegmund duet

I have yet to listen to Barenboim's Ring


I am no fan of Anne Evans, but I think it's well worth seeing Kupfer's production. It is a major landmark in Wagner productions.

I know I find myself in the minority when I say Siegfried is my favorite opera of The Ring cycle.   ;D :) 8)


I like Siegfried too. I like fairy tales. I like comedies. But I also think that Gotterdammerung, from the Hagen's watch to Siegried's death, is some of  the greatest music ever written.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 22, 2011, 10:21:02 AM
Well, there's a better live Karajan Walkure from the Met in 1969 -- Birgit Nilsson,  Jon Vickers, Regine Crespin,  Theo Adam. Let me know if you want a link to the recording. This has a really fantasic Bruenhilde/Siegmund duet

I am no fan of Anne Evans, but I think it's well worth seeing Kupfer's production. It is a major landmark in Wagner productions.

I like Siegfried too. I like fairy tales. I like comedies. But I also think that Gotterdammerung, from the Hagen's watch to Siegried's death, is some of  the greatest music ever written.

  Please provide a link, thank you.  :)

  What don't you like about Anne Evans?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on June 22, 2011, 11:26:26 AM
  Please provide a link, thank you.  :)

  What don't you like about Anne Evans?

  marvin

She's neither attractive to listen to nor to look at.

I'll PM you the link.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Harry Powell on June 22, 2011, 02:44:02 PM
If you want to listen to the best Karajan Walküre you must try the Third Act from the 1951 Bayreuth. Then I'd single out his La Scala performance in 1958.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2011, 05:34:15 PM

Interesting... My first picks are different according to different criteria - musically first pic: Götterdämmerung; emotionally: Die Walküre; dramatically: Das Rheingold; coloristically (from deepest darkness to brightest light): Siegfried.

I like your description here, Johan. I'm listening to Siegfried right now and it does have a lot of color. The opening prelude sounded like it came from the abyss. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2011, 08:44:41 PM
I think the title of this thread is really interesting because I don't think there is one Ring to rule them all. Just like there's no one Daphnis et Chloe or Rite of Spring to rule them all. Each performance whether it moved you or not offers something different and sometimes this difference can change your perspective of the work. Like for example, Karajan conducting Schoenberg seems like a bad joke, but the honest truth is he finds the inner beauty of the music whereas a conductor like Boulez will bring out the more cerebral side of the music. Both approaches work well but both of them are neither the right way as there isn't a right way to interpret music. You can disagree with an interpretation, but ultimately you're disagreeing with the conductor's personal choices. The music itself is eternal and will continue to thrive regardless who gets their hands, or in this case, baton on it. ;)

Whether someone likes Karajan's, Solti's, or Bohm's Ring cycles is ultimately irrelevant to me, because I look for different things in the music than the other person.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 22, 2011, 11:04:49 PM
I like your description here, Johan. I'm listening to Siegfried right now and it does have a lot of color. The opening prelude sounded like it came from the abyss. :)


Yes, it does. And the Prelude to the Second Act - Alberich keeping watch near Fafner's lair - repeats some of the material, but with an important difference: he sees light in the distance, Wotan approaching on his horse. Later in the act you have the Waldweben, the famous 'Forest Murmurs', the first 'impressionistic' tone-painting in music, and the first premonition of the light that will engulf us when Siegfried kisses Brünnhilde awake in the Third Act.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rubio on June 23, 2011, 09:36:14 PM
I think this about sums it up (Tomlinson's Wotan is indeed one for the ages), and I would only add that, at least when I bought the Warner Classics reissue, the set had the fantastic libretti from the original Teldec releases, which go so far as to mark the Leitmotiven. Quite a far cry from the modern practice of giving us a DVD-ROM with the libretto on it.

I would like to sample the Barenboim Ring, and I would prefer to buy one of the original, separate operas with libretti instead of the recently released slimline, no-frills version. To me it seems very attractive to have libretti with the Leitmotiven marked. So which of the Barenboim Ring operas should I sample first?

 

 

 



Edit. How do I adjust the size of these "asin" images?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 24, 2011, 06:21:19 PM
I would like to sample the Barenboim Ring, and I would prefer to buy one of the original, separate operas with libretti instead of the recently released slimline, no-frills version. To me it seems very attractive to have libretti with the Leitmotiven marked. So which of the Barenboim Ring operas should I sample first?

 

 

 



Edit. How do I adjust the size of these "asin" images?

Why not start with the first opera of the cycle Das Rheingold? I guess I'm a bit of traditionalist in the fact that I like to start with the first work of a cycle. If the opening prelude, which builds up to a huge crescendo, doesn't grab your attention, then I'm not sure anything will. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: listener on June 24, 2011, 10:34:47 PM
It's been a long time since anyone mentioned this book, and not on this thread from what I have seen...
John Culshaw's  Ring Resounding,  OOP but some local stores might have a used copy at a non-astronomical price.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2011, 07:36:16 PM

Yes, it does. And the Prelude to the Second Act - Alberich keeping watch near Fafner's lair - repeats some of the material, but with an important difference: he sees light in the distance, Wotan approaching on his horse. Later in the act you have the Waldweben, the famous 'Forest Murmurs', the first 'impressionistic' tone-painting in music, and the first premonition of the light that will engulf us when Siegfried kisses Brünnhilde awake in the Third Act.

I hate to say it but I find Siegfried to be the weakest opera in the cycle so far or at least musically speaking. Die Wulkure was outstanding as was Das Rheingold, I can't wait to hear Gotterdammerung, especially since you described it as radically different in style compared to Das Rheingold.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 27, 2011, 02:03:41 AM
I would like to sample the Barenboim Ring, and I would prefer to buy one of the original, separate operas with libretti instead of the recently released slimline, no-frills version. To me it seems very attractive to have libretti with the Leitmotiven marked. So which of the Barenboim Ring operas should I sample first?

 

 

 



Edit. How do I adjust the size of these "asin" images?

  Hello Rubio,

  As much as I like owning the original version of CD recordings I politely point out to you the the new "slim line " version of the Barenboim Ring includes the libretti with the leitmotives clearly designated as they appear in the music drama.  I think you will find it cheaper to buy the whole set as opposed to the each music drama "opera" individually.  Just a thought..........

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rubio on June 27, 2011, 06:06:06 AM
  Hello Rubio,

  As much as I like owning the original version of CD recordings I politely point out to you the the new "slim line " version of the Barenboim Ring includes the libretti with the leitmotives clearly designated as they appear in the music drama.  I think you will find it cheaper to buy the whole set as opposed to the each music drama "opera" individually.  Just a thought..........

  marvin

 
 

Is your box set released in 2011 or is it the 2005 version (which included libretti, but now is discontinued).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 06:51:59 AM
  Hello Rubio,

  As much as I like owning the original version of CD recordings I politely point out to you the the new "slim line " version of the Barenboim Ring includes the libretti with the leitmotives clearly designated as they appear in the music drama.  I think you will find it cheaper to buy the whole set as opposed to the each music drama "opera" individually.  Just a thought..........

  marvin

 

Actually, the newly reissued Barenboim set contains NO libretti and only contains production notes. That's about it. The old set, which is out-of-print and very expensive is the one that contains everything in it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 07:25:01 AM
 
Is your box set released in 2011 or is it the 2005 version (which included libretti, but now is discontinued).

Why even get Barenboim's to begin with anyway? I seldom return to Barenboim at all because of the loud, and distracting, stage noises. I'm actually thinking of getting rid of the set. Right now, Karajan and Solti are the best cycles I think. You can buy Karajan's individually and you can also buy Solti's individually, but I think Siegfried from the Solti is out-of-print, but you could probably find it in the used market.

The best thing I did was listen to Sarge. The guy simply knows his Wagner. He was completely right about Karajan. It has become my favorite Ring cycle.

*If anyone is interested in buying my Barenboim then PM me and I'll quote you a price.*
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on June 27, 2011, 08:27:00 AM
Of course, there is always the option of buying one of the books* on the Ring,

I went through a time a few years ago when I tried to read the English language literature on The Ring. I was interested in how to make sense of the plot really -- basic questions like "Why does Bruenhilde die?" I got nothing out of Donington Jungian psychobabble, and Cook's "I saw the World End" is frustratingly incomplete, and anyway I'm not sure that the approach -- looking at how Wagner changes the source material -- is the most fruitful one. Tanner is very  hard philosophically (and I have a doctorate in philosophy!), and anyway it's a bit too short -- just a few pages to each opera )(although there are ideas running through the whole book)

I would recommend the Cook, and Tanner,  but there is one book which shone out as the most well considered IMO  is Philip Kitcher's and Richard Schacht's Finding an Ending(OUP) This is really for people who want to know what The Ring is about. (It also, by the way, includes a really excellent analysis of power in Don Giovanni.)


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 27, 2011, 09:47:50 AM
 

Is your box set released in 2011 or is it the 2005 version (which included libretti, but now is discontinued).

  Sorry I was not aware that there were 2 slim line sets of the Barenboim Ring! The Barenboim set I have has 4 massive libretti one for each opera and the leitmotifs are clearly spelled out as they appear. In addition the notes of the leitmotif are printed which pleased me to see. I guess mine is the 2005 version then!

  Basically I went to HMV on Oxford Street London and bought the Barenboim set on discount for £60  on sale, not knowing what I was getting. Sorry for the confusion.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 09:51:58 AM
  Basically I went to HMV on Oxford Street London and bought the Barenboim set on discount for £60  on sale, not knowing what I was getting. Sorry for the confusion.

  marvin

I really didn't know what I was getting either as none of the reviews I read mentioned stage noise and, if the review did mention it, it didn't really emphasize how bad the noises actually were. I'm discarding this set and I will probably not buy any more Ring cycles as I probably have what many have said to be the best ones: Solti and Karajan. I don't do the historical recording thing, so I'm not interested in this. What I am interested in is minimal noise, orchestral clarity, and a conductor who knows how to navigate through these massive works.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 27, 2011, 11:36:01 AM
I really didn't know what I was getting either as none of the reviews I read mentioned stage noise and, if the review did mention it, it didn't really emphasize how bad the noises actually were. I'm discarding this set and I will probably not buy any more Ring cycles as I probably have what many have said to be the best ones: Solti and Karajan. I don't do the historical recording thing, so I'm not interested in this. What I am interested in is minimal noise, orchestral clarity, and a conductor who knows how to navigate through these massive works.

  I am so sorry to hear of your overall dissatisfaction with the stage noise in the Barenboim Rings. The Solti and Karajan Rings can certainly be sufficient to suit most Wagnerian needs  :). 

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 27, 2011, 11:42:27 AM
I hate to say it but I find Siegfried to be the weakest opera in the cycle so far or at least musically speaking. Die Wulkure was outstanding as was Das Rheingold, I can't wait to hear Gotterdammerung, especially since you described it as radically different in style compared to Das Rheingold.


I agree, but only when you mean the first two acts. They do sometimes give the impression of Wagner rehashing his old motivic material and getting tired of his project. But the Third Act is tremendous. He wrote that 12 years later, of course, after Tristan and Meistersinger intervened. And it shows. In Götterdämmerung there is a drop in inspiration, too, in the final act, with Siegfried's narration. Once he's dead, Wagner's inspiration returns. Long live Hagen.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 12:24:16 PM
  I am so sorry to hear of your overall dissatisfaction with the stage noise in the Barenboim Ring. The Solti and Karajan Rings can certainly be sufficient to suit most Wagnerian needs  :). 

  marvin

Yes, it is disappointing, but I guess if I nobody here wants to buy my set, then I can always use the discs as coasters. ;) Just kidding, I'll probably return to the cycle again at some point.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 12:27:01 PM

I agree, but only when you mean the first two acts. They do sometimes give the impression of Wagner rehashing his old motivic material and getting tired of his project. But the Third Act is tremendous. He wrote that 12 years later, of course, after Tristan and Meistersinger intervened. And it shows. In Götterdämmerung there is a drop in inspiration, too, in the final act, with Siegfried's narration. Once he's dead, Wagner's inspiration returns. Long live Hagen.

Well, I'm more impressed with Gotterdammerung so far. I'll return to Siegfried at some point, but right now I have enough on my plate. I still need to listen to the rest of Gotterdammerung and I haven't heard Tristan und Isolde or Lohengrin yet. I also still need to listen to Karajan's Parsifal.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 02:19:20 PM
(Furtwangler's RAI- God what an awful orchestra  >:() have taught me that investing in a GREAT recording of the Ring Cycle can make all the difference in enjoying this Wagnerian masterpiece.

  marvin   

I was digging through some of the old posts on this thread and I noticed something rather contradictory in what you said here and what you posted to me later:

  Personally I am very much a "vocal" "singer" fan, ie give me a superb cast (Krauss, Solti, Bohm) over a superb orchestra any day.

  marvin

I realize both of these quotes are years apart from each other, but I'm just curious why back in 2008 post you favored a good orchestra whereas now you don't? ??? Please explain.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 27, 2011, 04:27:54 PM
I have officially finished the Ring. What a glorious experience this has been! Now onto Tristan und Isolde. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 27, 2011, 11:03:17 PM
I was digging through some of the old posts on this thread and I noticed something rather contradictory in what you said here and what you posted to me later:

I realize both of these quotes are years apart from each other, but I'm just curious why back in 2008 post you favored a good orchestra whereas now you don't? ??? Please explain.

  The problem with the RAI orchestra is that it is horrible IMHO.  The brass section is so bad to my ears that it sounds like it came from a high school band.  It is true that I favour great singers over a good orchestra but there are limits to how bad an orchestra can be before it becomes a problem for me. I believe the RAI meets those limits. I would  go so far as to say that the RAI orchestra is the worst I have heard on record.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 28, 2011, 12:52:04 AM
 

Is your box set released in 2011 or is it the 2005 version (which included libretti, but now is discontinued).

  Ok Rubio now I am confused  ???, I am looking at the slim line set I have of the Barenboim Ring, you know the one I said had the 4 libretti with the leitmotifs musically (ie musical notes) annotated as they are heard.  There is no 2005 date on there  ???.  It says copyright 2009 Warner Classics & Jazz.  Did you mean 2009 and not 2005? Or is there yet a 3rd version released in 2009?? 

  EDIT: To confuse matters even further it has come to my attention that there is yet another slim line Barenboim Ring version on CD with an extra DVD added showing excerpts from the Levine DVD Ring.  What the hell is going on over at Warner Classics and Teldec? Are they toying with us?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 28, 2011, 01:06:14 AM
EDIT: To confuse matters even further it has come to my attention that there is yet another slim line Barenboim Ring version on CD with an extra DVD added showing excerpts from the Levine DVD Ring.  What the hell is going on over at Warner Classics and Teldec? Are they toying with us?
marvin

The DVD has excerpts from the Kupfer production (Barenboim, not Levine). That's in the box I have: complete libretti with leitmotifs, the CDs in carboard sleeves, and a DVD.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on June 28, 2011, 01:12:30 AM
The DVD has excerpts from the Kupfer production (Barenboim, not Levine). That's in the box I have: complete libretti with leitmotifs, the CDs in carboard sleeves, and a DVD.

Sarge

  Thank you for correcting me Sarge.  I guess you must have the ultimate Barenboim Ring slim line package  :D!

  Seriously though why are they doing this? 3 maybe even 4 different versions, some with libretti one without, and now one with a bonus DVD the rest without, it seems unfair  >:(!

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 28, 2011, 01:29:41 AM
  Seriously though why are they doing this? 3 maybe even 4 different versions, some with libretti one without, and now one with a bonus DVD the rest without, it seems unfair  >:(!

  marvin

 

The original "slim" box had the DVD. I bought it five yeas ago. The latest version (released in Germany last January) omits the DVD.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2011, 07:21:19 AM
  The problem with the RAI orchestra is that it is horrible IMHO.  The brass section is so bad to my ears that it sounds like it came from a high school band.  It is true that I favour great singers over a good orchestra but there are limits to how bad an orchestra can be before it becomes a problem for me. I believe the RAI meets those limits. I would  go so far as to say that the RAI orchestra is the worst I have heard on record.

  marvin

Thanks for clarifying this.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: PSmith08 on June 28, 2011, 09:28:57 AM
I would like to sample the Barenboim Ring, and I would prefer to buy one of the original, separate operas with libretti instead of the recently released slimline, no-frills version. To me it seems very attractive to have libretti with the Leitmotiven marked. So which of the Barenboim Ring operas should I sample first?

I started with Die Walküre in the original Teldec release, largely because that was the one I found first. I also think Walküre has enough to recommend it that I don't mind owning a freestanding Walküre (I would rather not own a freestanding Siegfried, by contrast).

That having been said, I have to believe that there are still copies of the 2005 set floating around at decent prices. I haven't tracked the used market lately, so that's just conjecture on my part, though.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: WagnerNut on July 03, 2011, 12:40:09 PM
Hello everyone!

I have just finished reading through this entire thread (I'm exhausted!) and I thought I would chime in with my first post, having just discovered this forum and registered a few days ago. I have also just added the Karajan Ring to my collection and have played it through twice now. I rank it among the best Rings I own or have heard. I do find some of Karajan's interpretation off-base at times, especially in Rheingold, and I was a little disappointed by the final three minutes of Gotterdammerung, but I loved most of it. For those interested, here is a list of the Ring recordings I own, in order of preference.

Barenboim
Karajan
Janowski
Boulez
Solti
Bohm
Asher Fisch (Adelaide)
Keilberth
Haitink

However, no Ring I have heard fits the bill entirely for my tastes. The perfect Ring for me would be:

Rheingold - Barenboim or Janowski
Walkure - Leinsdorf
Siegfried - Karajan or Janowski
Gotterdammerung - Solti

Of all the Rings I have, the Keilberth is the biggest disappointment after all the hype, though I do not dislike it, and the Karajan is the most pleasant surprise, along with the Janowski.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 03, 2011, 05:43:09 PM
Hello everyone!

I have just finished reading through this entire thread (I'm exhausted!) and I thought I would chime in with my first post, having just discovered this forum and registered a few days ago. I have also just added the Karajan Ring to my collection and have played it through twice now. I rank it among the best Rings I own or have heard. I do find some of Karajan's interpretation off-base at times, especially in Rheingold, and I was a little disappointed by the final three minutes of Gotterdammerung, but I loved most of it. For those interested, here is a list of the Ring recordings I own, in order of preference.

Barenboim
Karajan
Janowski
Boulez
Solti
Bohm
Asher Fisch (Adelaide)
Keilberth
Haitink

However, no Ring I have heard fits the bill entirely for my tastes. The perfect Ring for me would be:

Rheingold - Barenboim
Walkure - Leinsdorf
Siegfried - Karajan
Gotterdammerung - Solti

Of all the Rings I have, the Keilberth is the biggest disappointment after all the hype, though I do not dislike it, and the Karajan is the most pleasant surprise, along with the Janowski.

Jeremy

Welcome aboard, Wagnernut! It's nice to meet another Wagner fan, although I'm a newly formed one as I have only been enjoying his music for month or two now. I own three Ring cycles: Karajan, Solti, and Barenboim. I don't think I really need anymore. I have heard the Karajan all the way through and I have really enjoyed it. The only disappointment for me was the opera Siegfried which I thought was the weakest link of the entire cycle and I'm actually talking about the music itself. It did little for me. Das Rheingold, Die Wulkure, and Gotterdammerung were fantastic operas. I'm not an opera fan, but I do enjoy them on occasion and the thing I love about Wagner's operas are they really are a perfect integration of vocals and music. In many operas you get the sense that the music itself sometimes takes a backseat, but not in Wagner. The music is front and center and there are enough purely orchestral moments to keep me interested.

I came to Wagner rather late having only been familiar with his overtures/preludes and the work Siegfried Idyll. I'm not sure what prompted me to actually buy a Ring cycle, but I'm glad I did, because now I own three! :) I'm also interested in Wagner's other operas too like Parsifal which I have heard twice now and Tannhauser. I'm still making my way through Tristan und Isolde.

Anyway, it's good to have you here.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on July 04, 2011, 07:55:58 PM
Of all the Rings I have, the Keilberth is the biggest disappointment after all the hype, though I do not dislike it, and the Karajan is the most pleasant surprise, along with the Janowski.

Jeremy

Do you mean the one with Hotter singing Gunter?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on July 05, 2011, 12:35:23 AM
Siegfried is the weak link in a lot of cycles. The sets with Sieggies that stood out as being very good to me were Janowski and Goodall.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on July 05, 2011, 03:25:18 AM
Siegfried is the weak link in a lot of cycles. The sets with Sieggies that stood out as being very good to me were Janowski and Goodall.

  Personally I love Solti's Siegfried (very powerful and exciting)! Solti really nailed Siegfried on the head with his brisk tempi and adrenaline charged conducting! There is so much excitement in that recording which suits the action well as it unfolds.  True, Bohm is far better at presenting a more musically unified and seemlessly flowing Siegfried but Solti's take is remarkably captivating in its own way. Sarge  once called Solti's Siegfried a "tour de force" and with swords fashioned, and dragons and trolls slayed et al, a tour de force approach works exceptionally well, IMHO.

  ALL WAGNERIANS HERE ARE FREE TO DISAGREE WITH ME OF COURSE!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 05, 2011, 12:55:03 PM
  ALL WAGNERIANS HERE ARE FREE TO DISAGREE WITH ME OF COURSE!

  marvin

No problem here. ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: WagnerNut on July 05, 2011, 02:45:16 PM
Do you mean the one with Hotter singing Gunter?

Sure, the singing is the best thing about the Keilberth Ring, especially in Siegfried, but I wasn't that impressed by the conducting or the sound quality, exceptional though it was for 1955. I'm just saying it's not the Ring I want to go back to time and time again. That's currently reserved for Karajan, Janowski, Solti, Barenboim and Boulez. Of course my tastes are constantly changing and, I hope, evolving.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: WagnerNut on July 05, 2011, 02:54:26 PM
I came to Wagner rather late having only been familiar with his overtures/preludes and the work Siegfried Idyll. I'm not sure what prompted me to actually buy a Ring cycle, but I'm glad I did, because now I own three! :) I'm also interested in Wagner's other operas too like Parsifal which I have heard twice now and Tannhauser. I'm still making my way through Tristan und Isolde.

Anyway, it's good to have you here.

Thanks for the welcome. Don't forget Lohengrin. I can heartily recommend Semyon Bychkov's amazing recording in addition to the Kempe. And the Donad Runnicles Tristan with Christine Brewer is a beautiful live recording that's not often praised.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Chaszz on July 05, 2011, 03:36:44 PM
Welcome aboard, Wagnernut! It's nice to meet another Wagner fan, although I'm a newly formed one as I have only been enjoying his music for month or two now. I own three Ring cycles: Karajan, Solti, and Barenboim. I don't think I really need anymore. I have heard the Karajan all the way through and I have really enjoyed it. The only disappointment for me was the opera Siegfried which I thought was the weakest link of the entire cycle and I'm actually talking about the music itself. It did little for me. Das Rheingold, Die Wulkure, and Gotterdammerung were fantastic operas. I'm not an opera fan, but I do enjoy them on occasion and the thing I love about Wagner's operas are they really are a perfect integration of vocals and music. In many operas you get the sense that the music itself sometimes takes a backseat, but not in Wagner. The music is front and center and there are enough purely orchestral moments to keep me interested.

I came to Wagner rather late having only been familiar with his overtures/preludes and the work Siegfried Idyll. I'm not sure what prompted me to actually buy a Ring cycle, but I'm glad I did, because now I own three! :) I'm also interested in Wagner's other operas too like Parsifal which I have heard twice now and Tannhauser. I'm still making my way through Tristan und Isolde.

Anyway, it's good to have you here.

The love duet which takes up a big part of Act II of Tristan und Isolde is my personal nomination for the greatest piece of music in Western history. There are no operas in his works from the Dutchman onward which are not very great. Every one of them rewards a Wagner fan with many hours, over many years, of intense pleasure.

The orchestra is more important as almost a separate player or character in Wagner's works because of his deep interest in Greek tragedy. In Greek tragedy the chorus is an additional actor, commenting on and bearing sympathetic or awed witness to the struggles onstage. Wagner uses the orchestra as an analogue of the Greek tragic chorus. Additionally he underlines the genesis of opera itself in Renaissance Italy out of a desire to revive Greek tragedy.

He adds yet another dimension by having the orchestra sometimes comment, via leitmotifs, on feelings and motivations that are not consciously realized by the protagonists, thus pioneering the pre-Freudian exploration of the unconscious in the arts like other 19th century giants such as Dostoyevsky.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 05, 2011, 03:46:45 PM
Thanks for the welcome. Don't forget Lohengrin. I can heartily recommend Semyon Bychkov's amazing recording in addition to the Kempe. And the Donad Runnicles Tristan with Christine Brewer is a beautiful live recording that's not often praised.

All I own is the Solti Lohengrin. I've heard good things about Bychkov's recording of it. But, right now, I have enough on my plate as far as Wagner goes. I still haven't made it through Tristan und Isolde yet and haven't even started listening to Lohengrin. At some point, I'm going to revisit Karajan's Ring cycle as it was very enjoyable experience. I do need to give the Solti Ring a spin as well.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 05, 2011, 03:49:08 PM
The love duet which takes up a big part of Act II of Tristan und Isolde is my personal nomination for the greatest piece of music in Western history. There are no operas in his works from the Dutchman onward which are not very great. Every one of them rewards a Wagner fan with many hours, over many years, of intense pleasure.

The orchestra is more important as almost a separate player or character in Wagner's works because of his deep interest in Greek tragedy. In Greek tragedy the chorus is an additional actor, commenting on and bearing sympathetic or awed witness to the struggles onstage. Wagner uses the orchestra as an analogue of the Greek tragic chorus. Additionally he underlines the genesis of opera itself in Renaissance Italy out of a desire to revive Greek tragedy.

He adds yet another dimension by having the orchestra sometimes comment, via leitmotifs, on feelings and motivations that are not consciously realized by the protagonists, thus pioneering the pre-Freudian exploration of the unconscious in the arts like other 19th century giants such as Dostoyevsky.

I agree with this. My primary concern in regards to Wagner is time. I have heard all of the Ring, Tannhauser, and Parsifal so far. All of these were enjoyable. I did not like Siegfried though. I found it to be the weakest musically of the entire Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on July 05, 2011, 06:13:34 PM
Siegfried rocks.....and yes, Marvin, especially Solti's Siegfried.  The first time I ever listened to Siegfried, it was Solti's, and I listened to the whole thing twice in one day!   :)

But hey, everyone has their own favorite cup of tea, and I'm under no illusion that Siegfried is the most popular of the 4, in fact, I know, in general, it is the least popular.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 06, 2011, 06:33:59 AM
Sarge  once called Solti's Siegfried a "tour de force" and with swords fashioned, and dragons and trolls slayed et al, a tour de force approach works exceptionally well, IMHO.

Yes, Siegfried is my favorite part of the Solti cycle. Krauss my favorite Siegfried of the twelve I own.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on July 06, 2011, 09:38:19 AM
I don't like the singing on any modern recordings I have heard, whole or in part, though see below*. I can take the orchestra on the Furtwängler (it does sound better on the Gebhardt than the EMI), the Krauss or the '53 Keilberth, because of the total vision of the work. It may help that I have experienced the work in the theatre several times. I cannot abide Solti, frenetic and brassy, singers too old (Hotter, Windgassen) or too brilliant and cold (Nilsson). *On DVD I did enjoy the Copenhagen Ring taken as a whole. The Chereau/Bayreuth is an amazing visual interpretation, I certainly take Boulez's conducting over Solti's any day, but most of the singing...(discreet curtain is drawn)...
                                                                   Just to say where I am coming from.
If you enjoy great singing, then the 1949 Moralt may be for you: Treptow is very good, ditto Franz, and Grob-Prandl is exceptional as Brünnhilde. The orchestra is not bad at all for the time. All can be found here: http://maisumadofalsario.blogspot.com/search/label/Wagner
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Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on July 07, 2011, 06:44:36 AM
I don't like the singing on any modern recordings I have heard, whole or in part, though see below*. I can take the orchestra on the Furtwängler (it does sound better on the Gebhardt than the EMI), the Krauss or the '53 Keilberth, because of the total vision of the work. It may help that I have experienced the work in the theatre several times. I cannot abide Solti, frenetic and brassy, singers too old (Hotter, Windgassen) or too brilliant and cold (Nilsson). *On DVD I did enjoy the Copenhagen Ring taken as a whole. The Chereau/Bayreuth is an amazing visual interpretation, I certainly take Boulez's conducting over Solti's any day, but most of the singing...(discreet curtain is drawn)...
                                                                   Just to say where I am coming from.
If you enjoy great singing, then the 1949 Moralt may be for you: Treptow is very good, ditto Franz, and Grob-Prandl is exceptional as Brünnhilde. The orchestra is not bad at all for the time. All can be found here: http://maisumadofalsario.blogspot.com/search/label/Wagner

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  Hello mjwal  Thank you for posting the link  Out of curiosity I downloaded Moralt's Das Reingold and I noticed that on iTunes the tracks do not play gaplessly. Are you able to get them to play gaplessly, IE no breaks between tracks?  If so how?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on July 07, 2011, 08:01:05 AM
I'm afraid there is a short but noticeable gap between the tracks on all my players (VLC, Movieplayer and Rhythmbox) - no such thing as a free lunch after all  ;)
mj
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on July 08, 2011, 08:47:55 AM
Of all the Rings I have, the Keilberth is the biggest disappointment after all the hype, though I do not dislike it, and the Karajan is the most pleasant surprise, along with the Janowski.

Jeremy
Welcome to GMG, Jeremy. I, too, am rather fond of Janowski's Ring.  How nice to see it even mentioned here among the usual suspects.  I've not heard Karajan's (I'm hardly fanatical about Wagner, and less so about Herbie), but it would not surprise me if it were to my taste since some of Karajan's opera recordings are among my faves.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: WagnerNut on July 08, 2011, 03:57:56 PM
Welcome to GMG, Jeremy. I, too, am rather fond of Janowski's Ring.  How nice to see it even mentioned here among the usual suspects.  I've not heard Karajan's (I'm hardly fanatical about Wagner, and less so about Herbie), but it would not surprise me if it were to my taste since some of Karajan's opera recordings are among my faves.

Thanks, David. The Rings I keep coming back to as favorites are Janowski's, Karajan's and Barenboim's, each with their own weaknesses and strengths, of course. However, I love Solti's Gotterdammerung and Leinsdorf's Walkure more than any other. I often dream for a Leinsdorf Ring, and wonder, if only...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 09, 2011, 02:26:34 AM
I don't like the singing on any modern recordings I have heard...

How many have you heard?

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 09, 2011, 02:44:40 AM
I downloaded Moralt's Das Reingold and I noticed that on iTunes the tracks do not play gaplessly. Are you able to get them to play gaplessly, IE no breaks between tracks?  If so how?

I don't know which is worse: a gap between each track or no gaps at all, even between scenes and acts. On my copy of the Moralt Ring

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2010/WagnerMoralt.jpg)

all the tracks run together. But mjwal is correct: if you enjoy singing this is a must-have Ring, featuring stars of the golden age (30s, 40s). The singers lead. Moralt indulges them by molding the orchestra around their phrasing. Definitely one of my favorite Rings and the sound (except for Act III Walküre) is very good for the time (1948/49).

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on July 09, 2011, 04:03:06 AM
How many have you heard?

Sarge
After hearing/seeing Boulez plus most of the Decca Solti (whose Ring I saw at Covent Garden in the 60s) and DG Karajan on LP at other people's places - only in excerpts on the radio or TV: Böhm, Levine, Haitink, Barenboim. I am rather old fogeyish, I admit, but also have neither the time nor the money to acquire and/or listen to the whole thing with people like Behrens, Marton et al. It's different in the opera house, where I have put up with a lot over the years - but there's always at least one really good singer, as in Berlin recently with Rheingold, where Kränzle was the best Alberich in (my) memory. But if you as a lover of good singing can recommend a recent recording on CD/DVD to me, I will try it (by hook or by crook).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on July 09, 2011, 06:36:32 AM
I am rather old fogeyish,

Who's your favourite Siegmund?

I think Schorr is the best Wotan I have ever heard -- due respect to Hotter. But AFAIK the only Schorr's Walkure record  is cut badly.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on July 09, 2011, 09:22:02 AM
The best bargain on a Ring I ever got was the El Anillo Ring. I got it on CDR for ten dollars, and it was a very respectable live performance with a great cast.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on July 10, 2011, 01:17:34 AM
I don't know which is worse: a gap between each track or no gaps at all, even between scenes and acts. On my copy of the Moralt Ring

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2010/WagnerMoralt.jpg)

all the tracks run together. But mjwal is correct: if you enjoy singing this is a must-have Ring, featuring stars of the golden age (30s, 40s). The singers lead. Moralt indulges them by molding the orchestra around their phrasing. Definitely one of my favorite Rings and the sound (except for Act III Walküre) is very good for the time (1948/49).

Sarge


  Hello Sarge, a gap between the tracks is DEFINITELY worst than no gaps at all.  In fact I like the idea of having no gaps at all between scenes/acts etc. Gaps between tracks, and they are very frequent distrupts the overall flow of Wagner's work.  That said I just downloaded Die Walkure thanks again to mjwal  8).  I really like this Ring!

  amazon.co.uk have used copies of the Moralt Ring for £50, new copies are out of my price range unfortunately.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on July 10, 2011, 03:02:04 AM
Who's your favourite Siegmund?

I think Schorr is the best Wotan I have ever heard -- due respect to Hotter. But AFAIK the only Schorr's Walküre record  is cut badly.
Good question. As you mention the Schorr et al. cut version of Walküre, which I grew up with (78s in a big album), it is tempting to say Walter Widdop, whose "grüßt mich in Walhall froh eine Frau?" passage is the most thrillingly heartbreaking rendition I have ever heard. Then there is the Melchior/Lehmann 1.Aufzug plus the later bits, and the exciting live of Act 2. with Reiner , ruined by the radio announcer smoothly signing off just as Wotan is going to sing "Geh hin, Knecht" etc, plus the Leinsdorf, where Melchior is still beyond anything we can hope to hear today, though his tone is beginning to harden and lose its mellifluousness. As you say, Schorr was the greatest Wotan, even in 1936 when his upper register was somewhat challenged: was Melchior the greatest Siegmund? I would have to say yes: heroic, sensitive, perfectly sung and articulated on the line - and we have several recordings that bear witness to it. Nevertheless, I must say I have always been more attracted to the more intellectual, tormented Siegmund of Furtwänglers late, great but flawed Walküre ('54), Ludwig Suthaus, though he was nearing the end of a career that only the denizens of Berlin through the 40s could appreciate the full glory of (see Fischer-Dieskau's memoirs - and if you can listen to the 1947 Tristan 2 + 3, you know how honeyed and almost Tauberesque his legato could be) Unfortunately I've never heard the '51 Fricsay with him. Then, also gripping though not dark enough for me, the two recordings I know with Gunther Treptow , the Moralt Ring of the late 40s and the La Scala Furtwängler of 1950, where he is still exciting if no longer quite at his best (and he could be quite bad, even in the 40s, and never as characterful as Suthaus). After that there was Vinay, so reliable and intensely if unremittingly tragic, Vickers, I suppose, exciting but to my ears annoying, then - nothing. (Peter Hoffmann? Exactly.) I must confess that I have not yet heard Jonas Kaufmann - perhaps he is the promised saviour?
Listening again now to the Leinsdorf "Todesverkündigung" I am impressed by Lawrence and moved by Melchior's interjections - and he really lets it rip for "empfängt Siegmund Sieglinde dort?", where he projects a sort of Promethean agony as he prepares to renounce what Brünnhilde calls "ewige Wonne" (Mödl remains my ideal in this key phrase of the whole cycle: So little do you care for eternal bliss? Zizek is good on this: http://www.lacan.com/zizekopera.htm  - exactly my feelings when I first heard the Furtwängler recording back in the early 60s).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2011, 04:06:40 AM
Hello Sarge, a gap between the tracks is DEFINITELY worst than no gaps at all.

True, but it is annoying to have to sit there with the remote in hand, trying to beat the player before it goes from Act I Walküre to Act II with no audible break. I need a break at that point; need to take a few deep breaths, have a moment of silence before plunging into the the next act.

amazon.co.uk have used copies of the Moralt Ring for £50, new copies are out of my price range unfortunately.

Yeah, it looks pretty expensive now everywhere. When I first heard about it (five or six years ago), it was available very cheap. I paid something like 22 Euro.
The operas are available individually from Myto. Amazon France has some sellers (http://www.amazon.fr/gp/search/ref=sr_gnr_fkmr1?rh=i%3Apopular%2Ck%3Awagner+moralt&keywords=wagner+moralt&ie=UTF8&qid=1310302908) that aren't charging an arm and leg.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2011, 05:47:20 AM
After hearing/seeing Boulez plus most of the Decca Solti (whose Ring I saw at Covent Garden in the 60s) and DG Karajan on LP at other people's places - only in excerpts on the radio or TV: Böhm, Levine, Haitink, Barenboim...But if you as a lover of good singing can recommend a recent recording on CD/DVD to me, I will try it (by hook or by crook).

You've already heard some of my favorites so there's no point trying to convince you that Behrens (Levine), Vickers, Janowitz and Dernesch (Karajan) and Tomlinson (Bareboim) are worth hearing. We agree about the Solti Ring (along with Haitink the least favorite of the twelve Rings I own); agree about the greatness of Furtwängler Rome.

Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 10, 2011, 05:57:15 AM
Had a strange dream last night about this set and woman giving it to me telling me I would enjoy it:



Any thoughts on this set? I've the pluses (great orchestral playing) and the minuses (less than ideal singers), so I was just curious about it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2011, 06:25:49 AM
Had a strange dream last night about this set and woman giving it to me telling me I would enjoy it:



Any thoughts on this set? I've the pluses (great orchestral playing) and the minuses (less than ideal singers), so I was just curious about it.

There's half a great Ring there: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung are superb, and they don't have a problem with stage noise that so bothers you about Barenboim. Sell Danny Boy, buy Jimmy  ;)  (If it were anyone else but you I'd recommend first investing in Krauss, Moralt or Furtwängler before Levine. But I know you're not interested in going the historical route.)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 10, 2011, 06:29:44 AM
Had a strange dream last night about this set and woman giving it to me telling me I would enjoy it:

Any thoughts on this set? I've the pluses (great orchestral playing) and the minuses (less than ideal singers), so I was just curious about it.

Well, Levine's Ring may be devoid of singers with 'star power' but that's not the same as inadequate singing. No worries there.

Overall, to my ears, the singing - prompted by Levine - gets to the heart of Wagner's vision and gives goosebumps.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 10, 2011, 06:32:35 AM
There's half a great Ring there: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung are superb, and they don't have a problem with stage noise that so bothers you about Barenboim. Sell Danny Boy, buy Levine  ;)  (If it were anyone else but you I'd recommend first investing in Krauss, Moralt or Furtwängler before Levine. But I know you're not interested in going the historical route.)

Sarge

Thanks Sarge, yes, I'm not interested in historical recordings, especially Wagner, because I want excellent audio. Interpretatively, Barenboim is excellent, but that damn stage noise was louder than the vocalists and the orchestra, so it was just distracting. I don't want to go on and on about this, but it just made me seek out an alternative quickly, which I'm glad I did. I think Karajan's cycle is my favorite right now with Solti's behind it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 10, 2011, 06:34:04 AM
Well, Levine's Ring may be devoid of singers with 'star power' but that's not the same as inadequate singing. No worries there.

Overall, to my ears, the singing - prompted by Levine - gets to the heart of Wagner's vision and gives goosebumps.

Well it's definitely the next Ring I will buy, that is, if I buy another one. Thanks for opinion on this cycle.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2011, 06:38:52 AM
Well, Levine's Ring may be devoid of singers with 'star power' but that's not the same as inadequate singing. No worries there.

Overall, to my ears, the singing - prompted by Levine - gets to the heart of Wagner's vision and gives goosebumps.

I agree. I like especially Behren's Brünnhilde, Goldberg's Siegfried (a true tenor, sounding much like Windgassen), Wlaschiha's Alberich, Studer's Gutrune.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on July 10, 2011, 09:24:45 AM
I second Melchior as the greatest Wagnerian tenor. He isn't thought of as a good actor, but I think that was entirely visual. His narratives on the Walter Walkure act I are amazing.

As for the Levine Ring, my objection is more with the conducting than the singing. The whole thing is boring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2011, 10:45:48 AM
As for the Levine Ring, my objection is more with the conducting than the singing. The whole thing is boring.

I agree Rheingold and Walküre are relatively boring but I think he redeems himself, and redeems his conception, with the last two.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on July 11, 2011, 07:20:56 AM
Just bought my fourth Ring cycle:


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Bill H. on July 12, 2011, 12:27:44 PM
True, but it is annoying to have to sit there with the remote in hand, trying to beat the player before it goes from Act I Walküre to Act II with no audible break. I need a break at that point; need to take a few deep breaths, have a moment of silence before plunging into the the next act.

Yeah, it looks pretty expensive now everywhere. When I first heard about it (five or six years ago), it was available very cheap. I paid something like 22 Euro.
The operas are available individually from Myto. Amazon France has some sellers (http://www.amazon.fr/gp/search/ref=sr_gnr_fkmr1?rh=i%3Apopular%2Ck%3Awagner+moralt&keywords=wagner+moralt&ie=UTF8&qid=1310302908) that aren't charging an arm and leg.

Sarge

IIRC, the Moralt Ring on Myto is available from Berkshire Record Outlet for about US$5 a disk. 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 10, 2011, 01:15:34 AM
Just bought my fourth Ring cycle:



Good choice, Levine's Ring is beautiful! Once I saw the DVD, it was a spectacular performance :D

Ilaria
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on September 10, 2011, 04:07:07 PM
Thanks, David. The Rings I keep coming back to as favorites are Janowski's, Karajan's and Barenboim's, each with their own weaknesses and strengths, of course. However, I love Solti's Gotterdammerung and Leinsdorf's Walkure more than any other. I often dream for a Leinsdorf Ring, and wonder, if only...
Jeremy, if you're still around I thought you might be interested to learn that I heard Karajan's Rheingold the other day and thought it was just beautiful.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 10, 2011, 11:08:14 PM
It was such an extraordinary thing to have the prospect of a Ring cycle performed in the north of England that it never occurred to me it would turn out to be less than a major event, personally. But last night I went to Opera North's Rheingold - which has received excellent reviews - and (I feel almost ashamed of myself to say it) it somehow seemed a bit 'ordinary'.

They'd tried so hard that I feel guilty about my lacklustre response, and I wonder if it was really just me failing to rise to the occasion. It was a concert performance, but they used three large video screens at the back showing appropriate images - water, fire, molten gold, sky etc - which was very effective. And the cast 'semi-acted' in front of the orchestra (rather than just standing and singing, if you see what I mean). The Rhinemaidens sang pleasantly - but really that makes my point: they sang merely pleasantly. Wotan was solid, but solid in a wooden sort of way. Some of the longer conversations seemed interminably long. The orchestra rose splendidly to meet occasional occasions, but there were stretches where they seemed to be just playing the notes. So the rainbow bridge section, for example, wasn't so much 'Bam! Wow! Oh my God! Incredible!', as 'Oh how interesting: a rainbow bridge'.

But at the end everyone seemed to think it was marvellous, and cheered, and clapped, and I felt a bit like someone who'd been at a great party but met all the wrong people. It's possible that this feeling of anticlimax is entirely of my own making. Maybe I've listened to too many different recorded Rheingolds in the last year or two, and am temporarily sated with it.

It lasted two and a half hours, but it felt like four. It might have been better not to have posted on this at all (to be consistent with my belief that negative reviews are usually worthless, reflecting the reviewer more than the reviewed), and I suppose my chief motivation was to unburden some of this morning's flatness and sense of disappointment. Even so, I can't help feeling uneasy about the prospects for Walkure, which they're doing next year.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Fl9PGS2szp4
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on September 16, 2011, 01:04:53 AM
Sometimes Wagner mystifies me and I think that to an extent my reactions are dictated by my own mood. Several years ago I attended Meistersingers in concert performance at the Edinburgh Festival. I would have paid money to get out of there, I have rarely been so overwhelmingly bored. As with your experience, the performance was warmly received. I felt it would be a long time until I again exposed myself to more than highlights. Having the libretto just made me yearn for them to get a move on, as my eye ran ahead to the acres of text to come.

And yet, and yet. Less than a year later I was listening to Karajan's Dresden recording and was entranced.

I don't know whether Karajan had the secret of alchemy. Perhaps the Edinburgh performance really was boring, but others were more inclined to find the good in it.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on September 16, 2011, 03:02:05 AM
Sometimes Wagner mystifies me and I think that to an extent my reactions are dictated by my own mood. Several years ago I attended Meistersingers in concert performance at the Edinburgh Festival. I would have paid money to get out of there, I have rarely been so overwhelmingly bored. As with your experience, the performance was warmly received. I felt it would be a long time until I again exposed myself to more than highlights. Having the libretto just made me yearn for them to get a move on, as my eye ran ahead to the acres of text to come.

And yet, and yet. Less than a year later I was listening to Karajan's Dresden recording and was entranced.

I don't know whether Karajan had the secret of alchemy. Perhaps the Edinburgh performance really was boring, but others were more inclined to find the good in it.

An interesting account, that. Certainly my mood has something to do with it. Although my wife agreed with me that it was a lacklustre performance, she wasn't bored by it herself, and for her the two and a half hours passed like any other two and a half hours.

Yesterday I thought I'd allowed enough time to pass before just doing a check - and so put on the first CD of Solti's Rheingold. I found it electrifying. So I'm inclined to think that (a) the performance the other night really wasn't all that great; but (b) as with your Edinburgh audience, others were more able to find the good in it than I.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mandryka on September 16, 2011, 09:05:41 AM
I think Rheingold is hard to pull off because you have that very very long scene at the start, and then just when you think it's all over -- when the whole business about the gold and Fricka and the giants and the apples  seems sorted -  you actually have another 30 minutes or so left.  But it can work, and the Solti recording is very good.  A good Loge is important. In a prom production about 10 years ago with Rattle the whole thing was carried off by a Kazakhstanian singer called Oleg Bryjak who played Alberich wonderfully -- he was the real star, and made the whole evening just sparkle. Everyone else by comparison was was solid, if you know what I mean. I hadn't heard Oleg Bryjak  before and I haven't heard him since -- the didn't use him in the later operas unfortunately but I would go out of my way to see him again.

Opera's always like that. 90 per cent of the time it's not the most exciting experience. Maybe one time in 10  it is just wonderful. And even the greatest operas with all star casts can fall completely flat on the night. I remember a Figaro  with Haitink and John Tomlinson about 25 years ago at Covent Garden which was so boring I thought I was going to die . . .

I think you've probably got a greater chance of a successful evening in a concert performance.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on September 16, 2011, 09:56:47 AM
.

Opera's always like that. 90 per cent of the time it's not the most exciting experience. Maybe one time in 10  it is just wonderful. And even the greatest operas with all star casts can fall completely flat on the night. I remember a Figaro  with Haitink and John Tomlinson about 25 years ago at Covent Garden which was so boring I thought I was going to die . . .



A good observation. Many years ago I walked out on a Figaro, only occasion I have done this....despite loving the music. It was the conductor that time, and I suggest it was Haitink's fault when you were so bored.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: WagnerNut on September 20, 2011, 03:05:04 PM
Jeremy, if you're still around I thought you might be interested to learn that I heard Karajan's Rheingold the other day and thought it was just beautiful.

David, glad to hear it. I really think Karajan's Ring is my favorite at this point. Some say his Siegfried is weak but I don't agree. Personally, I prefer his Siegfried to any other I've heard. His Walkure is stunning, almost equaling Leinsdorf's to my ears. Also, I find the sound quality of the newly remastered version to be truly superb. If I had to pick just one Ring, it would be Karajan's. I'm just glad I don't have to!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Rinaldo on September 23, 2011, 09:01:12 PM
I was browsing Amazon and spotted this:


Release date says October 17, but no further details. What really caught my eye was the price - 13£! What's the catch?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Renfield on September 23, 2011, 09:17:39 PM
I was browsing Amazon and spotted this:



Release date says October 17, but no further details. What really caught my eye was the price - 13£! What's the catch?

My eyes are too tired to make out the tiny print in the back, but I reckon it's the La Scala one (vs. the EMI-copyrighted RAI version).

[Which is apparently not copyrighted after all - see below. Please disregard the rest of this post. :)]

If so, it's also available in this perfectly satisfying incarnation:




Re: the price, I'm inclined to suspect it reflects a lack of... attention in the transfer used. However, when we discussed the issue of such rough-'n'-ready, quasi-pirate (I still claim) transfers here before, plenty of people found them perfectly acceptable, and non-suspect.

Clearly, I'm not one of them! But your YMMV, and it certainly is a pretty small price to pay to find out. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 24, 2011, 05:34:20 AM
I was browsing Amazon and spotted this:


Release date says October 17, but no further details. What really caught my eye was the price - 13£! What's the catch?

Not likely there's a catch. It's just another reissue of the now out of copyright EMI Ring (the other reissue I know of is on the Gebhardt label in purportedly better sound than EMI).

But questions about the restoration would be my main concern, especially at that super budget price.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Renfield on September 24, 2011, 12:46:07 PM
Not likely there's a catch. It's just another reissue of the now out of copyright EMI Ring (the other reissue I know of is on the Gebhardt label in purportedly better sound than EMI).

But questions about the restoration would be my main concern, especially at that super budget price.

Aha! I stand corrected: I didn't know that crucial bit of info, there, and thought Gebhardt had licensed it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on September 24, 2011, 06:32:21 PM
Are y'all sure about that out of copyright?  Because checking the liner notes for the budgety re-release of the RAI Ring EMI put out earlier this year, there is, besides a copyright date of 1991 for the digital remastering, a general copyright date of 1972.

Which suggests that EMI thinks it has some sort of copyright beyond the digital remastering.

But it also mentions that the original release was issued by arrangement with RAI.  So perhaps the original RAI tapes are not copyrighted, but the EMI masterings are?

At any rate, unless the transfers are absolutely horrible, 13GBP seems a pretty good bargain for this recording of the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 24, 2011, 09:51:57 PM
If there's any kind of copyright it doesn't appear anyone's interested in enforcing it. It turns out that Pristine Audio (http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO060.php) (<--- link) has released yet another transfer of this RAI Ring. That's three recent reissues now that I know of. (Four if you count EMI's own recent release).

I don't know of any recordings IN copyright that get distributed so liberally amongst competing labels. Especially when a major is involved. And if all these labels are licensing from Italian Radio simultaneously it'd be an odd arrangement. I would think something in the way of exclusively would be requisite for bothering to license at all.

But to further muddy the waters, in that Pristine Audio link, Pristine relates that they've chosen for their source material none other than EMI's own 1972 LP pressings! (1972 was the date of origin for initial release). Apparently it's the best source available.

So if EMI holds an actual copyright to their original LP masterings they're either A) not afraid to hand out freebies, or B) licensing their masterings to a competing record label for a duplicate reissue of something they've just released themselves.

I don't personally see the likelihood in either scenario.

But all my pontificating aside, the date of origin for the original RAI broadcasts/recordings was 1953. Well past the fifty year cutoff for copyright.

However....further comments?


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mjwal on September 25, 2011, 05:35:04 AM
The EU Council has just voted to extend copyright from 50 to 70 years, so some firms specialising in releasing stuff from the 50s are going to go out of business. Whether any actual enforcing will take place is dubious - certainly, they don't seem to sue people downloading non-pop material from the net - probably not worth it.
Pristine claim theirs is the best transfer of the '53 Furtwängler Ring. I can only go by samples on their website, but it sounds over-filtered to me. Siegfried's forging song sounds more in-your-face exciting on the original EMI LPs, and the Gebhardt sounds even better. It doesn't sound too technically processed to me. My only reservation, in fact, has to do with Windgassen in Walküre: I don't like him in this role anyway (Suthaus or Vinay are much better, to stick to the 50s), but the Gebhardt has his voice sounding sort of phoned-in with a loudspeaker. As it is the only case of this happening on the set I can only assume this was in the source material. As I have neither the EMI LPs or CDs of Walküre, I can't tell. It's a minor drawback - listen to Siegmund/Suthaus '54 and then the rest '53, because both Mödl and Frantz were better a year earlier, and Furt wangled a bit more fire out of the orchestra.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on September 25, 2011, 05:51:14 AM
If there's any kind of copyright it doesn't appear anyone's interested in enforcing it. It turns out that Pristine Audio (http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Vocal/PACO060.php) (<--- link) has released yet another transfer of this RAI Ring. That's three recent reissues now that I know of. (Four if you count EMI's own recent release).

I don't know of any recordings IN copyright that get distributed so liberally amongst competing labels. Especially when a major is involved. And if all these labels are licensing from Italian Radio simultaneously it'd be an odd arrangement. I would think something in the way of exclusively would be requisite for bothering to license at all.

But to further muddy the waters, in that Pristine Audio link, Pristine relates that they've chosen for their source material none other than EMI's own 1972 LP pressings! (1972 was the date of origin for initial release). Apparently it's the best source available.

So if EMI holds an actual copyright to their original LP masterings they're either A) not afraid to hand out freebies, or B) licensing their masterings to a competing record label for a duplicate reissue of something they've just released themselves.

I don't personally see the likelihood in either scenario.

But all my pontificating aside, the date of origin for the original RAI broadcasts/recordings was 1953. Well past the fifty year cutoff for copyright.

However....further comments?

I think I see a thread out of the labyrinth here.  I think EMI has been licensing older remasterings when a newer remastering exists.  Evidence:  You can get the 1986 EMI remastering of the Furtwangler Tristan as a release from Brilliant (see the Brilliant Opera Collection)--but the 1990s remastering remains in EMIs catalogue.  A similar situation exists with the Callas Tosca available from Brilliant, and possibly/probably others. (I know about those two because I have the Brilliant versions). The most recent EMI release of the RAI ring uses the 1991 remastering; on this pattern we can envisage EMI licensing the 1972 masters while keeping the 1991 version for its own catalogue.

My only reservation, in fact, has to do with Windgassen in Walküre: I don't like him in this role anyway (Suthaus or Vinay are much better, to stick to the 50s), but the Gebhardt has his voice sounding sort of phoned-in with a loudspeaker. As it is the only case of this happening on the set I can only assume this was in the source material. As I have neither the EMI LPs or CDs of Walküre, I can't tell.

I don't remember anything like that from the EMI CDs--but it's been a little while already since I've listened.  I'll try to listen to some of it in the next few days and report back if I hear the problem you're talking about.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 25, 2011, 06:38:35 PM
The EU Council has just voted to extend copyright from 50 to 70 years....

Interesting, but perhaps therein lies the gray area. Not every country in the world abides by the EU's 70 year period. A large portion still hold to the 50 year period, which might provide advantageous loopholes.

At any rate, the RAI Ring doesn't act like a recording under copyright protection. And since there was lag time before the EU's 70 year cutoff became active perhaps that gave footing to any number of labels to start issuing - and keep issuing - recordings based on the 50 year cutoff.

Dunno...but record companies are doing it as we speak.


Quote
Whether any actual enforcing will take place is dubious...

That may very well be the impetus behind all of it...


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 25, 2011, 07:49:52 PM
I think I see a thread out of the labyrinth here.  I think EMI has been licensing older remasterings when a newer remastering exists.  Evidence:  You can get the 1986 EMI remastering of the Furtwangler Tristan as a release from Brilliant (see the Brilliant Opera Collection)--but the 1990s remastering remains in EMIs catalogue.  A similar situation exists with the Callas Tosca available from Brilliant, and possibly/probably others. (I know about those two because I have the Brilliant versions). The most recent EMI release of the RAI ring uses the 1991 remastering; on this pattern we can envisage EMI licensing the 1972 masters while keeping the 1991 version for its own catalogue.

Could be, I suppose. Or it could be companies like Brilliant simply forgo anything in the way of SOTA remastering and make do with the masters EMI hands them, with an eye towards keeping their releases at such a low price point.

In contrast to a label like Testament who licenses from EMI but isn't satisfied until they painstakingly remaster everything they issue. Hence the higher price tag compared to Brilliant.

Couldn't say for certain...

Anyway, you may well be right, JS. :)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Renfield on September 25, 2011, 09:21:21 PM
I'd also expect Brilliant to go for the  maximum-bang-for-their-buck approach; but that's precisely why it makes sense that they'd deliberate license last year's remasterings. For all their 'budgetness', Brilliant Classics issues aren't sloppy. :)

Jeffrey's reasoning is quite convincing, IMO.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Brahmsian on November 04, 2011, 04:36:27 AM
I think Sarge should start a Ring Deathmatch, on an Act-by-Act basis, with all his 20 different Ring cycles!  That should keep him busy!!  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 29, 2012, 06:25:57 AM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now... am going to ask my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present, I figured that my monthly pocket money of around £15 is not quite enough... ;)

But, which one?!!!

Karajan, Solti or Barenboim?





Ilaria and John have both told me Karajan, but then I see other reviews saying that Solti's Ring is the greatest achievement in recording history... so confusing!!!! Which one to get?!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on January 29, 2012, 06:45:00 AM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now... am going to ask my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present, I figured that my monthly pocket money of around £15 is not quite enough... ;)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31wx3Xmy6ML._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

14.99 at Amazon. (Girl not included.)

However, with two-months' worth of pocket money, you could get Böhm's Ring -- which comes highly recommended by marvin brown, the resident Wagnerian -- and save a few Pounds.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2012, 07:13:06 AM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now... am going to ask my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present, I figured that my monthly pocket money of around £15 is not quite enough... ;)

But, which one?!!!

Karajan, Solti or Barenboim?



Ilaria and John have both told me Karajan, but then I see other reviews saying that Solti's Ring is the greatest achievement in recording history... so confusing!!!! Which one to get?!  :)

Karajan's Ring is the best Ring I've heard. The others I own are Solti, Levine, and Barenboim. I don't like the Barenboim because of all the stage noise and it's very distracting. Don't let anybody else tell you the stage noises weren't obtrusive, because they most certainly were! So I quickly remedied Barenboim's Ring with Karajan's and the difference was unbelievable. I can't say I'm that impressed with the Solti now after hearing the whole cycle. I think Karajan's approach worked much better than Solti who I thought was completely over-the-top and not in an enjoyable way.

But buying a Ring cycle comes down to personal subjectivity as with anything. Sarge actually recommended me the Karajan last year and I'm glad I took the plunge, because it was an incredible listening experience. Everything just felt right in his performances. When I take a vacation in the summer, I'm planning on making my way through Karajan's again.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on January 29, 2012, 07:43:38 AM

However, with two-months' worth of pocket money, you could get Böhm's Ring -- which comes highly recommended by marvin brown, the resident Wagnerian -- and save a few Pounds.

Second the Bohm.  Or, for about three months worth of pocket money, the Furtwangler/RAI ring.
Two bonuses to these are that you will eventually want to get them, anyway, unlike the Karajan (sorry, John), Solti, or Barenboim, and you will then be able to ask your folks to get you something else for your birthday--the Bernstein Mahler DVD cycle, for instance  (or the Levine DVD set of the Ring, which I would prefer to the CD Levine set simply because of the added visual element).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 29, 2012, 07:54:48 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31wx3Xmy6ML._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

14.99 at Amazon. (Girl not included.)

However, with two-months' worth of pocket money, you could get Böhm's Ring -- which comes highly recommended by marvin brown, the resident Wagnerian -- and save a few Pounds.
I can third the Bohm, but as that can be gotten on sale from time to time at $30-40 or so, that is something he can pick up himself. The Karajan and Solti are both great Rings. The Solti was the first to reach the market and that is one of the reasons it is seen as 'the classic'. Both have excellent sets of singers (both have their weaknesses too, but overall solid) and excellent orchestral color and playing. I think you will be happy with either one.

The thing about opera is that the voices are a very personal decision.  There are so many variables. And in this sense, it will be impossible to say which ones you will like better. My suggestion would be to listen to some excerpts of both at youtube and see if there is one you generally prefer. If not, either will bring you much future enjoyment. It is like choosing between 2 of your favorite Mahler symphony versions. They will both be great, and each will bring something different to the music.

EDIT: The best singing I've ever heard on a Ring was the Kraus, but that is better as a supplement as the sound is not as good. But the singing is glorious!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 29, 2012, 07:59:01 AM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now... am going to ask my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present, I figured that my monthly pocket money of around £15 is not quite enough... ;)

But, which one?!!!


Ilaria and John have both told me Karajan, but then I see other reviews saying that Solti's Ring is the greatest achievement in recording history... so confusing!!!! Which one to get?!  :)

All are special. My answer would be: Boehm... but then it can't be denied that Karajan has a lithe, italianate way with Wagner that, sooner or later, you will want to hear.
The Solti is impressive, to this day. Probably slightly overrated simply because it was such a milestone at its time, though. And, to make it more confusing: I'm a big fan of Barenboim's Wagner... T&I, Th., and Parsifal especially, but also his semi-studio Ring. The good news: you can't go wrong with any. Further: The Barenboim is the only budget Ring that has a full libretto (with examples from the score). The other two, do too, but are not available for the same price, I suppose. Boehm, in its latest re-re-re-release is inexpensive now, but also cheap. (No libretto or meaningful notes.) Spur of the moment suggestion: Karajan! Ah, no, maybe Barenb...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 29, 2012, 08:03:00 AM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now...Which one to get?!  :)


I don't know what to tell you, Mad. Solti is the conventional choice. Most people are very happy with it. I'm sure you would be too. I've recommended it on occasion myself as a first Ring...even though I'm not a fan of Solti's Wagner. I own 12 Rings (including the EMI Potted Ring) and Solti is near the bottom in my estimation:

KARAJAN   BERLIN PHIL
BÖHM   BAYREUTH
BARENBOIM   BAYREUTH 91
MORALT   VIENNA SYMPHONY
KRAUSS   BAYREUTH 53
LEVINE   MET
FURTWÄNGLER     RAI ROME
SOLTI   VIENNA PHIL
THIELEMANN   BAYREUTH
KNAPPERTSBUSCH   BAYREUTH 56
HAITINK   SOBR

Thielemann would rank much higher if his cast were better. Furtwängler would be in the top 3 if his sound and, to a lesser extent, his orchestra were better. I think Solti is too brutal. To me it's a superficial interpretation; very impressive sounding but basically that's it: sound and fury. (That's a ridiculous hyperbolic statement but it is the way I hear it  :D ) Karajan finds the poetry in the score but the performance doesn't lack power when needed. I prefer DG's sound too: the balance between orchestra and voice is just right. Karajan's cast didn't have the star power of Solti's. He was looking for younger, fresher voices, and I think it worked well in most cases. The inconsistency in cast from opera to opera doesn't bother me (it bothers some).

Have you read the Ring thread? (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3576.msg86102.html#msg86102) Lots of info, lots of debate. It should help you decide.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 29, 2012, 09:24:43 AM
Thank you all for your feedback, I am very grateful! Choosing a first Ring is such a hard task....

It seems that you have narrowed it down to either Karajan or Bohm for me. I think I'll ask for the Karajan set for my birthday. Then after that buy the Bohm myself. I have listened to some of the (extremely short) excerpts the Amazon provides for both and have to say that both sound really brilliant.

After what I have heard so far (which really is only the Magic Fire music from Walkure, finales to the 1st and 3rd acts of Siegfried and the Immolation Scene and finale from Gotterdammerung) I can really imagine the Ring becoming an absolute favourite work of mine, alongside the Mahler symphonies 6, 7, and 9!

So excited about starting this amazing journey! Have to wait till mid-March though... :)
Thank you again for all your help!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 29, 2012, 12:21:48 PM
After what I have heard so far (which really is only the Magic Fire music from Walkure, finales to the 1st and 3rd acts of Siegfried and the Immolation Scene and finale from Gotterdammerung) I can really imagine the Ring becoming an absolute favourite work of mine, alongside the Mahler symphonies 6, 7, and 9!

So glad to hear this! :)

Apart from Tristan und Isolde, no other work could be as beautiful, powerful, passionate and full of harmony as Wagner's Ring, which is an absolute masterpiece!
And about the recordings, I think the Karajan is definitely the best one ever made; the great intensity of Karajan's interpretation really catchs the wagnerian idea of "infinite melody".
Solti's cycle is certainly impressive and gorgeous (great cast and an amazing VPO), but Karajan's one is unbeatable for me.
I don't agree with John about the stage noises in Barenboim's recording, they aren't as annoying as he describes, on the contrary I think they might help to visualize what happens on your mind; moreover the performance is superb.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 29, 2012, 12:39:33 PM
So glad to hear this! :)

Apart from Tristan und Isolde and Mahler 6,7,8 and 9, no other work could be as beautiful, powerful, passionate and full of harmony as Wagner's Ring, which is an absolute masterpiece!
And about the recordings, I think the Karajan is definitely the best one ever made; the great intensity of Karajan's interpretation really catchs the wagnerian idea of "infinite melody".
Solti's cycle is certainly impressive and gorgeous (great cast and an amazing VPO), but Karajan's one is unbeatable for me.
I don't agree with John about the stage noises in Barenboim's recording, they aren't as annoying as he describes, on the contrary I think they might help to visualize what happens on your mind; moreover the performance is superb.

:)
Thank you for the feedback, Ilaria.
I have probably already asked, but which are the Ring Cycles you own? Do you know the Bohm? Based on the feedback above, this is probably the second cycle I will get after the Karajan.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 29, 2012, 12:58:54 PM
:)
Thank you for the feedback, Ilaria.
I have probably already asked, but which are the Ring Cycles you own? Do you know the Bohm? Based on the feedback above, this is probably the second cycle I will get after the Karajan.

I saw your correction; it doesn't annoy me just because I absolutely love those Mahler's symphonies too! ;)

 ;) Indeed you have, but no problem. I've got three Ring Cycles: Karajan, Solti and Barenboim; I'm afraid I don't own the complete Bohm, only his recording of Das Rheingold, which is excellent; if ever you bought it, it would be a great choice though.
Anyway, whichever recording of the Ring Cycle you will get, I'm very happy you will start this wonderful journey into Wagner's music! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 29, 2012, 01:32:18 PM
I saw your correction; it doesn't annoy me just because I absolutely love those Mahler's symphonies too! ;)

 ;) Indeed you have, but no problem. I've got three Ring Cycles: Karajan, Solti and Barenboim; I'm afraid I don't own the complete Bohm, only his recording of Das Rheingold, which is excellent; if ever you bought it, it would be a great choice though.
Anyway, whichever recording of the Ring Cycle you will get, I'm very happy you will start this wonderful journey into Wagner's music! :)

haha :)

I'm very forgetful sometimes, sorry ;) So, do you intend to buy any more complete Ring Cycles soon, and if so, which ones? Thank you! I am very excited about starting my journey into Wagner's music! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 29, 2012, 02:30:55 PM
haha :)

I'm very forgetful sometimes, sorry ;) So, do you intend to buy any more complete Ring Cycles soon, and if so, which ones? Thank you! I am very excited about starting my journey into Wagner's music! :)

Don't mind ;)

Well, if I should buy another Ring Cycle, I think I would get the rest of the Bohm; his Das Rheingold is passionate and thrilling, so must be his complete Ring.  Apart from this one, both the Furtwangler and the Knappertsbusch are quite remarkable and well-played, but they are old recordings and the sound quality is not perfect. They are worth buying as historical versions of Wagner's Ring though.


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 29, 2012, 04:01:21 PM
Am desperate to own my first Ring now... am going to ask my parents to buy it for me as a birthday present, I figured that my monthly pocket money of around £15 is not quite enough... ;)

But, which one?!!!

Karajan, Solti or Barenboim?





Ilaria and John have both told me Karajan, but then I see other reviews saying that Solti's Ring is the greatest
achievement in recording history... so confusing!!!! Which one to get?!  :)


  Hi Mad. Of the 3 Rings you have posted I would say get the Solti and don't look back. Reason: it has a far superior cast relative to the Karajan and Barenboim rings. The Solti ring is a landmark recording, filled with so much adrenaline and power. It blew me away the first time I heard it!

  The other Rings I love are the Bohm and the Krauss Ring.

  Karajan is too docile and Barenboim is well too slight ( for lack of a better word).
  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sadko on January 29, 2012, 08:03:57 PM

  Hi Mad. Of the 3 Rings you have posted I would say get the Solti and don't look back. Reason: it has a far superior cast relative to the Karajan and Barenboim rings. The Solti ring is a landmark recording, filled with so much adrenaline and power. It blew me away the first time I heard it!

  The other Rings I love are the Bohm and the Krauss Ring.

  Karajan is too docile and Barenboim is well too slight ( for lack of a better word).
  marvin

 

Also on my list Solti would be #1 and Böhm #2.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 29, 2012, 09:49:45 PM
Also on my list Solti would be #1 and Böhm #2.

  Excellent choices!  I am sorry but I can't stand Karajan's Die Walkure. It is seriously lacking in vocal oomph! A major flaw in my opinion.  There I said it, other Wagnerians can crucify me for saying this but I am sticking to my guns.

 Madaboutmahler please sample the Solti Ring before you make your choice. I do not know but choosing either the Karajan or the Barenboim Ring over Solti seems like a big mistake to me. Solti's got Hotter, Windgassen and  Nillson in the principal roles for God's sake.

  Remind me again who Karajan has?  ;) and who sings Brunhillde in the Barenboim ring again?? Like I said, slight (hardly significant).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 30, 2012, 04:06:47 AM

 Madaboutmahler please sample the Solti Ring before you make your choice. I do not know but choosing either the Karajan or the Barenboim Ring over Solti seems like a big mistake to me. Solti's got Hotter, Windgassen and  Nillson in the principal roles for God's sake.

  Remind me again who Karajan has?  ;) and who sings Brunhillde in the Barenboim ring again?? Like I said, slight (hardly significant).


Oh, I'd say "mistake" is rather going too far. Of course Hotter, Windgassen, and Nilsson are the standard-bearers.

But its not like Jon Vickers (sgm), Gundula Janowitz (sgl), Young Martti Talvela (fslt, hndg), plus a little part for Christa Ludwig et al. are small fry.
And for the major roles, using the more-or-less-just-discovered Helga Dernesch (Bh) was a very deliberate move that makes the special quality of the Karajan Ring.
It may make it into a direction that you don't like, granted, but it's not a 'lesser' choice; it's a deliberately different choice: Young woman vs. steeled Wagner veteran. (Not that Nilsson -- RIP: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/01/birgit-nilsson-on-disc.html --  (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/01/birgit-nilsson-on-disc.html --)isn't the bee's knees. I owe her Isolde and her Salome some of my greatest opera-on-record moments!) There's a naivete left in Dernesch's voice that I don't get from Nilsson.
Régine Crespin is a different singer than Dernesch, yes, and in a sense it seems that Bruenhilde has transformed from an intelligent, more deliberate woman, into a (at first) more sanguine character. (Which is fine by me.)
And love as I love Hans Hotter, Karajan's Ring is perhaps the starriest hour there was for Thomas Stewart! He out-sings Fischer-Dieskau (Wotan in HvK's Rheingold), to my ears.

And instead of being made over 8 years, with a notable SQ drop in Rheingold, Karajan's was made over 4... which means that some of the voices in Solti changed considerably, even where he does use the same cast. Still, neither cycle has the long line, the compelling continuity that studio-live recordings like esp. Boehm & also Barenboim and Thielemann have. The latter, as Sarge said, is sunk by a mediocre cast. Just like you don't want to listen to Boulez without also seeing it. (Although that would be my second Ring: First Karajan on CD, then Boulez on DVD/BluRay... then Boehm. And by then you will more than know on your own which (if any) way you will further explore that endlessly fascinating subject.

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: trung224 on January 30, 2012, 05:48:00 AM
    The Solti's Ring still is the benchmark, because the casting is marvelous, the orchestral playing is super, Solti has the solid approach, and it is stereo with the best sound. But for me, this cycle should only the first ring, because Solti don't offer so much insightful interpretation. The tempo is moderate, phrasing is ordinary, all his goal is reach the climax, such as Ho-jo-to-ho. This approach works best in Siegfried, but not great IMO in Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung. I think Keilberth Ring suffers from the similar mistake.
   For me, the three best Ring is from Furtwängler, Knappertsbusch and Karajan. The Furtwängler Ring has the bad sound, but the interpretation is super, he can easily reach the power like Solti, but he produce highly passionate in the slow scene. Karajan produce the beauty and melody of the Ring better than most conductor,even if the cast  is not strong, that only because he want it. He don't want Bruhilde like Nilsson, full of power,passion but lack the love, that why he choose Dernesch and Crespin. Knappertbusch is hard to describe, but for me it is spiritual, especially in Götterdämmerung
    For the modern recording, I like Boulez and Thielemann best because they both offer the unconventional approach to the Ring
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 30, 2012, 06:09:41 AM
Excellent choices!  I am sorry but I can't stand Karajan's Die Walkure. It is seriously lacking in vocal oomph! A major flaw in my opinion.

Marvin, seriously, dude, you need to get your ears adjusted  ;) Janowitz, Vickers, Stewart, Talvela, Veasey, all young, in their prime..lacking in vocal oomph??? No, no...absolutely wrong. Vickers is the most passionate Siegmund on record (you really prefer King?); Janowitz the most sheerly beautiful vocally. She's just breathtaking. Is it any wonder Siegmund commits incest?  ;D

"Jon Vickers's performance as Siegmund is superb....He begins the "Spring Song" truly poetically, and as he is in splendid voice the heroic moments are most exciting....One realizes how much James King—though I liked him more than some critics— missed in the part."--Gramophone

"Josephine Veasey's Fricka has been justly admired at Covent Garden. Christa Ludwig was very good indeed in the part but it is true that her upper range has now become soprano-like and this makes Veasey's true mezzo-soprano better suited to the enraged utterances of the goddess. This is a finely sung and distinguished performance." --Gramophone

"Martti Talvela is a magnificent Hunding, as menacing as Frick and with as black a voice, but with the tonal power the latter cannot now so easily command.  --Gramophone

"Thomas Stewart has a magnificent voice of ample power and range...There is nothing "gritty" in his Wotan and his enunciation and phrasing are excellent. I should not be surprised to learn that he had studied the part with Hotter." --Gramophone

Solti recorded Walküre last and half his cast was ready for the geriatric ward  ;D Sure, Nilsson is impressive, if steely, but she gives little hint of vulnerability or femininity. That's not a defect in the Second Act but it is by the end of the Third (and on into Siegfried and Götterdämmerung where she's no longer a goddess, but a woman). But if you must have her Brünnhilde, she's even better for Böhm.

Edit: To be fair I have to mention that, despite those positive quotes, AR at Gramophone still picked Solti's Walküre as a first choice on account of Nilsson.


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 30, 2012, 06:50:18 AM
  Hi Sarge and JLaurson. ...give me an aging wobbling Hotter over a youthful unknown any day. 

No apologies necessary... and tastes can of course differ. But the above statement does elicit a "WHY??" in my head. (Never mind that I don't quite agree with calling Thomas Stewart (a youthful unknown.)


Remembering Thomas Stewart: Wotan, Wanderer, Gunther, Sachs, Dutchman, Telramund, Amfortas extraordinaire

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-thomas-stewart-wotan.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-thomas-stewart-wotan.html)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 30, 2012, 06:55:05 AM
No apologies necessary... and tastes can of course differ. But the above statement does elicit a "WHY??" in my head. (Never mind that I don't quite agree with calling Thomas Stewart (a youthful unknown.)


Remembering Thomas Stewart: Wotan, Wanderer, Gunther, Sachs, Dutchman, Telramund, Amfortas extraordinaire

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-thomas-stewart-wotan.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-thomas-stewart-wotan.html)
This is sometimes the way of it with voices in opera. There are some singers that hit a sweet spot and others who can never satisfy, no matter how good they are. It can be quite inexplicable and sometimes will have no rational basis.

EDIT: Regarding 'no rational basis' I was actually thinking more of myself and some singers I like or dislike. Not meant to be personal (attack) in any way here!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 30, 2012, 06:55:35 AM
  Gentlemen, I was thinking of a proper response to all that I have read.  I wrote a passionate plea for the Solti over Karajan and removed it.  I do not know what to say but this: I need power and aggression with Wagner's Ring.  It enhances the dramatic effect of the cycle.  I need heavy powerful dominant voices, an aggressive approach and a sense of urgency.  Karajan's approach of highlighting the beautiful aspects of the score etc. etc. while admirable is not sufficient to make it a first choice recommendation.  I can not say more than this. Krauss, Solti and Bohm will always be my go-to Rings.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 30, 2012, 06:55:46 AM
And the aging wobbling Hotters are entitled to a little happiness, too, one supposes.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 30, 2012, 08:06:41 AM
  Gentlemen, I was thinking of a proper response to all that I have read.  I wrote a passionate plea for the Solti over Karajan and removed it.  I do not know what to say but this: I need power and aggression with Wagner's Ring.  It enhances the dramatic effect of the cycle.  I need heavy powerful dominant voices, an aggressive approach and a sense of urgency.  Karajan's approach of highlighting the beautiful aspects of the score etc. etc. while admirable is not sufficient to make it a first choice recommendation.  I can not say more than this. Krauss, Solti and Bohm will always be my go-to Rings.

  marvin

I'm sorry you removed it, Marvin. Debate is always good. MAD should see the reasons people make their choices. Who knows? Solti might be the better Ring for MAD (he does love Solti's "power and aggression" in Mahler).

I have no problem with your preference for Solti. You certainly aren't alone (we Karajan supporters are in the minority--not in this thread, but everywhere else). I just think other conductors dig deeper, find more nuance, beauty and--the word I love--poetry in the score. As far as Hotter: even in his unwobbly youth, he was not my favorite Wotan. (I'm crazy, I know  ;D ) As Neal says, "There are some singers that hit a sweet spot" and despite his legendary status, Hotter doesn't hit mine. I prefer Stewart and especially Tomlinson (Barenboim). I just prefer the sound of their voices. I think Tomlinson inhabits the role as surely, and with similar insight, as Hotter did.

Solti, Karajan, Böhm, Furtwängler, Krauss, Barenboim....hey, it's all good  8)  We're blessed with choice today. Why, when I was MAD's age, hamburgers cost a nickel and the only Ring cycle available was Furtwängler...if you could even find it in a shop (I never saw it).

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 30, 2012, 08:09:56 AM
I'm sorry you removed it, Marvin. Debate is always good.

And certainly, an impassioned plea for any recording/artist/composer/work is of interest to read, whether or not the reader agree with it all. Or any of it.

Marvin, you were rash!  But then, of course, you are a Wagner enthusiast : )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sadko on January 30, 2012, 09:57:39 AM
I'm sorry you removed it, Marvin. Debate is always good.

Yes, I agree, and although passionate it wasn't without giving reasons to check and discuss.

And poor me Solti-Ring lover needs support here ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 30, 2012, 10:19:43 AM
Thank you all for your feedback. All very interesting to read and of course very helpful.

I still have the urge to own Karajan's cycle more than any other it seems. Probably Bohm after that. I'll probably end up picking up the Solti and Barenboim not long after though, if I have the money (!), as I really do see the Ring becoming an absolute favourite work of mine. Plus, the Solti is such a classic recording that it probably deserves to be in everyone's collection. However, I did listen to the Immolation Scene from Solti's recording on youtube and was not as impressed as I hoped to be. The sound quality wasn't at its best it seemed, plus the performance was not as powerful and beautiful to me as the Karajan Immolation Scene I heard.

There seems to be a lot of debate about the quality of singers, which makes me think that it may be up to personal taste. I guess I'll just work out my personal taste after listening to various different cycles. But as a start, will go with the Karajan.

Thank you again for all your help, choosing a first Ring Cycle has been a really tough process. To the birthday list the Karajan Ring goes. :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 30, 2012, 11:47:32 AM
Thank you all for your feedback. All very interesting to read and of course very helpful.

I still have the urge to own Karajan's cycle more than any other it seems. Probably Bohm after that. I'll probably end up picking up the Solti and Barenboim not long after though, if I have the money (!), as I really do see the Ring becoming an absolute favourite work of mine. Plus, the Solti is such a classic recording that it probably deserves to be in everyone's collection. However, I did listen to the Immolation Scene from Solti's recording on youtube and was not as impressed as I hoped to be. The sound quality wasn't at its best it seemed, plus the performance was not as powerful and beautiful to me as the Karajan Immolation Scene I heard.

There seems to be a lot of debate about the quality of singers, which makes me think that it may be up to
personal taste. I guess I'll just work out my personal taste after listening to various different cycles. But as a start, will go with the Karajan.

Thank you again for all your help, choosing a first Ring Cycle has been a really tough process. To the birthday list the Karajan Ring goes. :D

  Congratulations on your first Ring "gift". I am sure you will enjoy this Ring cycle and you have made a fine choice. Beautiful orchestral playing, a world class conductor and the BPO make for a very unique Ring indeed.

  I put up a fight, perhaps not a very valiant one to try to steer you towards the Solti Ring. But alas, I was outnumbered, surrounded and ultimately defeated by my fellow Wagerian colleagues!  Kudos to them for their success.

  You mentioned your displeasure with the sound quality of the Solti Ring.  I do not know what you were listening to but the Solti Ring is known for it's rich Technicolor sound! It is known for its sound and production. That is one of its many selling features. Please keep that in mind.

  Spend some time with the Karajan ring. It takes a while to get acquainted with Wagner. Try to get into the characters, the plot the themes.......it is a stunning musical adventure.  In time you will become intimately familiar with it and you will want to branch out and try different interpretations. You'll want a live recording, one from Beyreuth, and you'll also want a DVD recording (the Ring was meant for the stage after all- I have Levine MET DVD which I enjoy tremendously).....it is difficult to tell how your tastes will develop but it will prove to be a wonderful process, that I am sure.  Keep a lookout for the Bohm and Solti Rings in the distant future. Either one is a fine complement to the Karajan Ring.

  Enjoy the adventure.........

  Marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 30, 2012, 12:07:26 PM
Yes, I agree, and although passionate it wasn't without giving reasons to check and discuss.

And poor me Solti-Ring lover needs support here ;)

  Lol don't worry Sadko, I am sure there will be many more Karajan vs. Solti battles to come  :).

  Marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 30, 2012, 12:16:27 PM
  Lol don't worry Sadko, I am sure there will be many more Karajan vs. Solti battles to come  :).

If there are no battles, it cannot be about Wagner, can it? ; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 30, 2012, 12:38:37 PM
  Congratulations on your first Ring "gift". I am sure you will enjoy this Ring cycle and you have made a fine choice. Beautiful orchestral playing, a world class conductor and the BPO make for a very unique Ring indeed.

  I put up a fight, perhaps not a very valiant one to try to steer you towards the Solti Ring. But alas, I was outnumbered, surrounded and ultimately defeated by my fellow Wagerian colleagues!  Kudos to them for their success.

  You mentioned your displeasure with the sound quality of the Solti Ring.  I do not know what you were listening to but the Solti Ring is known for it's rich Technicolor sound! It is known for its sound and production. That is one of its many selling features. Please keep that in mind.

  Spend some time with the Karajan ring. It takes a while to get acquainted with Wagner. Try to get into the characters, the plot the themes.......it is a stunning musical adventure.  In time you will become intimately familiar with it and you will want to branch out and try different interpretations. You'll want a live recording, one from Beyreuth, and you'll also want a DVD recording (the Ring was meant for the stage after all- I have Levine MET DVD which I enjoy tremendously).....it is difficult to tell how your tastes will develop but it will prove to be a wonderful process, that I am sure.  Keep a lookout for the Bohm and Solti Rings in the distant future. Either one is a fine complement to the Karajan Ring.

  Enjoy the adventure.........

  Marvin

Thank you, Marvin. Yes, I can imagine myself wanting to own many different Rings! I am really excited about starting the Ring, which I shall do after my birthday this coming March. :) I'll probably end up buying the Bohm straight after going through the Karajan, as it has been one of the most recommended here, including by you. Followed by the Solti. Then maybe the Levine DVD version you mention.

Thank you all again!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 30, 2012, 01:13:30 PM
If there are no battles, it cannot be about Wagner, can it? ; )

  It most certainly can Karl, Wagner is all about love, peace and tranquility  :P.  Hey the way I see it if you are not passionate about something to drive you to battle it does not matter to you anyway.

  Now watch me start a war over which COMPLETE Haydn string quartet recording is the " best"  ;) I'll bet our esteemed moderator Gurn would be all over that one!   :P

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 30, 2012, 01:27:53 PM
Then maybe the Levine DVD version you mention.


...asaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghh. Help is on the way! Noooooo!

http://www.youtube.com/v/pPVH9LGBe6A

Never mind that the somewhat saccharine "everything-is-glorious; we-shall-never-speed-up" conducting of Levine is glorious in excerpts but hard to take over 14 hours... the Otto Schenk production is so bloody literal with its pseudo-realistic, campy costumes, the Personenregie so lacking, it's really rather a turn-off to anyone expecting the drama on stage to be anywhere near as gripping as that of the music/opera.

Here's a fair, if anything: flattering, collection of excerpts from it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw)

Nei... it is the Chéreau production that is made for watching! Das Rheingold is perhaps the most perfect DVD-production of an opera I've yet seen yet... entertaining like a movie.

Here's a much more somber excerpt from Die Walküre; note the subtlety (i.e. real acting) of the singers, having learned their parts over almost five years (by the time they arrived in 1981) from film and theater director Chéreau.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2t7ybyTI_Y&feature=related (http://)

and some reading, if/when you're interested:
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html)

"Tradition does not mean guarding the ashes, but fanning the embers."
[Tradition is not venerating the ash, but passing on the flame.] (Ben Franklin, G.Mahler)

http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95 (http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95)




Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 30, 2012, 01:42:18 PM
...asaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghh. Help is on the way! Noooooo!

http://www.youtube.com/v/pPVH9LGBe6A

Never mind that the somewhat saccharine "everything-is-glorious; we-shall-never-speed-up" conducting of Levine is glorious in excerpts but hard to take over 14 hours... the Otto Schenk production is so bloody literal with its pseudo-realistic, campy costumes, the Personenregie so lacking, it's really rather a turn-off to anyone expecting the drama on stage to be anywhere near as gripping as that of the music/opera.

Here's a fair, if anything: flattering, collection of excerpts from it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw)

Nei... it is the Chéreau production that is made for watching! Das Rheingold is perhaps the most perfect DVD-production of an opera I've yet seen yet... entertaining like a movie.

Here's a much more somber excerpt from Die Walküre; note the subtlety (i.e. real acting) of the singers, having learned their parts over almost five years (by the time they arrived in 1981) from film and theater director Chéreau.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2t7ybyTI_Y&feature=related (http://)

and some reading, if/when you're interested:
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html)

"Tradition does not mean guarding the ashes, but fanning the embers."
[Tradition is not venerating the ash, but passing on the flame.] (Ben Franklin, G.Mahler)

http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95 (http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95)



  Here we go again........maybe Karl was right, Wagnerians love a good skirmish.....LOL!

  See here's the problem, until the Seattle opera decides to release its 2 latest Ring Cycles (2005 and 2009 correct my dates if they are wrong) on DVD/bluray I am afraid that we traditionalists have no other option but the MET Levine Ring, which is visually stunning!

  Modern, Eurotrash, esoteric productions don't really interest me. Sigh- what's a traditionalist supposed to do??

  marvin

 
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 30, 2012, 02:02:13 PM
...asaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghh. Help is on the way! Noooooo!

http://www.youtube.com/v/pPVH9LGBe6A

Never mind that the somewhat saccharine "everything-is-glorious; we-shall-never-speed-up" conducting of Levine is glorious in excerpts but hard to take over 14 hours... the Otto Schenk production is so bloody literal with its pseudo-realistic, campy costumes, the Personenregie so lacking, it's really rather a turn-off to anyone expecting the drama on stage to be anywhere near as gripping as that of the music/opera.

Here's a fair, if anything: flattering, collection of excerpts from it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpaFkUpM5yw)

Nei... it is the Chéreau production that is made for watching! Das Rheingold is perhaps the most perfect DVD-production of an opera I've yet seen yet... entertaining like a movie.

Here's a much more somber excerpt from Die Walküre; note the subtlety (i.e. real acting) of the singers, having learned their parts over almost five years (by the time they arrived in 1981) from film and theater director Chéreau.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2t7ybyTI_Y&feature=related (http://)

and some reading, if/when you're interested:
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-making-of.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-das-rheingold.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-die-walkre.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/09/chreau-ring-cycle-gtterdmmerung.html)

"Tradition does not mean guarding the ashes, but fanning the embers."
[Tradition is not venerating the ash, but passing on the flame.] (Ben Franklin, G.Mahler)

http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95 (http://www.weta.org/oldfmblog/?p=95)

haha :D Thank you for these, Jens. Very interesting reads!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on January 30, 2012, 04:27:43 PM
  the Otto Schenk production is so bloody literal with its pseudo-realistic, campy costumes

Have you seen the pics from the original productions?
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rw1883 on January 30, 2012, 10:32:16 PM
Marvin, seriously, dude, you need to get your ears adjusted  ;) Janowitz, Vickers, Stewart, Talvela, Veasey, all young, in their prime..lacking in vocal oomph??? No, no...absolutely wrong. Vickers is the most passionate Siegmund on record (you really prefer King?); Janowitz the most sheerly beautiful vocally. She's just breathtaking. Is it any wonder Siegmund commits incest?  ;D

"Jon Vickers's performance as Siegmund is superb....He begins the "Spring Song" truly poetically, and as he is in splendid voice the heroic moments are most exciting....One realizes how much James King—though I liked him more than some critics— missed in the part."--Gramophone

"Josephine Veasey's Fricka has been justly admired at Covent Garden. Christa Ludwig was very good indeed in the part but it is true that her upper range has now become soprano-like and this makes Veasey's true mezzo-soprano better suited to the enraged utterances of the goddess. This is a finely sung and distinguished performance." --Gramophone

"Martti Talvela is a magnificent Hunding, as menacing as Frick and with as black a voice, but with the tonal power the latter cannot now so easily command.  --Gramophone

"Thomas Stewart has a magnificent voice of ample power and range...There is nothing "gritty" in his Wotan and his enunciation and phrasing are excellent. I should not be surprised to learn that he had studied the part with Hotter." --Gramophone

Solti recorded Walküre last and half his cast was ready for the geriatric ward  ;D Sure, Nilsson is impressive, if steely, but she gives little hint of vulnerability or femininity. That's not a defect in the Second Act but it is by the end of the Third (and on into Siegfried and Götterdämmerung where she's no longer a goddess, but a woman). But if you must have her Brünnhilde, she's even better for Böhm.

Edit: To be fair I have to mention that, despite those positive quotes, AR at Gramophone still picked Solti's Walküre as a first choice on account of Nilsson.


Sarge

I'm joining this conversation late, but if I may say a few things:

I love chunks of the Solti (especially Acts 2 & 3 of Gotterdammerung), but as a whole, the Furtwangler ('50 and '53), Karajan, Krauss, and Barenboim are my top picks.

Not that any of the previous pro-Karajan posts need backing-up, but here's another hat in the ring: the Karajan is awesome! Thomas Stewart is one of my favorite Wotans and with Karajan's multi-faceted conducting (very underrated on the power scale), I go back to this cycle often. As an incomplete cycle (there's a rumor that EMI has the whole cycle in their vault–why wouldn't they release this???), the '51 Bayreuth/Karajan is phenomenal! His conducting of Walkure Act 3 with Sigurd Bjorling and Varnay is inspiring.  I have a feeling this would be my all-time favorite Ring if complete (Rheingold and Siegfried on Myto are in pretty decent sound).

Such hard choices!!  Just reading this thread has moved some Rings in my immediate listening pile.

I hate to admit this, but I have 22 complete Ring Cycles (including the ones with the traditional cuts)–what a disease! Unfortunately, I've been lazy the last 5 years and haven't collected any recent cycles...which is probably a good thing...

Sarge, is the Thielemann worth it?

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on January 30, 2012, 11:48:57 PM
I hate to admit this, but I have 22 complete Ring Cycles (including the ones with the traditional cuts)–what a disease! Unfortunately, I've been lazy the last 5 years and haven't collected any recent cycles...which is probably a good thing...

Sarge, is the Thielemann worth it?

I haven't had a drink in 10 years! By the way, does that whisky taste as pretty as it looks?

Famous last words! :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 31, 2012, 02:01:19 AM


Sarge, is the Thielemann worth it?

Paul

I know I am hoping, with a decent amount of certainty, that there shall be another Thielemann Ring in the next 10 years... (perhaps from Dresden) and then one with a cast worthy of that conducting. As it stands, it's one of the best-conducted Rings (only Boehm and Krauss -- in their different ways -- come close), but the singing (which isn't even my priority) is distressingly mediocre and drags the hole venture down. It made for a lovely car trip from DC and back, on radio copies (ah, memories! en-route to the awful "First Emperor" at the MET), but I never minded the engine's leveling out the uneven singing.  I've got a few Ring Cycles myself--not 22 but north of a dozen--and if someone sent me the Thielemann, I'd put it on the shelves, but I've not yet actively added it to the staple. But what am I writing. You've already purchased it, huh?  ;)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2012, 03:00:22 AM
I'm joining this conversation late, but if I may say a few things:

I love chunks of the Solti (especially Acts 2 & 3 of Gotterdammerung), but as a whole, the Furtwangler ('50 and '53), Karajan, Krauss, and Barenboim are my top picks.

Not that any of the previous pro-Karajan posts need backing-up, but here's another hat in the ring: the Karajan is awesome! Thomas Stewart is one of my favorite Wotans and with Karajan's multi-faceted conducting (very underrated on the power scale), I go back to this cycle often. As an incomplete cycle (there's a rumor that EMI has the whole cycle in their vault–why wouldn't they release this???), the '51 Bayreuth/Karajan is phenomenal! His conducting of Walkure Act 3 with Sigurd Bjorling and Varnay is inspiring.  I have a feeling this would be my all-time favorite Ring if complete (Rheingold and Siegfried on Myto are in pretty decent sound).

Such hard choices!!  Just reading this thread has moved some Rings in my immediate listening pile.

I hate to admit this, but I have 22 complete Ring Cycles (including the ones with the traditional cuts)–what a disease! Unfortunately, I've been lazy the last 5 years and haven't collected any recent cycles...which is probably a good thing...

Sarge, is the Thielemann worth it?

Paul


  WITHOUT PREJUDICE
  I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!!  Most Wagnerians on this forum prefer the Karajan Ring to the Solti Ring?? All I can remember is being totally dissatisfied with Karajan's Die Walkure (the voices failed to make a positive impression on me, I found it docile, I kept turning up the volume hoping that louder sound would compensate for lack of power and hence drama- forget it! It did not work). Relative to Bohm and Solti Karajan's Die Walkure is a "snooze fest".  Karajan's Siegfried and Gotterdammering were major improvements but Solti's  buries him 6 feet under!

  Karajan's Ring is pretty, yes, the orchestral playing is beautiful, but the "energy level",  and consequently the dramatic effect is at times seriously compromised by a relatively weak cast and Karajan's attempt to find the "hidden nuances" in the score. The energy level drops off almost unexpectedly at times, I find it very irritating. Wagner is all about the drama and I firmly believe that Karajan missed the boat on that one! That's why it's been dubbed the "Chamber Ring",  intimate, pretty, etc.etc call it what you want........I am sorry but a docile "chamber" effect is NOT what Wagner had in mind!

  Often I read that Karajan's Siegfired is the weak link in his cycle.  I beg to differ, in my opinion Karajan's Die Walkure is the most seriously flawed in the context of the paragraph above.

  I stand by my original recommendation: of the 3 Rings madaboutmahler was considering Solti, Karajan and Barenboim. Solti is by far the most recommendable. Although The Bohm Ring, which is one of my favorite Rings, if not my favorite should be the 1st one he buys!  It can be had for £25 on amazon.co.uk.  A steal! (He'll have to buy the libretto separately)

  There you have it, a passionate plea from a Solti supporting Wagnerian who is finding himself more and more isolated in a Karajan obsessed Wagnerian world!

  marvin


 
   

   
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on January 31, 2012, 03:43:53 AM

  WITHOUT PREJUDICE
  I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!! 
A Solti supporting Wagnerian who is finding himself more and more isolated in a Karajan obsessed Wagnerian world!


Dear ASSWWIFHMAMIIAKOWW,

I don't think you're as isolated as you make it seem.
No one, or very few, have suggested that Solti's Ring isn't very good.
Nor are those who nudged toward Karajan, including myself, "Karajan-obsessed".
Myself, I sort of just came toward the idea of how nice it would be to have had Karajan as a first Ring Cycle... and, following Sarge (or pre-empting him; I sometimes don't know the difference, since we were obviously separated at birth but remain connected through a selective musical umbilical cord across a decade or two), really warmed to the idea. Aside, starting with Karajan (followed by Boehm and Boulez/Chereau  ;)) merely means postponing the Solti experience for a while. Maybe a decade. That's nothing, in Wagnerian terms.


Re: rw1883: If EMI really had a '51 Ring with HvK in the vault and is not releasing it, it would presumably be because someone involved (and by now probably their estate) has prohibited them from doing so. But rather a big "if"!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2012, 03:53:50 AM
Dear ASSWWIFHMAMIIAKOWW,

I don't think you're as isolated as you make it seem.
No one, or very few, have suggested that Solti's Ring isn't very good.
Nor are those who nudged toward Karajan, including myself, "Karajan-obsessed".
Myself, I sort of just came toward the idea of how nice it would be to have had Karajan as a first Ring Cycle... and, following Sarge (or pre-empting him; I sometimes don't know the difference, since we were obviously separated at birth but remain connected through a selective musical umbilical cord across a decade or two), really warmed to the idea. Aside, starting with Karajan (followed by Boehm and Boulez/Chereau  ;)) merely means postponing the Solti experience for a while. Maybe a decade. That's nothing, in Wagnerian terms.


Re: rw1883: If EMI really had a '51 Ring with HvK in the vault and is not releasing it, it would presumably be because someone involved (and by now probably their estate) has prohibited them from doing so. But rather a big "if"!

  I read your post with a smile on my face.  Suddenly I feel like I belong  :'(.  It's nice to know that I am back in the wagnerian crowd!

  But seriously, I hope that madaboutmahler will benefit from all our discussions/pleas/disagreements etc.  The bottom line is that 1 Ring simply will not do as this collosal masterpeice can be interpreted in so many ways- orchestra, sound, conducting, cast, live performace vs. studio production etc. etc. There are so many variables to warrant multiple recordings. 

    marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: trung224 on January 31, 2012, 04:30:03 AM

  WITHOUT PREJUDICE
  I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!!  Most Wagnerians on this forum prefer the Karajan Ring to the Solti Ring?? All I can remember is being totally dissatisfied with Karajan's Die Walkure (the voices failed to make a positive impression on me, I found it docile, I kept turning up the volume hoping that louder sound would compensate for lack of power and hence drama- forget it! It did not work). Relative to Bohm and Solti Karajan's Die Walkure is a "snooze fest".  Karajan's Siegfried and Gotterdammering were major improvements but Solti's  buries him 6 feet under!

  Karajan's Ring is pretty, yes, the orchestral playing is beautiful, but the "energy level",  and consequently the dramatic effect is at times seriously compromised by a relatively weak cast and Karajan's attempt to find the "hidden nuances" in the score. The energy level drops off almost unexpectedly at times, I find it very irritating. Wagner is all about the drama and I firmly believe that Karajan missed the boat on that one! That's why it's been dubbed the "Chamber Ring",  intimate, pretty, etc.etc call it what you want........I am sorry but a docile "chamber" effect is NOT what Wagner had in mind!

  Often I read that Karajan's Siegfired is the weak link in his cycle.  I beg to differ, in my opinion Karajan's Die Walkure is the most seriously flawed in the context of the paragraph above.

  I stand by my original recommendation: of the 3 Rings madaboutmahler was considering Solti, Karajan and Barenboim. Solti is by far the most recommendable. Although The Bohm Ring, which is one of my favorite Rings, if not my favorite should be the 1st one he buys!  It can be had for £25 on amazon.co.uk.  A steal! (He'll have to buy the libretto separately)

  There you have it, a passionate plea from a Solti supporting Wagnerian who is finding himself more and more isolated in a Karajan obsessed Wagnerian world!

  marvin


   
   

   

    While i agree with you about Karajan'Siegfried, I don't think that Wagner's music, especially Die Walküre , is only power, drama or loud. Die Walküre has the love of Siegmund and Sieglinde, and I think Karajan' interpretation is better than Solti to convey. Moreover, Wagner love Bel Canto, and as I read he wanted the Italien singer sings his opera. Indeed, no Italien singers venture lost their voice but with this evidence, I think the Karajan's way is at least the valid way, the way Wagner sometimes thought
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2012, 04:50:09 AM
    While i agree with you about Karajan'Siegfried, I don't think that Wagner's music, especially Die Walküre , is only power, drama or loud. Die Walküre has the love of Siegmund and Sieglinde, and I think Karajan' interpretation is better than Solti to convey. Moreover, Wagner love Bel Canto, and as I read he wanted the Italien singer sings his opera. Indeed, no Italien singers venture lost their voice but with this evidence, I think the Karajan's way is at least the valid way, the way Wagner sometimes thought

  It is true that Wagner was a fan of Bel Canto.  But he was also a fan of Berlioz and Beethoven 9th Symphony the Choral and revolutionizing opera as it was in his time.  I doubt that a pretty voice, bel canto and pretty playing (IE the Karajan Ring) were as important to Wagner as the overall dramatic effect- I believe that he would have been for any and all attempts to enhance the drama of his "operas"- he called them MUSIC DRAMAS after all- than anything else.


  I could be wrong.......
  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 31, 2012, 04:51:17 AM
I haven't had a drink in 10 years!

You can't really be in Sidney! (j/k)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2012, 04:59:52 AM
I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!!  Most Wagnerians on this forum prefer the Karajan Ring to the Solti Ring??

Only in this thread, Marvin  :D  Elsewhere Solti and Keilberth still rule  ;)  Just re-read the various Wagner threads in the Opera section to get an idea how little Karajan is loved here...or rather, was loved. If this thread is an indication, new blood seems to be changing things.

There you have it, a passionate plea from a Solti supporting Wagnerian who is finding himself more and more isolated in a Karajan obsessed Wagnerian world!

Now you know how I've felt for 25 years, utterly alone, going door-to-door, proselytizing for Karajan, but finding no disciples. This thread actually shocks me. I thought Solti would be the overwhelming choice. It's nice to see the Solti/Culshaw death grip on Wagnerites easing somewhat  8)  I suspect, though, that Solti has outsold Karajan by a factor of 10 to 1.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 31, 2012, 05:03:15 AM
Only in this thread, Marvin  :D  Elsewhere Solti and Keilberth still rule  ;)  Just re-read the various Wagner threads in the Opera section to get an idea how little Karajan is loved here...or rather, was loved. If this thread is an indication, new blood seems to be changing things.

Now you know how I've felt for 25 years, utterly alone, going door-to-door, proselytizing for Karajan, but finding no disciples. This thread actually shocks me. I thought Solti would be the overwhelming choice. It's nice to see the Solti/Culshaw death grip on Wagnerites easing somewhat  8)  I suspect, though, that Solti has outsold Karajan by a factor of 10 to 1.

Sarge
Solti Ring sales rank on Amazon is 11,471, while Karajan (which came out just a year after in its current guise) is 134,880.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 31, 2012, 05:06:05 AM
. . . I doubt that a pretty voice, bel canto and pretty playing (IE the Karajan Ring) were as important to Wagner as the overall dramatic effect . . . .

To speak just generally (i.e., I cannot have an opinion on Solti VS. HvK) -- I do not see [ a pretty voice, bel canto and pretty playing ] as in any opposition to [ the overall dramatic effect ]
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2012, 05:13:38 AM
  It is true that Wagner was a fan of Bel Canto.  But he was also a fan of Berlioz and Beethoven 9th Symphony the Choral and revolutionizing opera as it was in his time.  I doubt that a pretty voice, bel canto and pretty playing (IE the Karajan Ring) were as important to Wagner as the overall dramatic effect- I believe that he would have been for any and all attempts to enhance the drama of his "operas"- he called them MUSIC DRAMAS after all- than anything else.


  I could be wrong.......
  marvin

It's not that I disagree with you about Wagner's intentions. The disagreement stems from your assertion that Karajan lacks power and drama. Really, I don't get it, Marvin. It's like we're listening to two different performances. In Karajan I do not hear any lessening of the drama. If anything, the fact that Karajan emphasizes the lyrical beauty of the score too makes the dramatic outbursts that much more powerful in comparison. I do not hear a lack of power when the score calls for it. True, Karajan doesn't have a gimmicky, technicolor Culshaw-style production to enhance the drama. It's relies strictly on what Karajan, the Berliners and Wagner can do. I don't think Wagner needs sonic gimmicks...but I admit, they are fun  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2012, 05:18:19 AM
Solti Ring sales rank on Amazon is 11,471, while Karajan (which came out just a year after in its current guise) is 134,880.

Interesting....but not surprising.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on January 31, 2012, 06:00:57 AM
It seems that every few months one of the gmgers decides that it's time to take a Wagnerian sojourn and start eyeballing huge, expensive box sets.  Is this the gmg equivalent of a mid-life crisis? ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2012, 06:06:07 AM
Sarge, is the Thielemann worth it?
Paul

Tough question. It was worth it to me because I really wanted to hear what Thielemann does with the Ring (not so different from Karajan, actually) and unlike Jens, I can't afford to wait ten years for a better cast  ;) This is probably the best Bayreuth Ring in terms of sound and orchestral execution. It might be worth it to you just for that.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2012, 06:07:01 AM
It seems that every few months one of the gmgers decides that it's time to take a Wagnerian sojourn and start eyeballing huge, expensive box sets.  Is this the gmg equivalent of a mid-life crisis? ;D

MAD is 14 ...if it's a mid-life crisis, he's aging seriously fast  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidW on January 31, 2012, 06:09:46 AM
MAD is 14 ...if it's a mid-life crisis, he's aging seriously fast  :D

Sarge

haha oops! :D  Well I watched most of Wagner's operas when I was in high school (from checking out tapes from the library), so it's all good. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on January 31, 2012, 06:37:32 AM
Well I watched most of Wagner's operas when I was in high school (from checking out tapes from the library), so it's all good. :)

W-rated material at such an age?! Tsk, tsk....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 31, 2012, 07:35:44 AM
You guys should be in Bayreuth circa 1876.

Well, it would have certainly been much easier to get the tickets for the Bayreuther Festspiele in 1876......
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on January 31, 2012, 08:04:17 AM


  OK Sarge, I promise you that I will give the Karajan Ring more of a chance. I'll start with Die Walkure as this is where my "problem" started!

  We have highjacked this thread long enough now......but we had good reason we have a young man madaboutmahler requesting his first ring cycle as a birthday gift. This thread is called Recordings you are considering, madaboutmahler posted 3 recordings he was considering. It is our duty as Wagnerians to guide/confuse  ;D etc. this young man!


  Karl, Bel Canto is predominantly about the voice, the beauty of singing etc. and listening to the voice, this can be dramatic but I find heavier domineering voices to be more effective at conveying the drama.  Daniel Barenboim once said that those who can sing beautifully, as they do an Italian aria completely miss the musical expression in Wagner's music and then he went on to say that those who bark the words, referring to the Wagnerian bark also miss the point.  So singing Wagner is not that cut and dry!

  Oh and Karl, Please PLEASE tell me that you finally got around to listening to the Bohm Ring (you know the one in your Beyreuth box!) in its entirety!  (how long has it been now since you started?? are you anywhere near finished?). 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 31, 2012, 09:35:53 AM
Thank you for all your feedback, I was not expecting so much! All your posts have been very interesting and very helpful to me, and some made me laugh as well. ;)

As Marvin said, I am sure that I will decide to own more than one Ring cycle. Like a set of the Mahler symphonies, the interpretations are so different, and none can be perfect for such an expansive piece I suppose.

Will start with the Karajan, then the Bohm, then eventually the Solti and the DVD set that Jens recommended.

Thank you so much once again for all your help! ;)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2012, 09:39:36 AM
Daniel + Karajan's Ring = wise choice. 8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 31, 2012, 10:25:33 AM
Will start with the Karajan, then the Bohm, then eventually the Solti and the DVD set that Jens recommended.

Das ist wirklich wunderschön! :)

I'm sure you will certainly love Der Ring, the most beautiful masterpiece ever composed; I know you particularly appreciate Götterdämmerung and its passionate and powerful finale, but try to start listening from Das Rheingold. ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 31, 2012, 12:13:55 PM
Daniel + Karajan's Ring = wise choice. 8)

:)

Das ist wirklich wunderschön! :)

I'm sure you will certainly love Der Ring, the most beautiful masterpiece ever composed alongside all Mahler, particularly the late symphonies; I know you particularly appreciate Götterdämmerung and its passionate and powerful finale, but try to start listening from Das Rheingold. ;)

:) You keep on forgetting Mahler, Ilaria! ;)
Yes, I shall start from the beggining with Das Rheingold, and move through the operas in the right order. Really looking forward to it!
I am sure I will absolutely love it too!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 31, 2012, 02:04:41 PM
:) You keep on forgetting Mahler, Ilaria! ;)
Yes, I shall start from the beggining with Das Rheingold, and move through the operas in the right order. Really looking forward to it!
I am sure I will absolutely love it too!

Really happy to hear this! No other music can be as thrilling, powerful, passionate, intense and introspective as Wagner's one is!
I never forget Mahler (and how could I do this?!), one of my favourite composers and whose works I absolutely love; I only speak for myself: Mahler comes after Wagner for me. ;)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2012, 06:01:14 AM
Go easy on her, Daniel!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2012, 06:17:32 AM
  Oh and Karl, Please PLEASE tell me that you finally got around to listening to the Bohm Ring (you know the one in your Beyreuth box!) in its entirety!  (how long has it been now since you started?? are you anywhere near finished?).

With Wagnerian delicacy, Marvin, I am sorry to inform you that I haven't.  It's such a while ago, I honestly don't know where I left off . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 01, 2012, 09:45:50 AM
Go easy on her, Daniel!

 ;D

I doubt I shall ever have to send a Mahler hammering in Ilaria's direction, she is a dedicated Mahlerian! :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 01, 2012, 09:51:17 AM
With Wagnerian delicacy, Marvin, I am sorry to inform you that I haven't.  It's such a while ago, I honestly don't know where I left off . . . .


Wagner quit composing the Ring during the Second Act of Siegfried and resumed 12 years later. Don't worry.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2012, 09:52:29 AM

Wagner quit composing the Ring during the Second Act of Siegfried and resumed 12 years later. Don't worry.

There is yet hope for White Nights, then! : )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on February 01, 2012, 10:02:12 AM
Go easy on her, Daniel!
Quote
;D

I doubt I shall ever have to send a Mahler hammering in Ilaria's direction, she is a dedicated Mahlerian! :D

Correct ;D

Anyway I could always defend myself with Nothung, Siegfried's sword ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2012, 10:10:27 AM
It will be a near thing, whether the head of the hammer ruins Nothung's blade, or whether Nothung severs the handle.  It will be a battle worth watching!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on February 01, 2012, 01:05:44 PM

Wagner quit composing the Ring during the Second Act of Siegfried and resumed 12 years later. Don't worry.

  Well said J.Z Herrenberg. I admire Karl's courage though and hope that one day he would complete this task of listening to the Ring in its entirety. I can relate to Karl, on my end I have a slight aversion to Haydn, I have never heard any of his symphonies nor his string quartets and I keep telling myself that those are core repertoire works and yet they sit in my amazon.co.uk basket never purchased- sigh!

  No worries Karl, take all the time you need with Wagner's Ring.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on February 01, 2012, 06:33:38 PM
You can't really be in Sidney! (j/k)
Heh, no, that was a lie for humorous effect (I hoped).

Re the bel canto issue, is anyone else hoping for a Pappano Ring at some point?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rw1883 on February 04, 2012, 10:51:31 AM
Heh, no, that was a lie for humorous effect (I hoped).

Re the bel canto issue, is anyone else hoping for a Pappano Ring at some point?

Yes!! Pappano!!  The Walküre from the 2005 BBC Proms and his EMI excerpts (Siegfried and Götterdämmurung) are excellent.  Did anyone attend or hear the Covent Garden Ring? From what I remember, the cycle took place over a few years.  The revival will be opening the 2012-13 season...

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on February 05, 2012, 02:04:49 AM
Solti, then Bohm.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on February 10, 2012, 02:52:37 PM

Awash in Beautiful Music: Munich's Promising Rheingold
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/awash-in-beautiful-music-munichs.html
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E0D6uKCwZ5A/TzWOVxI5_BI/AAAAAAAABz0/LKB2Tugnhbs/s1600/Rheingold_Munich_Scene3.jpg)
 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/awash-in-beautiful-music-munichs.html)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on February 12, 2012, 03:52:36 PM

Awash in Beautiful Music: Munich's Promising Rheingold
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/awash-in-beautiful-music-munichs.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/awash-in-beautiful-music-munichs.html)

Are all those bodies really necessary?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on March 26, 2012, 12:34:53 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51A7YqdnW9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The 1999 Amsterdam Ring seems to have attracted a wide range of critical response, and at full price I wouldn't want to risk buying it. But various places seems to be disposing of their Rheingold and Walkure DVD sets very cheaply (under £10), so I bought a Walkure and am presently awaiting its arrival.

Anyone know it? Will I be thrilled or disappointed?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 26, 2012, 12:54:15 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51A7YqdnW9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The 1999 Amsterdam Ring seems to have attracted a wide range of critical response, and at full price I wouldn't want to risk buying it. But various places seems to be disposing of their Rheingold and Walkure DVD sets very cheaply (under £10), so I bought a Walkure and am presently awaiting its arrival.

Anyone know it? Will I be thrilled or disappointed?
I don't know whether you will like the production, but I think you will like the sound. The orchestra is good and so is the singing (most of the time). So as long as you are a bit forgiving (or at least flexible) on the staging, I think you will enjoy it.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on March 26, 2012, 09:21:29 AM
I don't know whether you will like the production, but I think you will like the sound. The orchestra is good and so is the singing (most of the time). So as long as you are a bit forgiving (or at least flexible) on the staging, I think you will enjoy it.

Oh thanks, that's great. I'm long accustomed to being a bit forgiving about stagings of the Ring on DVD (it's an occupational requirement), so it sounds like I'll be OK.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on March 26, 2012, 04:33:18 PM
There is a DVD of highlights from Mehta's cycle, going for $9 bluray (http://www.amazon.com/Der-Ring-Des-Nibelungen-Highlights/dp/B00430EQK8/ref=sr_1_10?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332807730&sr=1-10) and $10 DVD (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Der-Ring-Nibelungen-Highlights/dp/B00430EQJY/ref=sr_1_11?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332807730&sr=1-11). Runtime is given as 130 min.

Blurb:
Quote
100 minutes of the most stunning visual and musical highlights of this production by La Fura dels Baus, including two new documentaries about Franc Aleu and Carlus Padrissa
The highlights include arias of the world-class Wagner singers such as Seiffert, Salminen, Kapellmann, Mayer,
Schnitzer and promising young talents like Jennifer Wilson (Brünnhilde), John Daszak (Loge) and Juha Uusitalo (Wotan).

Can I ask what people's opinions are on Haenchen's Ring (http://www.amazon.com/Nibelungen-Brocheler-Reinhild-Muziektheater-Amsterdam/dp/B001AR4KBM/ref=sr_1_5?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332808031&sr=1-5)?

Also, has anyone seen this one?

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: bigshot on March 26, 2012, 07:07:08 PM
Jeannine Altmeyer must be in her sixties in that, no?!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: jlaurson on March 26, 2012, 11:30:19 PM
There is a DVD of highlights from Mehta's cycle, going for $9 bluray (http://www.amazon.com/Der-Ring-Des-Nibelungen-Highlights/dp/B00430EQK8/ref=sr_1_10?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332807730&sr=1-10) and $10 DVD (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Der-Ring-Nibelungen-Highlights/dp/B00430EQJY/ref=sr_1_11?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332807730&sr=1-11). Runtime is given as 130 min.

Blurb:
Can I ask what people's opinions are on Haenchen's Ring (http://www.amazon.com/Nibelungen-Brocheler-Reinhild-Muziektheater-Amsterdam/dp/B001AR4KBM/ref=sr_1_5?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332808031&sr=1-5)?


Haenchen's Ring is incredibly well played and superbly recorded. Pierre Audi's staging is actually quite neat. I didn't warm to it, initially, but found it visually intriguing.
Perhaps it took La Fura dels Baus inane, banal, one-trick-pony production (that highlight DVD should forever squelch any desire on your part to see the whole shabang, if you can even make it through the whole thing) for me to appreciate the linearity and the coolly applied intelligence of it. Haenchen is a more imaginative conductor than Mehta, too, and although Mehta gets a lot out of his 3rd Rank orchestra (superb, really), Haenchen gets more out of his 2nd Rank orchestra, still.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on March 27, 2012, 12:10:35 AM
Can I ask what people's opinions are on Haenchen's Ring (http://www.amazon.com/Nibelungen-Brocheler-Reinhild-Muziektheater-Amsterdam/dp/B001AR4KBM/ref=sr_1_5?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332808031&sr=1-5)?

That's the one I was asking about, above. The Rheingold and Walkure from that set are both available very cheaply (£10 or under) at the moment on Amazon Marketplace and at MDT. Siegfried and Rheingold are still full price, sadly.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on March 27, 2012, 11:06:09 PM
Haenchen's Ring is incredibly well played and superbly recorded. Pierre Audi's staging is actually quite neat. I didn't warm to it, initially, but found it visually intriguing.
Perhaps it took La Fura dels Baus inane, banal, one-trick-pony production (that highlight DVD should forever squelch any desire on your part to see the whole shabang, if you can even make it through the whole thing) for me to appreciate the linearity and the coolly applied intelligence of it. Haenchen is a more imaginative conductor than Mehta, too, and although Mehta gets a lot out of his 3rd Rank orchestra (superb, really), Haenchen gets more out of his 2nd Rank orchestra, still.

This is a very useful post - Thanks!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on March 27, 2012, 11:33:49 PM
Haenchen's Ring is incredibly well played and superbly recorded. Pierre Audi's staging is actually quite neat. I didn't warm to it, initially, but found it visually intriguing.

My Haenchen  Walkure arrived yesterday, and I watched the first half of Act 3 as a taster. I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised after the mixed reviews I'd read. It takes a few minutes to adjust to the strange stage set and orchestra position, and I wasn't at all sure about the Valkyries' wings until I realised how expressively they could be choreographed.  The orchestral playing is weighty and powerful, and seems superbly recorded. I could barely recognise Jeannine Altmeyer, though she sang remarkably well (certainly not as badly as some reviews have suggested). Wotan a bit wooden in acting terms, but fine singing.

Altogether, I think this looks and sounds very promising. Real fire, unusual but not inappropriate costumes, and a set that's both abstract and innovative but which doesn't jar. I'm thinking now of grabbing the Henchen  Rheingold while it's cheaply available.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on March 27, 2012, 11:59:43 PM
So the Haenchen one sounds like a winner. A shame no-one seems to have seen the St. Clair Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: duncan on April 02, 2012, 09:37:14 AM
So the Haenchen one sounds like a winner. A shame no-one seems to have seen the St. Clair Ring.

I've seen the St. Clair Ring live.  Short review here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,116.msg397558.html#msg397558).  Executive summary: very good in the theatre, don't rush to buy the DVDs.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on April 02, 2012, 10:28:00 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eBEJTqS5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

An update on the Haenchen Ring. After sampling the Walkure (available at bargain price on DVD), I plunged in and bought Rheingold from that series (also available very cheaply).

Well I must say, while watching scenes 1 and 2 of Rheingold, I was completely engrossed by this production. The set is abstract, but entirely acceptable - more than appropriate; even visually exciting. The costumes are strange but again, more than appropriate. The giants are probably the best giants I've ever seen - they seem to be made of earth. The movements of the characters are carefully choreographed for dramatic effect; Loge is particularly effective, varying his movements with the music. Freia is beautiful, and she sounds beautiful too. The singing overall may not be up there in the very top rank - I don't think I'm competent to judge - but the orchestra sounds marvellous, and most importantly, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. For all its strangeness, it's possible that this is the most convincing Ring production I've seen on DVD, so far.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on April 02, 2012, 04:55:07 PM
I've seen the St. Clair Ring live.  Short review here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,116.msg397558.html#msg397558).  Executive summary: very good in the theatre, don't rush to buy the DVDs.

Very useful, thanks Duncan.

I bought the Karajan Rheingold DVD recently, but didn't make it past the first scene. The vision was exceedingly murky, and the staging just looked silly. I think the land-based segments will be more effective.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 03, 2012, 01:22:59 AM
All ready to start.... :D

(http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/4788/ringcycle.jpg)

I am very excited!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 03, 2012, 01:30:35 AM
All ready to start.... :D


"...E flat denotes the Rhine,
Where everything began. The world's life. Mine..." --James Merrill, "The Ring Cycle"

Enjoy the journey  8)

Sarge


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 03, 2012, 01:35:27 AM

"...E flat denotes the Rhine,
Where everything began. The world's life. Mine..." --James Merrill, "The Ring Cycle"

Enjoy the journey  8)

Sarge

haha, this makes me even more excited to start! Right, no more waiting, off to start the journey now!  :) Thank you, Sarge!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 03, 2012, 02:57:24 AM
All ready to start.... :D

I am very excited!

That's absolutely great, Daniel! I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion once you've listened to Das Rheingold! :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: duncan on April 03, 2012, 05:11:42 AM
All ready to start.... :D

(http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/4788/ringcycle.jpg)

I am very excited!

Excellent.  I suggest something stronger than PG tips though:

(http://www.comfytummy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/wagner-dry-riesling.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 03, 2012, 05:42:41 AM
Excellent.  I suggest something stronger than PG tips though:

(http://www.comfytummy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/wagner-dry-riesling.jpg)

Wow, does that brand of white wine really exist??
Personally I don't like wine, but I would have a taste to the Wagner-Dry-Riesling. ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 03, 2012, 05:47:38 AM
Wow, does that brand of white wine really exist??
Personally I don't like wine, but I would have a taste to the Wagner-Dry-Riesling. ;D

You are Italian...but you don't like wine?  :o  Is that even allowed in Italy?  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on April 03, 2012, 06:17:58 AM
All ready to start.... :D

I am very excited!

And there's every reason to be. What you're about to embark upon has the potential to become almost overwhelming (in all the best ways).

Good luck.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 03, 2012, 06:20:26 AM
haha - if only I was old enough... ;) Just finished Das Rheingold, the music was so amazing anyway that I completely forgot about the tea... :D

And there's every reason to be. What you're about to embark upon has the potential to become almost overwhelming (in all the best ways).

Good luck.
Thank you! It certainly is an amazing journey so far. Very excited to continue...
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 03, 2012, 08:47:20 AM
You are Italian...but you don't like wine?  :o  Is that even allowed in Italy?  ;D

Sarge

Yes, it sounds really strange, doesn't it? :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 03, 2012, 11:07:13 AM
Quote from: Lisztianwagner on Today at 18:47:20 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=3576.msg617015#msg617015)
Yes, it sounds really strange, doesn't it? :)



I was born in the land of Heineken (forget Rembrandt), and I don't drink beer. Or any alcohol, for that matter.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 03, 2012, 02:12:34 PM
Purely factual question:

In Die Walkure Act III scene iii a wind instrument with an unusual timbre accompanies Brunnhilda in some of her, what do you call them? I'd call them speeches  ;D.  Is it an oboe d'amore?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on April 03, 2012, 05:00:30 PM
Just finished Das Rheingold, the music was so amazing

That's what Ilaria and I have been telling you for how long now? ;) :D Anyway, it's good to see you dive right into it. When I first heard Das Rheingold, the musical universe suddenly made a lot more sense to me. 8)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 04, 2012, 01:12:56 AM
Quote from: calyptorhynchus on Today at 00:12:34 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=3576.msg617120#msg617120)
Purely factual question:

In Die Walkure Act III scene iii a wind instrument with an unusual timbre accompanies Brunnhilda in some of her, what do you call them? I'd call them speeches  ;D .  Is it an oboe d'amore?



It is a combination of wind instruments
(War es so schmählich etc.): cor anglais, clarinet in A, bass clarinet, bassoon, and sometimes the oboe adds its voice.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 04, 2012, 01:34:14 AM
That's what Ilaria and I have been telling you for how long now? ;) :D Anyway, it's good to see you dive right into it. When I first heard Das Rheingold, the musical universe suddenly made a lot more sense to me. 8)

haha, thank you, John! :) I'm going to listen to Das Rheingold again today, and then start on Die Walkure tommorow. Very excited! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 04, 2012, 02:54:05 AM
haha, thank you, John! :) I'm going to listen to Das Rheingold again today, and then start on Die Walkure tommorow. Very excited! :)

About Das Rheingold I forgot to ask, did you like the hammer in the Verwandlungsmusik? ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 04, 2012, 02:59:10 AM
I suspect that Daniel never met a hammer he didn't like ; )
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 04, 2012, 03:04:01 AM
About Das Rheingold I forgot to ask, did you like the hammer in the Verwandlungsmusik? ;)
I suspect that Daniel never met a hammer he didn't like ; )

haha ;)
Very much so, Ilaria! :D The section with the 16 anvils was also absolutely brilliant! Off to go and listen to it all again in a minute! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 04, 2012, 07:27:28 AM
haha ;)
Very much so, Ilaria! :D The section with the 16 anvils was also absolutely brilliant! Off to go and listen to it all again in a minute! :)

I enjoyed the opera today even more than I did yesterday! Such amazing music!
Am excited about Die Walkure now! I'll probably listen to it a half at a time. ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 04, 2012, 07:30:22 AM
I enjoyed the opera today even more than I did yesterday! Such amazing music!
Am excited about Die Walkure now! I'll probably listen to it a half at a time. ;)

Take it one act at a time with an immediate encore of Act I Scene 3  8)  The second act especially can be quite taxing but it is the heart of the Ring.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 04, 2012, 07:32:15 AM
Take it one act at a time with an immediate encore of Act I Scene 3  8)  The second act especially can be quite taxing but it is the heart of the Ring.

Sarge

Ok, thank you for the advice, Sarge! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 04, 2012, 07:35:54 AM
I enjoyed the opera today even more than I did yesterday! Such amazing music!
Am excited about Die Walkure now! I'll probably listen to it a half at a time. ;)

You can't listen to just half of Die Walkure, you will be tempted to continue till the end...the thrilling, passionate Magic Fire Music :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: ChamberNut on April 04, 2012, 07:37:24 AM
Daniel, glad you diving into The Ring, and enjoying it so far!

The Prelude to Act I of Die Walkure is so heavy metal ~ it is mind and speaker blowing!!  :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 04, 2012, 07:40:42 AM
The Prelude to Act I of Die Walkure is so heavy metal

Heavy metal? ::)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2012, 07:41:58 AM
did you like the hammer in the Verwandlungsmusik? ;)

This was just a brilliant idea of orchestration from Wagner. Simply ingenious. :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: ChamberNut on April 04, 2012, 07:53:07 AM
Heavy metal? ::)

Yes, I find it reminds me of a 'heavy metal' riff.  It is intense.  I'm sure it influenced many Heavy Metal musicians, but I could be wrong, of course.  :(
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 04, 2012, 07:56:05 AM
....but I could be wrong, of course.  :(

Or not. Andy probably agrees with you. I have no trouble calling it metal either. Or maybe proto-metal  ;D

Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Elgarian on April 04, 2012, 08:00:31 AM
You can't listen to just half of Die Walkure, you will be tempted to continue till the end...the thrilling, passionate Magic Fire Music :)

These words of Ilaria's are true. Sarge is right about Act 2, but oh, the reward you get for your patience is delivered with hundreds of bonus points in Act 3.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 04, 2012, 08:13:19 AM
....but oh, the reward you get for your patience is delivered with hundreds of bonus points in Act 3.

True....it was Act 3 that turned me into a perfect Wagnerite  8)


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 04, 2012, 09:47:43 AM
Yes, I find it reminds me of a 'heavy metal' riff.  It is intense.  I'm sure it influenced many Heavy Metal musicians, but I could be wrong, of course.  :(

 :)
No problem, Ray; well, many haevy-metal musicians said that Wagner was a massive influence for that kind of music. But to tell the truth, I've never thought of Wagner's works as "metal".

These words of Ilaria's are true. Sarge is right about Act 2, but oh, the reward you get for your patience is delivered with hundreds of bonus points in Act 3.
True....it was Act 3 that turned me into a perfect Wagnerite  8)

I absolutely agree! :D


Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 04, 2012, 12:38:05 PM
Daniel, glad you diving into The Ring, and enjoying it so far!

The Prelude to Act I of Die Walkure is so heavy metal ~ it is mind and speaker blowing!!  :D

Thanks, Ray!:)
Die Walkure tommorow, so all your words make me very excited to hear it! :D

This was just a brilliant idea of orchestration from Wagner. Simply ingenious. :D

Composers who use hammers tend to be geniuses!  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 04, 2012, 01:08:36 PM
Quote from: madaboutmahler on Today at 22:38:05 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=3576.msg617438#msg617438)
Composers who use hammers tend to be geniuses!  ;D


Why do I think we can expect a 'Concerto for Hammer and Orchestra' from you ?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on April 04, 2012, 05:53:21 PM
I was born in the land of Heineken (forget Rembrandt), and I don't drink beer. Or any alcohol, for that matter.


I'm Australian and I don't drink beer  :o   It aggravates my arthritis (as do peanuts :'( and raw tomatoes). 
Luckily I love (good) cider, and it's made with apples - it must be good for you!



Also scotch.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: knight66 on April 04, 2012, 08:50:33 PM
Don't know so much there. I just ate an apple while catching up on this thread. Bitter and acidic; there are about another eight that look just like it in the fruit bowl. A sour taste in the mouth.

Right: Wagner's Ring. For as long as I can remember Gotterdammerung has been my favourite of the Ring Cycle. But recently I have been listening to and watching Walkure and it is edging forward into 1st equal place. I enjoy it more each time I listen to it. But below I describe my favourite scene in all the Cycle.

Wagner's style is to have singers sing in long duologue passing the batton back and forth. It is a particular thrill to come to Gotterdammerung and suddenly we have an ensemble towards the end of Act II Scene V. Brunhilde feels betrayed and pours out her fury and she delivers into Hagan's hands the knowledge of how Siegfried can be murdered. Hagan, Gunter and Brunhilde join in a thrilling trio of vengeance which ends the act.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on April 05, 2012, 02:10:51 AM
Quote from: madaboutmahler on Today at 22:38:05 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=3576.msg617438#msg617438)
Composers who use hammers tend to be geniuses!  ;D


Why do I think we can expect a 'Concerto for Hammer and Orchestra' from you ?


What a wonderful idea, Johan! ;D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on April 08, 2012, 02:09:47 PM
Composers who use hammers tend to be geniuses!  ;D

So, would you consider Josef Strauss a genius? ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: eyeresist on April 09, 2012, 04:33:20 PM
Composers who use hammers tend to be geniuses!  ;D

Karl, THIS is where you should make a comment about the Shed.
 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: rw1883 on July 25, 2012, 04:32:34 AM
It doesn't say it on the box, but the website says CD reissue, so I'm assuming there's no remastering on this set:



Title: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: JDWalley on July 26, 2012, 03:25:13 PM
Just finished this entire thread. It just seemed like silence descended in early April.  MAD, how did the rest of the cycle go?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on July 27, 2012, 05:39:25 AM
Just finished this entire thread. It just seemed like silence descended in early April.  MAD, how did the rest of the cycle go?

Welcome! Hope you enjoyed the thread.

I absolutely loved the Ring Cycle, what incredibly amazing music! I listened to it in around 2 months, tending to go one act at a time, and enjoyed it all very very much. I posted some thoughts in the Wagner thread (on the Opera/Vocal part of the forum) throughout the journey. Karajan's performance was absolutely incredible too.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Madiel on August 17, 2012, 06:10:18 PM
Hello folks, popping back up after a few months away...

Well, I've now been semi-properly introduced to the Ring (and indeed Wagner) by watching it on 4 sundays out of 6, in my local cinema, courtesy of the New York Met.

Hmmm.

There's a lot of very good music in there.  But I can't help feeling that opera tends to be ruined by the plot.  There were are parts in it where I was totally involved, and then we'd get to something that made me wince.  I absolutely wanted to slap Sieglinde her and tell to get over it, and I wasn't especially fond of Brunnhilde and Siegfried singing their eternal love for each other either (BOTH times).

Whereas the purely orchestral music... well for starters, the very opening of each of the first 3 operas was fantastic.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 18, 2012, 08:29:38 PM
Hi Orfeo, your reaction is not unusual and you actually hit it right on the nail about the Ring's 'plot'. It is probably the major stumbling block for any one encountering The Ring for the first - and second and third times.  You had visuals to support your encounter with The Ring. For most of us audio only is the first and only source for experiencing it. Could be a blessing or a curse.

My 'defining expérience' with it was in 1983 when watching Götterdämmerung on the telly in non HD transmission. It was the BBC production: Bayreuth-Boulez-Chéreau. To this day the main thing that remains in my visual and auditive memory is Gwyneth Jones in the Immolation Scene. I do recall finding just about everything else bizarre and plain silly. Clearly a case where the listener is not prepared for, and quite critical of the perceived discrepancy between sight and sound.

Sometimes it takes years to regain an objective aesthetic perception. Call it artistic trauma. I don't think the music is at fault. Buy a record, not a dvd. You have enough intelligence and intuition to supply what's missing visually.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: johndoe21ro on August 19, 2012, 01:11:41 AM
Good news, everyone! Hope this remastering is better than the last of Decca.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7JK_RJKtII&feature=player_embedded

In celebration of 100 years since Sir Georg Solti's birth, Decca Classics presents a new deluxe limited edition box set of the world famous Solti Ring.

This Exclusive, Luxury, Limited Edition box includes

A hardback book presenting:
14CDs: Der Ring des Nibelungen - the complete recording NEWLY REMASTERED.
2CDs: An Introduction to Der Ring des Nibelungen by Wagner scholar Deryck Cooke
1DVD: The Golden Ring -- the acclaimed BBC/ORF documentary - English and German Versions
1CD: Wagner Overtures, Siegfried Idyll & Kinderkatchechismus -- recorded in Vienna during the Ring years
1 BLU-RAY AUDIO: The complete Ring Cycle on a single disc in remastered, lossless 24-bit audiophile quality. Exclusive to this edition.

A Hardback book featuring:
The Complete Libretti of The Ring in original German, with English translation.

A hardback book featuring:
John Culshaw's fascinating account of the entire Ring project from inception to completion -- first published in 1967 and long out of print -- an important re-printing of this book for this special edition set. Exclusive to this edition

A hardback book presenting:
The full facsimile of one of Sir Georg Solti's working scores (The Ride of the Valkyries), in colour, with explanatory notes on Solti's markings by Charles Kaye of the Solti Foundation. Exclusive to this edition.

Special 40-page brochure with facsimiles of advertisements and reviews from Gramophone Magazine in the year of publication of the operas in the cycle. Exclusive to this edition

ART PRINTS - 5 high-quality art prints of recording session photos - Exclusive to this edition
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on September 09, 2012, 11:15:47 PM


  Wagenr fans I just bought this:

 



  Ever since hearing the Krauss Ring I have been drawn to the great voices of the 1950s that have graced the Beyreuth Opera House.  I am very excited to hear this cycle. It's in stereo and Hotter et al are in top form.

Please please I hope it lives up to its reputation as a "lost masterpiece".

 P.S: Its price has dropped to £92 on amazon.co.uk, the cheapest I have seen it anywhere on the internet.



  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 10, 2012, 02:20:49 AM

  Wagenr fans I just bought this:

 



  Ever since hearing the Krauss Ring I have been drawn to the great voices of the 1950s that have graced the Beyreuth Opera House.  I am very excited to hear this cycle. It's in stereo and Hotter et al are in top form.

Please please I hope it lives up to its reputation as a "lost masterpiece".

 P.S: Its price has dropped to £92 on amazon.co.uk, the cheapest I have seen it anywhere on the internet.

Great, let us know what this Ring is like, Marvin! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on September 10, 2012, 08:03:33 AM
Hello folks, popping back up after a few months away...

Well, I've now been semi-properly introduced to the Ring (and indeed Wagner) by watching it on 4 sundays out of 6, in my local cinema, courtesy of the New York Met.

Hmmm.

There's a lot of very good music in there.  But I can't help feeling that opera tends to be ruined by the plot.  There were are parts in it where I was totally involved, and then we'd get to something that made me wince.  I absolutely wanted to slap Sieglinde her and tell to get over it, and I wasn't especially fond of Brunnhilde and Siegfried singing their eternal love for each other either (BOTH times).

Whereas the purely orchestral music... well for starters, the very opening of each of the first 3 operas was fantastic.
I agree. With everything you said. Much of Wagner's music is splendid. The idea of setting this mythology operatically is remarkably ambitious. But despite his talent, Wagner bit off more than he could chew. Wagner the storyteller and Wagner the songwriter are not nearly the equal of Wagner the orchestral composer.

But let us bear in mind that most opera is rather silly. However, no other opera--perhaps no other work of art, period--takes itself so seriously as Wagner's Ring. Thus the standard of judgment must be more severe than the standard for judging a light entertainment by a composer without a trace of pomposity. Wagner's mystico-religious music dramas are too flawed by exactly what disturbed you to be successful.

To be successful, they must immerse the audience in the invented world, the concerns of the characters, and the outcome of their struggles. Time and again Wagner establishes the requisite mood, then shatters it with theatrical incompetence--the things that made you wince, destroying the suspension of disbelief necessary for the work to succeed on its own terms. But note that these works--like most--are more effective live in the opera house where audience immersion is more easily established and maintained and our attention spans stretch much farther than when watching or listening at home with the dog scratching at the door and the wife nagging us to take out the garbage and tele-marketers interrupting our reverie with sales calls, etc.

Despite its shortcomings, however, it's still one of the most noteworthy achievements in the history of music and certainly well worth knowing and returning to often.



Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on September 10, 2012, 04:45:50 PM
I agree. With everything you said. Much of Wagner's music is splendid. The idea of setting this mythology operatically is remarkably ambitious. But despite his talent, Wagner bit off more than he could chew. Wagner the storyteller and Wagner the songwriter are not nearly the equal of Wagner the orchestral composer.

But let us bear in mind that most opera is rather silly. However, no other opera--perhaps no other work of art, period--takes itself so seriously as Wagner's Ring. Thus the standard of judgment must be more severe than the standard for judging a light entertainment by a composer without a trace of pomposity. Wagner's mystico-religious music dramas are too flawed by exactly what disturbed you to be successful.

To be successful, they must immerse the audience in the invented world, the concerns of the characters, and the outcome of their struggles. Time and again Wagner establishes the requisite mood, then shatters it with theatrical incompetence--the things that made you wince, destroying the suspension of disbelief necessary for the work to succeed on its own terms. But note that these works--like most--are more effective live in the opera house where audience immersion is more easily established and maintained and our attention spans stretch much farther than when watching or listening at home with the dog scratching at the door and the wife nagging us to take out the garbage and tele-marketers interrupting our reverie with sales calls, etc.

Despite its shortcomings, however, it's still one of the most noteworthy achievements in the history of music and certainly well worth knowing and returning to often.

It might be useful to remind people --or to suggest to those who have never heard it--of Anna Russell's lecture on the Ring,  which, while being utterly faithful to Wagner's libretto, manages to puncture almost all of Der Meister's balloons of pomposity. (And the other items on the CD are of the same high caliber, and the truly bargain minded can get a used copy for approximately one Lincoln.)

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 10, 2012, 07:05:27 PM
One Ring to rule them all? That's easy...

(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/karajan_bpo_wagner_der_ring_des_nibelungen.jpg)

It doesn't get much better than this and I own five Ring cycles: Karajan, Solti, Levine, Jurowski, and Barenboim. Karajan has all the power, majesty, beauty, and crystal clear dynamics that I need from my Wagner recordings. No other set compares IMHO.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: marvinbrown on September 11, 2012, 01:06:23 AM
One Ring to rule them all? That's easy...

(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/karajan_bpo_wagner_der_ring_des_nibelungen.jpg)

It doesn't get much better than this and I own five Ring cycles: Karajan, Solti, Levine, Jurowski, and Barenboim. Karajan has all the power, majesty, beauty, and crystal clear dynamics that I need from my Wagner recordings. No other set compares IMHO.

  OBJECTION!!   $:)...... ;D ;D ;D

  I have still not recieved my Keilberth Ring cycle 1955, so I write the following WITHOUT PREJUDICE:

  Currently I have 6 Ring Cycles in my collection: Solti, Karajan, Bohm, Krauss, Barenboim and Levine on DVD.  The Ring to rule them all must have the perfect cast, perfect conducting, great sound and great playing.  As I see it the perfect Ring lies somewhere between Bohm's  electrifyingly fast paced conducting and respect for overall symphonic architecure of the peice, Krauss's "made in heaven" cast (Hotter, Varnay Windgassen in top form) and Solti's technicolor sound with superb playing from the VPO coupled with a very very strong cast.

  The Karajan ring is proving to be my least favorite of the bunch as it falls short of these criteria.  I'm trying to like it Sarge, honestly I am  :-\. 
Barenboim is like your typical B student, he's good just not great.

  I just ordered Keilberth 1955, which I am dying to hear......I am hoping that Keilberth 1955 = Solti + Bohm + Krauss or at least 80% of Solti + Bohm + Krauss . They say it is the best Ring cycle on record because it has Krauss's cast in top form, is in stereo sound, live from Beyreuth with a conductor who is sympathetic to his singers and has a firm grasp of the symphonic architecture of the Ring cycle. 

 
  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 11, 2012, 02:45:27 AM
One Ring to rule them all? That's easy...

(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/karajan_bpo_wagner_der_ring_des_nibelungen.jpg)

It doesn't get much better than this and I own five Ring cycles: Karajan, Solti, Levine, Jurowski, and Barenboim. Karajan has all the power, majesty, beauty, and crystal clear dynamics that I need from my Wagner recordings. No other set compares IMHO.

I completely agree with everything you said, John! ;D Although I have to admit that in the third act, Barenboim's Siegfried has a slightly more passionate, overwhelming finale.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on September 11, 2012, 03:08:55 AM
It might be useful to remind people --or to suggest to those who have never heard it--of Anna Russell's lecture on the Ring,  which, while being utterly faithful to Wagner's libretto, manages to puncture almost all of Der Meister's balloons of pomposity. (And the other items on the CD are of the same high caliber, and the truly bargain minded can get a used copy for approximately one Lincoln.)
:) Yep, she's great. And those without a Lincoln can hear her "free" via youtube. I dare say Russell's exposition of the Ring is more essential than many a scholarly tome. ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 03:16:05 AM
  OBJECTION!!   $:)...... ;D ;D ;D

  I have still not recieved my Keilberth Ring cycle 1955, so I write the following WITHOUT PREJUDICE:

  Currently I have 6 Ring Cycles in my collection: Solti, Karajan, Bohm, Krauss, Barenboim and Levine on DVD.  The Ring to rule them all must have the perfect cast, perfect conducting, great sound and great playing.  As I see it the perfect Ring lies somewhere between Bohm's  electrifyingly fast paced conducting and respect for overall symphonic architecure of the peice, Krauss's "made in heaven" cast (Hotter, Varnay Windgassen in top form) and Solti's technicolor sound with superb playing from the VPO coupled with a very very strong cast.

  The Karajan ring is proving to be my least favorite of the bunch as it falls short of these criteria.  I'm trying to like it Sarge, honestly I am  :-\. 
Barenboim is like your typical B student, he's good just not great.

  I just ordered Keilberth 1955, which I am dying to hear......I am hoping that Keilberth 1955 = Solti + Bohm + Krauss or at least 80% of Solti + Bohm + Krauss . They say it is the best Ring cycle on record because it has Krauss's cast in top form, is in stereo sound, live from Beyreuth with a conductor who is sympathetic to his singers and has a firm grasp of the symphonic architecture of the Ring cycle. 

 
  marvin

 

I knew you wouldn't agree with my post, Marvin and this fact could be partially why I made that post. :) I don't think there really is a Ring to rule them all, BUT Karajan's gets incredibly close for me and I connected with it instantly which is why I chose it. I like Karajan's controlled approach. Karajan may not have the perfect cast, but I could careless about that. He has the Berlin Philharmonic and it's Karajan so this is about as perfect as it gets for  me.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 03:18:20 AM
I completely agree with everything you said, John! ;D Although I have to admit that in the third act, Barenboim's Siegfried has a slightly more passionate, overwhelming finale.

Siegfried is my least favorite opera of the Ring. In fact, I hardly ever listen to it to be honest. I usually just skip right over it. For me, it's just not as exciting as the other three.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: ChamberNut on September 11, 2012, 03:31:11 AM
Siegfried is my least favorite opera of the Ring. In fact, I hardly ever listen to it to be honest. I usually just skip right over it. For me, it's just not as exciting as the other three.

That's interesting John, as Siegfried has been my favourite of the 4 from the get-go.  I listened to the entire Siegfried twice in one day, the first time I listened to it!  (Solti recording).

 :)

That's OK, we don't have to all like the same thing.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: ChamberNut on September 11, 2012, 03:33:51 AM
That's interesting John, as Siegfried has been my favourite of the 4 from the get-go.  I listened to the entire Siegfried twice in one day, the first time I listened to it!  (Solti recording).

 :)

That's OK, we don't have to all like the same thing.

PS - I know I'm in the minority.  Most people, not all (but most) prefer one of the other three.  I'm fully aware of that.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 03:59:18 AM
That's interesting John, as Siegfried has been my favourite of the 4 from the get-go.  I listened to the entire Siegfried twice in one day, the first time I listened to it!  (Solti recording).

 :)

That's OK, we don't have to all like the same thing.

Well, sure, we all like different things. This is the spice of life. :) I would say my favorite opera from the Ring is Das Rheingold for it's compactness and for the orchestral music itself. Gotterdammerung would be my second favorite. I don't listen to Wagner as much as Ilaria does or Marvin, but I can only take Wagner in small doses. He's absolutely incredible composer though and listening to the Ring from start to finish has been something that has stayed with me ever since.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Madiel on September 11, 2012, 04:24:17 AM
It might be useful to remind people --or to suggest to those who have never heard it--of Anna Russell's lecture on the Ring,  which, while being utterly faithful to Wagner's libretto, manages to puncture almost all of Der Meister's balloons of pomposity. (And the other items on the CD are of the same high caliber, and the truly bargain minded can get a used copy for approximately one Lincoln.)



Indeed, I've known Anna's version for many years.  And occasionally it came to mind while watching the 'real thing'.

After we'd seen all 4 operas, I played it for the person I went with. We were both screeching with laughter precisely because she is so faithful to the libretto.

It's hard to pick my favourite part.  Is it that Hunding has an ash tree with a sword in it growing out of his living room floor?  Or is it that Erda tells Wotan to be careful, and then bears him 8 daughters?  Or is that it takes a very long time before Siegfried meets a woman who isn't his aunt? :D

PS As for the rest of the CD: to fit on one disc they take out parts of the discussion of different singing styles (British, Russian, contemporary etc.) when compared to the original LP, which is very annoying.  Happily, different editions of the CD take out different parts, and having stumbled across a very cheap copy of a 2nd edition it was possible to reconstruct the complete version!

PPS Personally, nothing quite tops the lecture on how to write your very own Gilbert & Sullivan operetta!!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 11, 2012, 04:28:39 AM
Siegfried is my least favorite opera of the Ring. In fact, I hardly ever listen to it to be honest. I usually just skip right over it. For me, it's just not as exciting as the other three.

I understand. I'm just the opposite as Siegfried is my favourite opera of the Ring Cycle, along with Götterdämmerung; such passionate, thrilling and hauntingly beautiful music! Can't wait to see it live next November, I'm really excited! ;D

That's interesting John, as Siegfried has been my favourite of the 4 from the get-go.  I listened to the entire Siegfried twice in one day, the first time I listened to it!  (Solti recording).

Amazing, Ray, that one is my favourite opera as well! I did something similar the first time I listened to Wagner's Ring too: I listened to the entire Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and the first act of Siegfried  in a row. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 04:37:18 AM
I understand. I'm just the opposite as Siegfried is my favourite opera of the Ring Cycle, along with Götterdämmerung; such passionate, thrilling and hauntingly beautiful music! Can't wait to see it live next November, I'm really excited! ;D

Siegfried has too much singing IMHO. It seems to me that I'm now drawn to music that is more compact and direct, which I suppose is why I've pretty much weened myself off of Romantic music. I can only take Bruckner in small doses now as well, which is something I wouldn't have said three years ago. I think there's just a lot of music that overstays its welcome to me now. It don't think it's a matter of patience, but rather a matter of just being drawn to music that doesn't seem like a chore to listen to. Again, small doses does wonders for me now.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Madiel on September 11, 2012, 04:41:45 AM
Siegfried has too much singing IMHO.

This has GOT to make a quote list somewhere. An opera with too much singing.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: DavidRoss on September 11, 2012, 04:44:06 AM
PS - I know I'm in the minority.  Most people, not all (but most) prefer one of the other three.  I'm fully aware of that.
Really, Ray? I'd have thought Siegfried was the best liked. If you're in the minority, at least you're in good company!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 04:48:45 AM
This has GOT to make a quote list somewhere. An opera with too much singing.

Objectively, compared to the rest of the Ring, yes, I do believe Siegfried has too much singing.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on September 11, 2012, 08:17:05 AM
I wouldn't be able to say which is my favourite of the 4.... ;)
Sometimes, I think it is Siegfried for me. But then all I have to do is think of the Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung to start questioning myself. And I love Das Rheingold so much, and there is so much great music in Die Walkure! I just couldn't choose. :)

I'll say Gotterdammerung for now though, primarily because of the Immolation Scene.

I need to listen to some of the Ring again sometime soon! :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on September 11, 2012, 08:26:47 AM
I need to listen to some of the Ring [...] sometime soon! :)

I have begun to harbour such demonic thoughts as well, in the last few days.

*My goodness, did I just post in the Ring thread? :o*
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: madaboutmahler on September 11, 2012, 08:31:57 AM
I have begun to harbour such demonic thoughts as well, in the last few days.

*My goodness, did I just post in the Ring thread? :o*

;D

It was certainly an incredible journey, Nav! Give it a try! ;)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on September 11, 2012, 08:36:26 AM
;D

It was certainly an incredible journey, Nav! Give it a try! ;)

I actually sat through the first act of Die Walküre a few days ago, and I suppose something bit me then. That's the most I've had of Wagner at one sitting, apart from bleeding chunks. And soon after I started refresher-reading about leitmotifs and stuff. Haven't got the whole plot down yet.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 09:34:58 AM
I think any fan of late 19th Century Romanticism should hear Wagner's Ring at least once.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 11, 2012, 09:57:34 AM
I actually sat through the first act of Die Walküre a few days ago, and I suppose something bit me then. That's the most I've had of Wagner at one sitting, apart from bleeding chunks. And soon after I started refresher-reading about leitmotifs and stuff. Haven't got the whole plot down yet.
You may enjoy this as you learn the story and start exploring it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs).

Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on September 11, 2012, 08:51:17 PM
You may enjoy this as you learn the story and start exploring it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs).

Thanks. At work, right now. If it's the Lego thing, then yes, I've seen it before. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on September 12, 2012, 09:25:16 AM
You may enjoy this as you learn the story and start exploring it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv7G92F2sqs).

Thanks again. I wasn't aware of her or her routines before. Hilarious stuff!
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on September 12, 2012, 04:37:43 PM
Thanks again. I wasn't aware of her or her routines before. Hilarious stuff!

This is the same (or nearly the same) as what's on the CD I posted two days ago.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Opus106 on September 12, 2012, 08:14:04 PM
This is the same (or nearly the same) as what's on the CD I posted two days ago.

Ah, I see. I simply went to the then last post (Daniel's) and started from there. :)
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Fëanor on September 19, 2012, 04:39:07 AM
Anybody besides me watch The Met's 2012 Ring Cycle last week on PBS?  I though it was great, including the Robert Lepage production that some grumbled about. High def and multichannel sound really help too.

(http://ringcycle.metoperafamily.org/img/rheingold_A.jpg)(http://ringcycle.metoperafamily.org/img/walkure_A.jpg)(http://ringcycle.metoperafamily.org/img/siegfried_A.jpg)(http://ringcycle.metoperafamily.org/img/gotterdammerung_A.jpg)

More info from The Met HERE (http://ringcycle.metoperafamily.org/).
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 19, 2012, 10:21:13 AM
Anybody besides me watch The Met's 2012 Ring Cycle last week on PBS? 

I've been watching it, even though I'm neither a big opera fan nor a big Wagner fan. Watched the first 3 installments last week, and taped the 4th for viewing later this week.

Must say I enjoyed it. I've read various criticisms of the staging and the singing, but that's typical, right? There were only a few points where I thought the planking concept didn't quite come off ("Ride of Valkyries" looked like they were seesawing). And the dragon in Siegfried was a disappointment (large garden snake, not scary at all). I have no complaints about the singing and acting though.
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 16, 2012, 06:15:07 PM
Boy, it tok me a while to unearth that thread!

In the coming weeks I'll be posting my thoughts about the 1953 Furtwängler Rome Ring, as well as comparing it with selections of the 1951 La Scala Ring.

Cheers !  :D
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Bogey on October 16, 2012, 08:09:24 PM
Release Date: 10/16/2012

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/804685.jpg)

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=804685

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: kishnevi on October 16, 2012, 08:22:43 PM
Release Date: 10/16/2012

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/804685.jpg)

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=804685

Thoughts?

Extremely good Parsifal,  very good Meistersinger, nice Lohengrin and of course the Ring.....
I intend to get it eventually, once my listening pile diminishes and my checking account balance increases....
Title: Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
Post by: Bogey on October 16, 2012, 08:23:26 PM
Extremely good Parsifal,  very good Meistersinger, nice Lohengrin and of course the Ring.....
I intend to get it