Notes & Reviews:
On four incredibly busy, surely taxing, days in June 49 years ago, Astrid Varnay recorded an appreciable trance of her repertory, largely in the company of her husband Hermann Weigert as conductor. For the first time all these recordings are assembled in a single issue, along with others made later in the 1950s . . . Varnay enthusiasts will be delighted to have everything here.
[On] DG's Astrid Varnay set of three CDs of her commercial Wagner recordings made in her prime (early 1950s) ... the sound is as excellent as one would expect, so one can appreciate her voice in minute detail, relishing her every commanding interpretative decision.
These performances, recorded between 1955 and 1959, remind us no less strongly that she [Astrid Varnay] was one of the most remarkable Wagnerian singers of that time. [...] Varnay is best in the rapt, inner intensity of No. 3 [of the Wesendonck Lieder], "Im Treibhaus". Such inner intensity is also abundant in the long extract from Act 2 of Tristan. [...] it is Varnay's grandly-phrased account of the closing scene from G÷tterdammerung that wins this disc the strongest recommendation.
This has always been one of DGG's most impressive Wagner recordings with a sumptuousness of sound that was unrivalled before the arrival of stereo. Astrid Varnay has some swoopy moments, but generally she sings with a glowing beauty, and Windgassen at his finest shows that few Heldentenoren have approached him in recent years for beauty of tone and musicianship.
MusicWeb International, 12th August 2013
Without reservation I enjoyed every track on this Eloquence release. Although some of the mono recordings are around sixty years old there is nothing at all to worry about with the sound which is very good for its age. Astrid Varnay singing Wagner is always an exciting prospect and this reissued material brought together on a double set certainly does her proud.
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