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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic

Album Summary

>Wagner, Richard : Das Rheingold
>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
>Wagner, Richard : Siegfried
>Wagner, Richard : Götterdämmerung
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
As perspectives on the Solti/Culshaw enterprise lengthen, and critical reactions are kept alert by the regular appearance of new, or newly issued, and very different recordings, it may seem increasingly ironic that of all conductors the ultra-theatrical Solti should have been denied a live performance. There are indeed episodes in this recording that convey more of the mechanics of the studio than of the electricity of the opera house - the opening of Die Walküre, Act 2, and the closing scenes of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, for example. Yet, in general, dramatic impetus and atmosphere are strongly established and well sustained, sometimes more powerfully than is usually managed in the theatre.

As just one example one would instance the superb control with which the intensity of Donner's summoning up of the thunder in DasRheingold is maintained across Froh's greeting to the rainbow bridge into Wotan's own great salutation. At the majestic climax of this scene the power of feeling conveyed by George London's fine performance counts for more than any 'artificiality' in the way the voice is balanced against the orchestra.

Equally memorable in a totally different context is Solti's management of the long transition in Götterdämmerung between Hagen's Watch and the appearance of Waltraute. Nothing could be less mannered or unnatural than Solti's grasp of perspective and feeling for the life of each phrase in this music. On CD the clarity of instrumental detail is consistently remarkable, and while not all the singers sound as if they're constantly in danger of being overwhelmed there are some vital episodes, especially those involving Windgassen and Nilsson. Awareness of what these artists achieved in other recordings strengthens the suspicion that they may have been giving more than we actually get here.

Windgassen isn't allowed to dominate the sound picture in the way his part demands, and Nilsson can seem all-too relaxed within the comforting cocoon of the orchestral texture.

Penguin Guide
Solti himself developed in the process of making the reocrding, and Götterdämmerung represents a peak of achievement for him, commanding and magnificent.



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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : Das Rheingold
  • Running Time: 79 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1853-1854

>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
  • Running Time: 139 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1854-1856

>Wagner, Richard : Siegfried
  • Running Time: 203 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1856-1871

>Wagner, Richard : Götterdämmerung
  • Performer: Helen Watts (Voice)
  • Running Time: 158 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1869-1874