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Keilberth: Wagner – Die Walkure (4 CD, FLAC)

Wagner: Die Walküre (4 CD, FLAC)
Wagner: Die Walküre (4 CD, FLAC)

Performer: Astrid Varnay, Elisabeth Schartel, Georgine von Milinkovic, Gerda Lammers, Gré Brouwenstijn
Orchestra: Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Conductor: Joseph Keilberth
Composer: Richard Wagner
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 4
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Testament
Size: 1.15 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc: 1
01. Die Walkure: Prelude (Vorspiel) (Act One)
02. Wes Herd dies auch sei (Act One, Scene One)
03. Kuhlende Labung gab mir
04. Mud am Herd fand ich den Mann (Act One, Scene Two)
05. Friedmund darf ich nicht heissen
06. Aus dem Wald trieb es mich fort
07. Ich weiss ein wildes Geschlect (Hunding)
08. Ein Schwert werhiess mir der Vater (Siegmund) (Act One, Scene Three)
09. Schlafst du, Gast? (Sieglinde/Siegmund)
10. Wintersturme wichen dem wonnermond (Siegmund)
11. Du bist der Lenz
12. Wehwalt heisst du furwahr? (Sielinde/Siegmund)

Disc: 2
01. Prelude (Vorspiel) (Act Two)
02. Nun zaume dein Ross (Wotan/Brunnhilde) (Act Two , Scene One)
03. Der alte Sturm (Wotan/Frica)
04. So ist es denn aus mit den weigen Gottern (Frica)
05. Nichts lerntest du
06. Was verlangst du? (Wotan/Fricka/Brunnhilde)
07. Schlimm, furcht’ ich, schloss der Streit (Brunnhilde/Wotan) (Act Two, Scene Two)
08. Was keinem in Worten ich kunde
09. Ein andres ist’s (Wotan/Brunnhilde)
10. O sag/, kunde (Brunnhilde/Wotan)
11. Raste nun hier (Act Two, Scene Three)
12. Hinweg! Hinweg ! (Siegmund/Sieglinde)

Disc: 3
01. Siegmund ! Sieh’ auf mich! (Act Two, Scene Four)
02. Hehr bist du, und heilig gewaht’ich
03. So wenig achtest du ewige Wonne? (Brunnhilde/Siegmund)
04. Zauberfest bezahmt ein Schlaf(Siegmund)(Act Two, Scene Five)
05. Kehrte der Vater nur heim ! (Sieglinde/Hunding/Siegmund/Brunnhilde/Wotan)

Disc: 4
01. Prelude – Hojotoho! Hojotoho! (Die acht Walkuren)
02. Schuzt mich und helft (Brunnhilde/Die acht Walkuren) (Act Three, Scene One)
03. Nicht sehre dich Sorge um mich (Sieglinde/Brunnhilde/Waltraute/ortlinde/Die acht Walkuren
04. Steh, Brunnhild’! (Wotan/Die acht Walkuren/Brunnhilde)
05. Wo is Brunnhild’ (Wotan/Die acht Walkuren) (Act Three, Scene Two)
06. Hier bin ich, Vater (Brunnhilde/Wotan)
07. Wehe ! Weh’! Schwester (Die acht Walkuren/Brunnhilde/Wotan)
08. War es so schmahlich (Act Three, Scene Three)
09. Nicht weise bin ich
10. So tatest du
11. Du zeugtest ein edles Geschlect (Brunnhilde/Wotan)
12. Leb wohl, du kuhnes, herrliches Kind !
13. Denn einer nur freie die Braut
14. Loge, hor! Lausche hieher ! (Wotan)

A Memorable Performance!

Rarely does a release live up to its hype, but the Testament release of the 1955 Ring from Bayreuth is one that does. This CD is jam-packed with incredible performances from one of the best casts assembled in the post-war era. Ramon Vinay gives a magnificent performance as Siegmund–and I really like his rich baritonal timbre. (In fact, he began and ended his career as a baritone.) He sings with intelligence, sensitivity and passion. Gre Brouwenstijn gives an surprisingly (for her) ardent account of Sieglinde and Josef Griendl is a wonderfully malevolent Hunding.

The two stars of the show are clearly Hans Hotter as Wotan and Astrid Varnay as Brunnehilde. Hotter was probably the leading heldenbaritone of the 20th century, and there really is no one better as Wotan. Others may have richer and fuller voices, but few are as good singing actors as was Hotter. Varnay is a revelation. If Birgit Nilsson was said to have a voice like burnished steel, Varnay, (who was one of Nillson’s closest friends in the business), has a darker, richer instrument that gives her portrayal more “humanity”, if one can use that word about a god’s daughter! (She’s also incredible on the “Siegfried” CD and don’t miss her Tristan und Isolde with Ramon Vinay.) Known to many of my generation only through her later “character” mezzo roles, she is enjoying a renaissance now through these incredible releases from the mid-50s, the height of her career.

Joseph Keilberth conducts with drive and energy, and he gets ample support from the Bayreuth orchestra. The sound quality is remarkable for that time, (and in stereo, no less), and although the price is a bit steep, if one buys it from one of the dealers that sell on Amazon one can save quite a bit.

It may not be the “best” Ring cycle, but it’s right up there and a wonderful opportunity to hear some of the last 50 years’ top Wagnerian artists in their prime.

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