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Wagner: Die Walkure Box set, Import

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, June 13, 2006
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$48.67 $47.00
$67.04 & FREE Shipping. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Product Details

  • Conductor: Joseph Keilbert
  • Composer: R. Wagner
  • Audio CD (June 13, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Testament UK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,718 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Die Walkure: Prelude (Vorspiel) (Act One)
2. Wes Herd dies auch sei (Act One, Scene One)
3. Kuhlende Labung gab mir
4. Mud am Herd fand ich den Mann (Act One, Scene Two)
5. Friedmund darf ich nicht heissen
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Prelude (Vorspiel) (Act Two)
2. Nun zaume dein Ross (Wotan/Brunnhilde) (Act Two , Scene One)
3. Der alte Sturm (Wotan/Frica)
4. So ist es denn aus mit den weigen Gottern (Frica)
5. Nichts lerntest du
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Siegmund ! Sieh' auf mich! (Act Two, Scene Four)
2. Hehr bist du, und heilig gewaht'ich
3. So wenig achtest du ewige Wonne? (Brunnhilde/Siegmund)
4. Zauberfest bezahmt ein Schlaf(Siegmund)(Act Two, Scene Five)
5. Kehrte der Vater nur heim ! (Sieglinde/Hunding/Siegmund/Brunnhilde/Wotan)
Disc: 4
1. Prelude - Hojotoho! Hojotoho! (Die acht Walkuren)
2. Schuzt mich und helft (Brunnhilde/Die acht Walkuren) (Act Three, Scene One)
3. Nicht sehre dich Sorge um mich (Sieglinde/Brunnhilde/Waltraute/ortlinde/Die acht Walkuren
4. Steh, Brunnhild'! (Wotan/Die acht Walkuren/Brunnhilde)
5. Wo is Brunnhild' (Wotan/Die acht Walkuren) (Act Three, Scene Two)
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


"Best" is an overused word, and particularly difficult to apply to performances of operas as huge and multifaceted as Wagner's. There are now dozens of Walküres available on CD, and most have much to recommend them. This one, part of a live Bayreuth Ring recorded in real stereo by the Decca recording crew in 1955 but never before released, is just about ideal: all of the singers, absolute golden-age-of-Wagner-singing performers, are in their prime. Ramon Vinay's baritonal Siegmend is both powerful and sympathetic; Gré Brouwenstijn's Sieglinde is wonderfully womanly, though occasionally troubled by a prominent vibrato; Josef Greindl's Hunding is a character to fear. Hans Hotter's Wotan is flawless---his sadness and tenderness are as vividly expressed as his rage and, thanks to the always- alert and dramatically intelligent leadership of Joseph Keilberth, his confrontation with the imperious Fricka of Georgine von Milinkovic has the ring of absolute honesty. Astrid Varnay's Brünnhilde is here caught at its best--utterly secure at all registers, girlish and impetuous but loving, a true powerhouse. The Valkyries are a noisy but accurate bunch. The Bayreuth Orchestra plays as if possessed---the trilling flutes in the "Ride," wonderfully captured by the engineers, add to the thrill. The "best"? Well, absolutely remarkable. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Wagner was himself a great conductor and hired eminent contemporaries to lead his operas at Bayreuth.
Santa Fe Listener
This WALKURE is a must just to hear Hans Hotter and Astrid Varnay in their prime and in very good early stereo.
R. Olsavicky
And Keilberth's conducting moves with every nuance of the score, bringing Wagner's music drama to life.
Philip Chase

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Philip Chase on June 21, 2006
The eagerly awaited stereo edition of Die Walküre as performed at Bayreuth in 1955 is finally available in the superlative stereo sound which was recorded by Decca engineers and planned for release before John Culshaw nixed the idea in favor of a studio Ring. For many years Decca's studio Ring has been the preferred cycle by most Wagnerites. Now with the gradual appearance of the Keilberth "live" 1955 cycle thanks to the Testament label (as of now we have the two middle operas, the first and fourth to appear later this year), we can emphatically state that Decca officials denied the record buying public access to a stunning cycle for 51 years. All artists in this Walk¨re are in their absolute prime. Brouwenstijn and Vinay are the passionate lovers, Greindl a menacing Hunding, Hotter probably the very best Wotan ever recorded, Varnay an incredibly involved Brünnehilde (why oh why did major record companies virtually ignore this magnificent artist?), and Von Milinkovic a superb Fricka. The Walküre sisters are very fine. And Keilberth's conducting moves with every nuance of the score, bringing Wagner's music drama to life. Because this was recorded "live" before an audience all the performers are very involved with the action. This Walküre will draw you into the story and move you emotionally more than any other audio recording. As stated, the sound is excellent, so fine you'd never realize had you not been told that the original tapes are over half a century old. Expensive the set is, but if you want to hear a Walküre that surely fulfills every one of Wagner's hopes for a performance, this must be the first choice of all Ring fans. Listen to it and marvel at the artistry and commitment of the performers. You will not be disappointed!
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Buck on June 24, 2006
When I first began to become interested in Richard Wagner's music (about 35 years ago), I heard that there was a "golden age" of Wagner singing in the earlier 1950's. In those days, I had to accept this on faith, as few recorded performances were available (the LP era was just beginning 55 years ago and recording complete Wagner works was not the first priority). Those that were available, such as Wilhelm Furtwängler's 1950 La Scala Ring (with Flagstad) and his 1953 Ring from Italian Radio, were in dreadful recorded sound. In those days (early seventies) it seemed much better to stick with the Solti studio Ring or perhaps Karajan's (although the latter was receiving bad press in many cases).

It's fortunate for all lovers of Wagner's music that we're currently living in another golden era - this time of remastered CD recordings. Now we can enjoy the great interpreters of the fifties - in decent monaural sound - in Ring cycles conducted by Furtwängler, Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch and others. But this year the selection has gotten even better - Testament is releasing a 1955 Bayreuth Ring cycle in STEREO. Decca engineers traveled to Bayreuth in 1955 (and 1956) to record Ring cycles conducted by Joseph Keilberth - but these recordings were never released until now. John Culshaw, the famed Decca producer responsible for the Solti Ring, reportedly didn't like "live" recordings and decided to withhold the Keilberth performances in preference for the Solti cycle yet to come. Testament, to their eternal credit, is now releasing these Keilberth performances, and they are superb. An extraordinary Siegfried was the first release, and now we have Die Walküre.
Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By jonsj on August 16, 2006
I will add my voice to the chorus of praise that has greeted Testament's release of the Keilberth Bayreuth Ring Cycle from 1955. The stereo sound is a major factor here. For those of us who have heard the 1950s Bayreuth Rings from conductors like Knappertsbusch, Krauss, Karajan and a younger Keilberth (in '52 and '53), there is a undeniable thrill hearing the voices of Varnay, Hotter, Vinay, et. al, and the Bayreuth orchestra in such a well-balanced stereo spread. It's as if a muffling veil had been lifted off of the performances we knew so well, to revelatory effect.

Keilberth's conducting is closer in approach to Krauss rather than Knappertsbusch. He chooses relatively swift tempi, and the textures are more transparent than the bass-heavy weight of Knappertbusch's sound. Keilberth does a terrific job of keeping the opera moving while giving the singers room to breathe (many "golden-age" singers singled out Keilberth as perhaps the greatest conductor to perform with since he followed them so nimbly and sensitively). Ramon Vinay's intensity and his dark, burly tone couple well with Gré Brouwenstijn's impassioned if somewhat tremulous singing. Hans Hotter is at his most commanding, though his voice is already a bit past its prime (his tone was lighter and more attractive through the 40s; by the 50s it could turn shuddery and dry under pressure). Astrid Varnay's tone was never ideally steady either, but her vivid declamation of text and the way her sound could expand and fill the house is captured thrillingly here. Presentation is terrific, with a booklet containing a libretto with English translation and a number of intelligent essays. The price is quite steep, unfortunately. But for lovers of historic Wagner performances, this is an essential purchase.
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