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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen: The 1927-1932 Potted Ring Cycle [Box set]

Richard [Classical] Wagner , Albert Coates , Carl Alwin , John Barbirolli , Karl Muck , Lawrence Collingswood , Leo Blech , Robert Heger , Berlin State Opera Orchestra , Berlin State Opera Orchestra & Chorus , Berlin Deutschen Oper Chor und Orchester , London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra , London Symphony Orchestra , Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra , Vienna State Opera Orchestra , Arthur Fear , Desider Zado , Dr. Emil Schipper , Eduard Habich , Friedrich Schorr , Howard Fry , Rudolf Bockelmann , Emmi Leisner , Elsie Suddaby , Evelyn Arden , Florence Austral , Florence Easton , Frida Leider , Gota Ljungberg , Tilly de Garmo , Albert Reiss , Heinrich Tessmer , Horst R. Laubenthal , Lauritz Melchior , Waldemar Henke , Walter Widdop , Alberto Albertini , Elfriede Marherr , Genia Guszalewicz , Lydia Kinderman Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Arthur Fear, Desider Zado, Dr. Emil Schipper, Eduard Habich, Friedrich Schorr, et al.
  • Orchestra: Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Berlin State Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Berlin Deutschen Oper Chor und Orchester, London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, et al.
  • Conductor: Albert Coates, Carl Alwin, John Barbirolli, Karl Muck, Lawrence Collingswood, et al.
  • Composer: Richard [Classical] Wagner
  • Audio CD (November 29, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Format: Box set
  • 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: Pearl
  • ASIN: B000000WP5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,669 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Wagner singing - bar none August 15, 2005
This is the Ring that John Culshaw had so much fun with in his book, Ring Resounding, about the making of the Solti Ring. And he had a point. Yes, there is barely a third of the tetralogy recorded here (more than `bleeding chunks' but far less than the whole). Yes, we dart between London and Berlin and occasionally Vienna seemingly at will. Yes conductors (who didn't seem to be thought of as very important in those days) can change within scenes. So, on occasion, can singers - Act 2 of Walkure, for instance, has 2 Wotans, 2 Brunnhildes, 2 Sieglindes and Wotan No.2 doubles as Hunding! BUT...

But here is some of the most glorious singing you will hear on any Ring recording. Ever.

These days it seems to be the 50's that are lauded as the Golden Age of Wagner Singing - Hotter, Varnay, Nilsson, Flagstad (still), Windgassen, Vickers et al. But Hotter, magisterial and charismatic god that he could be, was prone to being hooty and woolly and even a bit wobbly, especially on an asthmatic day. Nilsson's awe-inspiring steely brilliance could leave her sounding a little cold and impersonal. At the other extreme, Flagstad's richer tones could make her sound a little maternal for my taste (Brunnhilde may be Siegfried's aunt, but she's not his mother!). Varnay was blisteringly committed in everything she did, but the voice as a voice? No cigar. Windgassen's Siegfried lacked the last ounce or two of vocal heft and he was apt to husband his resources a bit too much, especially in his eponymous opera. And so on.

But go back a generation further and wow! It's in a different class.

Let's start with Friedrich Schorr since he's the first of these greats to appear on these discs. In Wotan's `Abendlich strahlt' from Rheingold he is simply magnificent.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An abolute must March 8, 2005
This magnificent compilation of the greatest Wagner singers and conductors of the 20s and early 30s is an absolute MUST for everyone who is remotely interrested in how Wagner was done in the past.
The greatest attractions are the magnificent interpretations of Friedrich Schorr, Frida Leider and the young Lauritz Melchior. Schorr sings Wotan in the excerpts from Die Walkure and Leider sings Brunnhilde. Melchior sings the young Siegfried. There is so much to treasure in this set. The English tenor Walter Widdop sings Siegmund and Swedish soprano Gota Ljungberg sings Sieglinde. The Walkure and Siegfried excerpts are quite consistant in the casting. Mime is sung by different tenors in Siegfried and although Wanderer is sung by Schorr in acts 1 and 2, the role is sung by two others Emil Schippers and Rudolf Bockelmann in act 3. None of them are as noble or as magnifient sounding as Schorr. Florence Easton sings Brunnhilde with Melchior in the duet at the end of the opera.
Gotterdammerung, though, is much less consistantly cast, the only consistant casting being Florence Austral as Brunnhilde. The excerpts are much more spread and more brief than on Siegfried, which had almost all of Siegfried's scenes intact. Siegfried is sung by Walter Widdop in the prologue and acts 1 and 2 and Horst Laubenthal in act 3. These two are not as great as Melchior (who is?), but is still quite excellent. Hagen is done by Arthur Fear, Ivar Andresen, Emanuel List. Andresen sings Hagen's watch (Hier sitz ich zur Wacht) and the calling of the Vassals (Hoiho! Hoihohoho!). He is the most chilling and exciting Hagen I have ever heard. His rendition, especially the calling of the vassals, is really dominating and every time I hear it gives me shivers.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Second "Ring" February 27, 2003
After coming to know, love and perhaps becoming obsessed with the Ring through one of the modern stereo versions (e.g., Solti), you may want to hear another version. In my view, this classic version is the single best second Ring to get. It represents the fruit of a tremendous pre-War undertaking featuring many of the finest Wagnerian singers and musicians of the era giving performances that are astounding. Seventy-plus years later, the voice of Lauritz Melchior (for example) does not cease to amaze.
The sound is just fine for its era. Pearl has done an excellent job remastering and joining the sides (remember, these were 78s). I can't recommend this set highly enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Previous reviewers have done an excellent job adumbrating the many virtues of this wonderful issue; I would simply like to modify their rapture a little by putting these discs in perspective.

You could not recommend them as an introduction to the "Ring"; you really need to have already gained some love for, and familiarity with, this stupendous music before embarking on them. You also need to have some tolerance for the venerable sound - though I have to say that Mark Obert-Thorn has done such a wonderful clean-up job that one quickly forgets just how long ago these performances were recorded: only briefly after the introduction of electric recording eighty - yes; eighty - years ago. One quickly becomes oblivious to the minor sonic limitations when listening to singers of this calibre, in any case.

Highlights of these discs are definitely anything involving Melchior or Leider and for great conducting you should start by sampling the excerpts from "Goetterdaemmerung" by Karl Muck and the Berlin State Opera Orchestra on the first disc. Nonetheless, I thought Blech's account of the "Forest Murmurs" poetic and affecting, and while Rudolf Laubenthal is rather metallic compared with Melchior, he sings with fervour and strength. None of the singers here is surpassed by anyone singing today and many are clearly superior. Ivar Andresen's Hagen is the epitome of saturnine evil; Friedrich Schorr sings with magisterial authority as Wotan; both Austral and Easton cover themselves in glory as Bruennhilde even if they are not quite Leider's equal, and Widdop displays a heroic tenor which would astound a modern audience were he performing today.
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