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Thread: Wagner opera on disc......Die Walkure

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Post Wagner opera on disc......Die Walkure

    One of Wagner's most popular operas and the first "official" opera of the Ring. A lot of amazing music here including the magnificent Wotan/Brunhilde farewell scene and Magic Fire music.

    So what's your pick for this monumental opera?
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    2E756EDE-B0F4-4E1E-80F2-DF51709741F2.jpeg
    My favorite all time Walkure, Nilsson-Solti

    ACCD9DAF-6326-4C0B-A854-D663298240C1.jpeg
    An astonishing night at the Met recovered by Pristine Classical
    Last edited by MAS; Oct-13-2017 at 17:15.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    In addition to MAS's recommendation of the 1940 Met broadcast...

    walkure keilberth.jpg

    Hotter in better voice than for Solti, where he's simply too old.

    walkure goodall.jpg

    Wrong language, but the cast is superlative.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Discounting the Krauss in which the sound is dated I have the Bohm which is a bit fast and frenetic, the Furtwangler (VPO) which is superbly conducted but poorly cast, and the Karajan which is absolutely magnificent if you don't mind some off centre casting. With the exception of Vickers the voices tend to be lighter than the normal Wagner canons but the whole things gels with the magnificent BPO roaring through the storms and whispering in the Magic Fire Music.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    the Furtwangler (VPO) which is superbly conducted but poorly cast,
    I wouldn't go quite that far. Admittedly, Rysanek was having a bad day, Klose was a bit past it, Frantz was no Hotter, and Modl is an acquired taste, but Suthaus is excellent and Frick a virtually definitive Hunding. It's certainly far better cast that any number of recordings that have been issued since. And it is, by far, the best conducted Walkure on records.

    the Karajan which is absolutely magnificent if you don't mind some off centre casting.
    I love Acts 2&3, but I find the first act strangely low key.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I wouldn't go quite that far. Admittedly, Rysanek was having a bad day, Klose was a bit past it, Frantz was no Hotter, and Modl is an acquired taste, but Suthaus is excellent and Frick a virtually definitive Hunding. It's certainly far better cast that any number of recordings that have been issued since. And it is, by far, the best conducted Walkure on records.



    I love Acts 2&3, but I find the first act strangely low key.
    Both ladies have sounded much better on disc. Franz is an absolute pain - can't think why Hotter wasn't asked as he was in prime vocal form at the time. He is past it with Solti. As too conducting it is superb but Karajan's is just as valid in the different way.

    Low key? Not with Vickers
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-13-2017 at 20:58.

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    Keilberth 53 (where Hotter is even younger!)

    N.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    The answer lies somewhere in the iconic 1953-58 Bayreuth Rings (for Varnay fans)

    55 Keilberth has stereo sound 53 Krauss (Pristine XR) has more forcefull driving rhythms but perhaps the greatest "overall casts top to bottom" were assembled for Knap 57-58 which have excellent sound in latest Walhall issues.......both have Hotter/Varnay duo with Griendl as hundig, the volsungs offer the deciding factor two excellent pairings offering different dynamics, and 58 with young golden voiced Vickers is really really special (especially in 58 - David A)



    Wintersturme 1958
    https://youtu.be/AgAoyuolzms

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    In addition to MAS's recommendation of the 1940 Met broadcast...

    walkure keilberth.jpg

    Hotter in better voice than for Solti, where he's simply too old.

    walkure goodall.jpg

    Wrong language, but the cast is superlative.
    I would have picked up the 2nd Keilberth Walkure except they interrupted Act 3 with Tannhauser excerpts!!!
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    This one for CD and the Boulez on DVD.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    PACO091_d35af647-426e-4302-9bd6-1f827baf6c67_530x.jpg

    31JWfxvwrfL.jpg

    51xEeKNWx-L._SY355_.jpg

    Wagner_Walkure_811025051.jpg

    To me, the biggest dividing line between a successful and unsuccessful performance of Wagner is whether it reminds you of those witticisms about wonderful moments but awful quarters of an hour. Die Walkure is a particularly good example of this--in the hands of some, the whole opera is riveting and engrossing from start to finish. In the hands of others, this is a collection of great bits (Wintersturme, Du bist der Lenz, the Todesverkundigung, Leb wohl) strung together between vast expanses of dull monologuing.

    No cycles I've listened to solves this better than Bohm and Furtwangler in his 1950 La Scala performance. They also have the benefit of overall very strong casts, although other recordings have arguably had better. To me, Nilsson and Flagstad are unapproachable as Brunnhilde, with Nilsson holding an edge for me since I prefer her fervor to Flagstad's placidity. I think King and Rysanek in the Bohm is maybe my favorite pair of lovers/siblings on record, and while I certainly prefer Hotter in his prime, I think Adam and Frantz deliver intelligent and affecting performances.

    For a third pick, I'd opt for the 1953 Keilberth--it's a distance behind my top two, but it's a good one, and while I'm no fan of Modl's strained and gusty Brunnhilde, at least she's not as irritating for me as Varnay. Most of the 50s Bayreuth cycles are invalidated for me because of my fairly intense Varnay allergy, but I also do think the playing and conducting and overall conceptions are stronger with Bohm and Furtwangler than with Keilberth, Krauss or Knappertsbusch.

    And then, two classic historical recordings--the pastiche of Walter's Act 1 and several Act 2 scenes along with the completion by Seidler-Winkler, and Furtwangler's 1937 Covent Garden recordings that include the full Act 3 with Flagstad in her prime and Rudolf Bockelmann, a great bass-baritone who damaged his career postwar irreparably due to his Nazi sympathies--interesting how that ruined some careers and did no damage to others--I guess they couldn't all marry Jewish heads of recording companies.

    There's also a good Elmendorff Act 1 with Lorenz and Teschemacher from 1944. I don't care for Leinsdorf's or Bodanzky's way with the Ring so I'm not a fan of any of the Melchior/Flagstad recordings, but they're certainly worth listening to for the singing performances.

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    This one for CD and the Boulez on DVD.
    Boulez is the only DVD and second Walküre I've listened to. The duo Siegmund-Sieglinde (Hoffman-Altmeyer), plus Brünhilde and Hunding (D.GJ and Salminen) are extraordinary. McIntyre as Wotan is quite ok. The Chereau staging was made for actors. Let's hope one day Decca or Eloquence reissues the Boulez ring in audio (though the DVDs are a better pick).
    Last edited by Granate; Oct-14-2017 at 19:34.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    To me, the biggest dividing line between a successful and unsuccessful performance of Wagner is whether it reminds you of those witticisms about wonderful moments but awful quarters of an hour. Die Walkure is a particularly good example of this--in the hands of some, the whole opera is riveting and engrossing from start to finish. In the hands of others, this is a collection of great bits (Wintersturme, Du bist der Lenz, the Todesverkundigung, Leb wohl) strung together between vast expanses of dull monologuing.
    I have yet to encounter a version of Walkure that doesn't leave me with the wonderful/awful feeling, and that is particularly true of the 2nd act (and I know that this is heresy!!) Act 1 is great, most of act 3 is very good, but act 2...

    (and I have listened/seen many including but not limited to Karajan, Solti, Keilberth, Boulez, Levine and Goodall.)

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    After a lot of deliberation I have decided, by a narrow margin, to opt for Karajan, no, Solti, no, Leinsdorf, no, definitely Karajan. Yep final decision, Karajan. But there are a few I have still to hear so this may not be my final word.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘It will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end!’

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I have yet to encounter a version of Walkure that doesn't leave me with the wonderful/awful feeling, and that is particularly true of the 2nd act (and I know that this is heresy!!) Act 1 is great, most of act 3 is very good, but act 2...

    (and I have listened/seen many including but not limited to Karajan, Solti, Keilberth, Boulez, Levine and Goodall.)
    I don't think that's heresy, I think that's a reasonable reaction to most of the recordings you listed, several of which are in fact the exact recordings I had in mind as the unsuccessful ones when I wrote what I wrote above.

    I'd suggest at least giving the Furtwangler La Scala from Pristine (but that's a hefty investment) or the Bohm (much much cheaper) a few spins to see if that changes your reactions any--I personally find the Bohm Act 2 to be the most successful performance that I've heard, and it is a really tricky one to pull off.

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