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Saturday, July 13, 2013

New Arrival...



Despite the obvious limitations of recording Wagner pre-LP era, this re-release of the first complete Ring Cycle, recorded in 1948/49 is a welcome addition to the catalogue.  The quality is remarkable, voices coming across nicely and the closeness of the microphones give an intimacy to many characters that make them all the more real.  

Take the Alberich of Adolf Vogel for example, all the more chilling in his hushed and whispered delivery.  Gunther Treptow sounds like a Germanic Jussi Bjorling and Siegfried suits him perfectly, the vocal difficulties of Act 1 pose no threat to this man at all.

Despite some variable orchestral playing (it's difficult to listen to the Rheingold prelude without cracking a smile for example) and some very stodgy moments (the most lack-lustre Rhinemaidens on disc) it's a very enjoyable listen so far.  There are however some distracting digital noises in Die Walkure that made me think that there were trucks reversing outside while a mobile phone was ringing (a few times in Act 2) but this is a small price to pay for the outstanding quality of this Myto release.

What I find curious is the complete difference in approach to that of conductors only a couple of years later with the launch of the 'New Bayreuth' in 1951.  Moralt and his forces imbue a style form the previous era, the last remnants of the pre-war treatment which I find captivating.  After hearing so many Wolfgang Windgassen 'New Bayreuth' Siegfrieds from the 50's and 60's, Gunther Treptow comes as a refreshing change and he's more clear of tone and delivery than his contemporary Max Lorenz (may the opera gods forgive me for saying that).

I haven't got to the Brunnhilde of Gertrude Grob-Prandl yet, she appears for the first time in Siegfried.  I look forward to her awakening immensely.  Helena Braun sings the Walkure Brunnhilde.  It's a vocal technique not heard these days and her Act 2 entrance highly individual.

You could probably call this a mini review and a work in progress.  I will eventually write a more comprehensive review, I just need to add it to the list...and the Janowsky Rheingold is on the top of that list right now.  More soon...


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