The Ring (Wagner's)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Stefan A, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    For the 13 years or so that I have been into classical music (and have a B.S. and M.M in music) it is surprising that I have not actually sat down and listened to The Ring. Of course I have known the popular sections. But, the other day, I listened to Das Reingold and followed the libretto. Now I am ready to go through the rest of them. I listened to Solti with VPO for Das Reingold. I have The Met with James Levine for Die Walkure. I still do not own Siegfried or Gotterdammerung but want to get them. I would like to get the Solti recordings of the others.

    So, I am just wondering which recordings you guys like. Also, have any of you seen the Cycle on DVD with Boulez? As far as I know, that is the only one out on DVD right now.
     
  2. Shaw

    Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi:
    I have been listening to Classical for about 20 years and Opera about 7.
    For Wagner recordings I have:
    Ring (complete) Solti, VPO
    Ring (complete) Bohm, Bayreuth (Live)
    Die Walkure (DVD) complete Levine, Morris, Met
    Das Rheingold, Staatskapelle Dresden, Janowski
    The Solti Ring is perhaps not as spontaneous as the Live Bohm set, but the orchestra is amazing. Make sure to get the "de-hissed" 1997 re-mastering with the CEDAR process. Amazing sound for it's age and very consistent from one opera to the next.
    The Bohm is great for the spontaneous flow of the drama, but the orchestra can have a little trouble with tuning here and there. There is also some audience noise which can be a little ditracting at times. The Bohm is very "high octane" though in it's own way and is very exciting too.
    AS to which complete Ring, I guess it's a question of what you think you would prefer. The live Bohm is more spontaneous, but the Solti has the amazing Vienna Philharmonic which has the most amazing brass. Incredible!
    If I were you though, I would probably get the Solti re mastered in 1997 and totally packaged anew. Beautiful set, but more expensive. If budget is a concern, check out the Bohm, but I do not know if it has a libretto, or if it is really cheaper.
    You may wanna check out the Richard Wagner Message Board as well:
    http://f24708.siteboard.de/
     
  3. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

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    I have the complete Ring by Böhm as well, awesome recording, and Birgit Nilsson, WOW.
    Must admit it's been a while since I sat through it all, though...
     
  4. andrew markworthy

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    There are a couple of Ring Cycles on DVD. The Boulez performance is fast-paced (NB: this is a relative term with Wagner!) and the production was at the time highly controversial. It is still not exactly a conventional production, and it's a case of love it or hate it.

    The Solti is the gold standard of classical recordings. The reason is in part historical - it was the first complete recording to be released on LP and was seen as the flagship of the (then) new medium. The dehissed version on CD is overall the better bet (though I personally think it sounds a bit 'synthetic'), but if you see a v. cheap copy of the original CD release (as I did) don't pass it by. Also be sure to get the 2 disc companion to the cycle by Deryck Cooke (which uses extracts from Solti's recording), which is the best introduction to the Ring and what all the leitmotifs are (and if you don't know what a leitmotif is yet, then find out quick, because it's central to Wagner's work). Solti's is probably the best overall interpretation and arguably had the best overall cast (though I like the Wotan in Boulez's recording). Some people find it a bit ponderous at times. Having said that, nearly all the versions have their virtues. I would however advise against the historical (i.e. pre-Solti) recordings unless you're a Wagner fanatic. There are some great performances, certainly, but the recordings are often not exactly brilliant.

    Incidentally, there is (or was) an English language recording of the Ring which is pretty good and 9f you don't speak German, will save you staring at a libretto translation for 5 hours at a stretch.
     
  5. Viktor Lundberg

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    For overall quality of singing I'd go with either the Solti or the Boehm. I personally choose the Solti for the conducting but the casts are very similar.
    None of the "modern" recordings are even close to these two IMO.

    Regards:

    Viktor
     

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