Joseph Keilberth - Wagner: Gotterdammerung -The Ring Cycle


Testament (Decca)



Product No.:
ADEC 1393
In Stock

Vinyl Box Sets

No. of Discs: 6
Note: 180 Gram


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"…In brief, instead of a baton, Keilberth seems to wield a lean, sinewy whip, driving the Bayreuth band to peaks of tension from which the music then seems to leap straight skyward…The effect is so exhilarating because what Keilberth makes happen seems impossible: so large an orchestra and chorus shouldn't be able to move so deftly, so gracefully, so precisely, at such speed…This is the best performance of the Gotterdammerung ever released, and it concludes one of the two or three best recordings of the Ring ever made." – Richard Lehnert, Stereophile, June 2007

The most coveted performance of Wagner's legendary epic Ring Cycle was in fact recorded by Decca in Stereo live at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival. But until now, that lost performance has remained but a memory.

Thrillingly conducted by Joseph Keilberth (called by Astrid Varnay, "a conductor with so much love, who was always there for you"), the cycle provides the opportunity to hear complete for the first time on commercial release the definitive performances of Hans Hotter, Astrid Varnay, Ramon Vinay, Josef Greindl and Paul Kuen, in addition to the much-loved Siegfried of Wolfgang Windgassen, here heard in his prime.

These live Bayreuth performances were taped by a Decca team led by Peter Andry and including the noted engineers Kenneth Wilkinson and Roy Wallace, with Gordon Parry as assistant. Using a new six-channel mixer designed by Wallace, the team made both stereo and mono recordings of each opera. Three microphones were placed in the sunken orchestra pit and three were hanged from a lighting bridge about 20 feet above the stage. "This was brilliant; it worked beautifully," remembers Wallace. The company prepared for an expected release, but John Culshaw, recently returned to Decca, vetoed the project. He disliked "live" recordings and already had plans for a studio Ring with Solti, which began four years later. Decca's recording vividly captures in wonderful stereo sound the unique acoustic and stage/pit balance of the Bayreuth Festival theatre with its sunken orchestra, in addition to preserving the leading singers from a Wagnerian golden age in live performance.

1. Prelude (beginning)
2. Prelude (conclusion)
3. Act One, Scene One (beginning)
4. Act One, Scene One (conclusion)
5. Act One, Scene Two (beginning)
6. Act One, Scene Two (conclusion)
7. Act One, Scene Three (beginning)
8. Act One, Scene Three (continued)
9. Act One, Scene Three (conclusion)
10. Act Two, Scene One
11. Orchestral Interlude
12. Act Two, Scene Two
13. Act Two, Scene Three
14. Act Two, Scene Four (beginning)
15. Act Two, Scene Four (conclusion)
16. Act Two, Scene Five
17. Act Three, Scene One (beginning)
18. Act Three, Scene One (conclusion)
19. Act Three, Scene Two (beginning)
20. Act Three, Scene Two (conclusion)
21. Act Three, Scene Three (beginning)
22. Act Three, Scene Three (conclusion)

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