Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nilsson's tireless Brunnhilde and Windgassen's intelligent Siegfried are unsurpassed.
Karl Böhm rightly plays a prominent part in Philips's boxes of Bayreuth performances issued to mark the Festspielhaus's centenary. During the mid-1960s he was the dominating conductor there, and his Ring cycle, although not overruling other interpretations in the catalogue, supplements them with another, and quite different view of the work, as JW indicated in his first review three years ago... Böhm's interpretation, as can be confirmed in the 1969 Bayreuth programme listings of various conductor's times, is on the whole on the fast side. That, for me, comes as a welcome change from the predominantly slow readings we have
admired in London recently from Goodall, Colin Davis and Mackerras. There are obvious losses; but also many positive gains. The quicker tempi, particularly in the context of a live recording, make for a more direct and dramatic reading, and certain passages that can become portentous, even dull, at slower speeds are gathered together here into the sweep of the whole interpretation; ...the opening of the second act of Siegfried [and] the end of that act...are instances, while the surge of the...duet at the end of Siegfried is wholly admirable.
...Böhm's cast is not uniformly excellent, but contains at least two performances unsurpassed on the other sets. These are Nilsson's tireless Brunnhilde and Windgassen's intelligent Siegfried. I know that they took their parts on the Decca recording too, but here, in a stage performance, they both sound that much more involved in what they are doing. Windgassen, who was surely undervalued while he was alive, is unfailingly musical (even if the tone can be uncomfortably hard), and his understanding of the developing character is marvellous to hear... [T]he only signs of tiredness come right at the end of Siegfried, understandably enough. Nilsson moves from the womanly creation of Walküre through the tender yet heroic goddess of Siegfried... I would recommend a newcomer to the Böhm cycle. He will never be bored, he will appreciate the dramatic if not the metaphysical essence of the vast work, and experience a totally theatrical performance.
-- Gramophone [7/1976]
reviewing the complete Böhm Ring on LP
Works on This Recording
Siegfried by Richard Wagner
Theo Adam (Bass),
Erwin Wohlfahrt (Tenor),
Erika Köth (Soprano),
Vera Soukupová (Alto),
Birgit Nilsson (Soprano),
Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor),
Kurt Böhme (Bass),
Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone)
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Written: 1871; Germany
Date of Recording: 1967
Venue: Live Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany
Length: 223 Minutes 29 Secs.
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