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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Bohm, Bayreuther Festspiele [14-CD Collector's Edition]

Release Date: 10/19/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001479602   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Richard Wagner
Performer:  Theo AdamBirgit NilssonHelga DerneschDorothea Siebert,   ... 
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival OrchestraBayreuth Festival Chorus
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 13 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Back in the 70s an article appeared in the New York Times about Wagner’s Ring with a title something like “Solti or Karajan, Both are Necessary.” That was, more or less, the sum total of the Ring discography as far as most critics were concerned. Böhm’s live Bayreuth performances, from 1966, received scant if any mention. To be sure the Bayreuth orchestra was no match for Karajan’s Berliners or Solti’s Vienna Philharmonic purely technically, but Böhm’s cast was sensational, the best that the stereo era had to offer. It can be described as “Solti plus,” since it used many of the same singers as the Solti Ring–principally Birgit Nilsson’s Brünhilde, Wolfgang Windgassen’s Siegfried, James King’s Siegmund, Gustav Neidlinger’s Read more Alberich, and Kurt Böhme’s Fafner.

The principal difference among the major characters consists of Theo Adam’s very human and vulnerable Wotan (instead of Hans Hotter), and Leonie Rysanek in the role of Sieglinde (as opposed to Solti’s Regine Crespin, who was Karajan’s Brünhilde). There is also the tradition of some luxury casting at Bayreuth, putting major or past-prime singers in small parts (Martha Mödl as Waltraute), and casting young but soon-to-be-more-important artists such as Helga Dernesch, Anja Silja, Martti Talvela, and Thomas Stewart. Sieglinde was one of Rysanek’s major roles, and her famous coital shriek when Siegfried pulls the sword from Hunding’s tree (sound sample) remains an iconic moment in Wagnerian performance, not just for its overt sexual suggestiveness, but for what it says about Böhm’s interpretation more generally.

Simply put, this is the most purely theatrical, exciting ring on disc. Böhm, as everyone who sang with him will tell you, was a true man of the theater. His tempos are generally swift, and focused on moving the action forward relentlessly, but never merely frenetically. He lets his singers really sing, supporting them with unaffected mastery. Not for him Karajan’s revisionist “conception” of Wagner’s scoring–this is a living, breathing, performance by characters who spring to life vividly, without a trace of routine. For that reason, even if Solti also remains a reference for the combination of singing and playing, when I want to hear Wagner’s Ring in modern stereo, this one, now a Decca bargain box, remains my personal version of choice.

David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Theo Adam (Bass), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853-1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Language: German 
Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Helga Dernesch (Soprano), Dorothea Siebert (Mezzo Soprano), Anja Silja (Soprano),
Annelies Burmeister (Mezzo Soprano), Ruth Hesse (Alto), Vera Soukupová (Alto),
Hermin Esser (Tenor), Theo Adam (Bass), Erwin Wohlfahrt (Tenor),
Martti Talvela (Bass), Kurt Böhme (Bass), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone),
Gerd Nienstedt (Bass), Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Length: 136 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: German 
Die Walküre by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Liane Synek (Soprano), Gertraud Hopf (Mezzo Soprano), Elisabeth Schärtel (Alto),
Helga Dernesch (Soprano), James King (Tenor), Gerd Nienstedt (Bass),
Sieglinde Wagner (Alto), Leonie Rysanek (Soprano), Sona Cervena (Mezzo Soprano),
Theo Adam (Bass), Danica Mastilovic (Soprano), Annelies Burmeister (Mezzo Soprano),
Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Length: 210 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: German 
Siegfried by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Erwin Wohlfahrt (Tenor), Kurt Böhme (Bass), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone),
Erika Köth (Soprano), Theo Adam (Bass), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano),
Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor), Vera Soukupová (Alto)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Length: 223 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: German 
Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Marga Höffgen (Alto), Annelies Burmeister (Mezzo Soprano), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano),
Anja Silja (Soprano), Josef Greindl (Bass), Martha Mödl (Mezzo Soprano),
Ludmila Dvoráková (Soprano), Helga Dernesch (Soprano), Sieglinde Wagner (Alto),
Thomas Stewart (Baritone), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone), Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor),
Dorothea Siebert (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871-1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  Live  Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany 
Length: 248 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Das Rheingold / Scene 1: Vorspiel
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: "Weia! Waga! Woge du Welle!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: "Garstig glatter glitschriger Glimmer!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: "Wallala! Lalaleia! Leialalei!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: "Lugt, Schwestern! Die Weckerin lacht in den Grund"
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: "Der Welt Erbe Gewänn' ich zu eigen durch dich?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 1: Orchesterzwischenspiel
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Wotan! Gemahl! Erwache!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Nur Wonne schafft dir, was mich erschreckt?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Sanft schloß Schlaf dein Aug'"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Bin ich nun frei?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Lauschtest du seinem Liebesgruß?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Zu mir, Freia!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Endlich, Loge!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Halt! Nicht sie berührt!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Immer ist Undank Loges Lohn!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Nicht so leicht und locker gefügt!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Taugte Wohl des goldnen Tandes"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Freia, die schöne, schau' ich nicht mehr"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Weiche, Wotan, weiche!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Hör', Wotan, der Harrenden Wort!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Hört, ihr Riesen!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: "Jetzt fand ich's"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Furchtbar nun erfind' ich des Fluches Kraft!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 2: Verwandlungsmusik
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Hehe! hehe! hieher! hieher! Tückischer Zwerg!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Schwüles Gedünst schwebt in der Luft"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Zur Burg führt die Brücke"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Wer hälfe mir?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Mit eurem Gefrage"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Was wollt ihr hier?"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Habt acht! Habt acht!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: "Riesen-Wurm winde sich ringelnd!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 3: Verwandlungsmusik
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Da, Vetter, sitze du fest!"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Wohlan, die Nibelungen rief ich mir nah"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Zu deiner Lösung mußt du ihn lassen"
Das Rheingold / Scene 4: "Rheingold! Rheingold! Reines Gold!"

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