Pèire CotóTOP 50 COMMENTATEURS le 10 avril 2011
Trois années de suite, on a conservé l'interprétation du Ring par Hans Knappertsbusch à Bayreuth. Nous avons ici celle de 1956, j'ai lu que celle de 1957 abondait en "tunnels" et que des critiques trouvaient que celle de 1958 était la plus passionnante; mais je ne les connais pas. Sur ce site, on peut tout de même entendre en MP3 des extraits du Rheingold de 1958.
La première chose qu'on remarque est évidemment la lenteur caractéristique du chef. Il faut nuancer néanmoins : c'est l'Or du Rhin qui est le plus lent, la Walkyrie étant de dimensions presque normales. L'usage du rubato est rarement exagéré : quelques moments de quasi-silence pour mettre en valeur le motif suivant peuvent faire se demander s'il n'y a pas un problème technique (!), mais sinon les variations de tempo sont progressives et passent presque inaperçues de l'auditeur, tout en pouvant perturber les chanteurs.
Quelle est la qualité du son ? Evidemment inférieure à celle du Ring en stéréo de Keilberth enregistré par Decca en 1955, l'année précédente, elle est à peine supérieure à celle de l'enregistrement Krauss de 1953 quand il s'agit d'une version pirate et inférieure à elle quand on a affaire à la version "officielle" Orfeo récemment publiée. Ce Ring ne devrait pas être votre seul et unique, mais seulement une version de complément. L'orchestre semble placé très en retrait, davantage qu'avec Krauss en 1953 (Je précise que je commente à partir de l'édition Orfeo, mais un témoignage existe dans l'Amazon américaine sur les mêmes caractères sonores dans celle-ci). Or le Ring n'est pas seulement un cycle pour chanteurs, l'orchestre y joue un rôle essentiel, qu'on est un peu réduit ici à deviner.Lire la suite ›
Quoiqu'en dise Music et Arts sur son site, le son n'est pas meilleur que dans la version Golden Melodram de 1997: l'orchestre est plutôt moins présent, on a rajouté de l'aigu, c'est tout; mais il faut reconnaître que cela donne un ensemble un peu plus aéré, et les aspérités de certaines voix(Varnay!) sont gommées...On peut douté du fait que dette remastérisation provienne de la bande radio originale?
Très bon Ring, bien sûr, bien chanté, attentivement dirigé, sans aucun moment mauvais. Mais, quelque fois (dans les grands moments), j'espère quelque chose de mieux et je ne le trouve ici. Toutefois, c'est une référence absolue, et l'orquestre accompagne parfaitement les voix. Un ring rond, impeccable, sans l'orquestre assourdissante de Solti (Dieu merci). Mais pas émouvant dans les moments "forts". Pourtant, l'Acte I de la Walquirie c'est merveilleux (avec le meilleur Windgassen), et, c'est clair, Hotter et Varnay chantent de manière formidable. Cinc étoiles, sans doute, mais pas six.
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Greatest Ring Ever?2 mai 2004
Richard A. Cavalla
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I have four recordings of the Ring - Furtwangler/La Scala, this one with Knappertsbusch, Solti/VPO, and Goodall/ENO. I find myself coming back most often to this Knappertsbusch recording.
The singing is amazing. Hotter is a magnificent Wotan, and he just keeps getting better as the cycle progresses. His Wanderer in Siegfried is one of the great performances of any role, ever.
You also have many other top Wagner singers of the last century. Neidlinger and Kuen are probably the best ever at their respective roles of Alberich and Mime. Neidlinger is a tremendously evil sounding Alberich, but with just the right touch of pride and almost nobility. This is not your normal opera bad guy. This is evil on a grand scale, carried out over generations, and Neidlinger depicts this. Mime is evil on a much smaller scale, but definitely evil. Kuen does not play him as whiny or abused or comical. His Mime is sneaky and despicable. Ludwig Suthaus' Loge is another highlight, witty and suave and quite beautifully sung. Jean Madeira is Erda, and she has a haunting, rich, earthy voice that is perfect for Erda. She also sings two of Erda's daughters in Gotterdammerung: the 1st Norn and Waltraute.
Gre Brouwenstijn is Sieglinde and Gutrune, and her tender, beautiful voice is excellent for the two most human females in the cycle. Wolfgang Windgassen is both Siegmund and Siegfried. His voice might be a tad too high and youthful sounding than is typical for Siegmund, but it is a thoughtful and affecting performance. The voice may not be perfect for the role, but the interpretation is top notch. Where Winggassen really shines is as Siegfried, especially in the opera of that name. The forging scene is rambunctious and exciting and unforgettable. Windgassen portrays Siegfried as a flawed character, but well intentioned and likeable, not the thuggish brute as portrayed by some revisionists. Perhaps the only mild letdown in the cast is Josef Greindl as Fasolt, Hunding, and Hagen. He tends to sing very loud, but not very deep or dark. There is a certain primitiveness and crudeness to this interpretation that is interesting, but I prefer Gottlob Frick on the Solti set.
Finally, we come to probably the most important character in the Ring, Brunnhilde. Astrid Varnay is magnificent. I just can't praise her enough. A voice that is both powerful and beautiful, intelligent and emotional, humane and godlike. Varnay seems to be often overlooked, her career peaking in the few years between the decline of Flagstad and the rise of Nilsson. An injustice, as she is just as good if not better than those two great Brunnhildes. Every scene with Varnay is stunning - the Todesverkundigung scene in Walkure, the last scene in Siegfried, the prelude to Gotterdammmerung, the confrontation with Siegfried and the plotting of his death in Act II of Gotterdammerung, the Immolation Scene. Especially the Immolation Scene, which sends chills up and down my spine. From Siegfried's Funeral March through to the last snatches of Redemption Through Love, I can't imagine this performance (on all levels, not just Varnay's singing) being outdone.
With all these great singers around, we still can't overlook Knappertsbusch. This performance is not technically flawless, but it is very good, much better than the conventional view of Knappertsbusch as lazy and sloppy. There is the occasional slip, but not too many, and the sheer sweep and tragedy and passion of the Ring comes through expertly. Much is often made of Knappertsbusch's slow tempi, and this certainly applies to some of his performances (1951 Parsifal being the prime example), but this Ring is only about 20 minutes slower than the classic Solti. When Celibidache adds 20 minutes to an 80 minute Bruckner symphony, that is slow. Arguing about 20 minutes over the course of a 900 minute work seems silly. The tempi here work wonderfully, with a forward momentum and sense of inevitability. The balance between orchestra and singers is good, neither ever overriding the other. The sound is also clean and clear and consistent, amazingly so for a 1950s live set.
Buy this set and hear what may be the greatest recording ever of the greatest work of art ever.
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WOW8 septembre 2001
Baker Sefton Peeples
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is one unbelieable "ring," which was for so long hidden from CD buyers. This is all described in a detailed essay, included as the CD notes, which is quite beneficial, because though this performance is stunning and powerful, it has some drawbacks. Nevertheless, it is indispensible for all Wagner lovers and fanatics. The 1956 recording is not bad for its time, though the sound is a bit rough and edgy, with the strings more prominent than any other section of the orchestra. This is in part a fault of the bayreuth pit, but the orchestra is still fine, led under the great wagnerian conductor, Hans Knappertsbusch, a bayreuth regular. From the very opening of rheingold, he promises us a fabulously musical ring. Though it is slow, there is a power rarely found in other recordings and the drama is never hindered, which is in part by his wary accompaniment, and by his cast, which is extremely dramatic. Gustav Neidlinger is the unbeatable Alberich. enough said. Paul Kuen is a great mime and is so convncing in both rheingold and siegfired that one almost pities him as he always gets treated badly. The real treats though, are Hans Hotter and Astrid Varnay. I've never felt a more heartfelt closing scene of walkure, easily the best part of that opera done here, and wotan's narrative is anything but boring, thank goodness. Wolfgang Windgassen plays an ardent Siegmund and youthful and fearless Siegfried. He lustily sings the forging song and sounds appropriately scared when he awakens brunnhilde. He sounds perfectly naive and unaware of what he does in gotterdammerung, which brings up Josef Greindl, who plays fasolt, hunding, and hagen. Now, he does have his usual mannerisms of scooping notes and using an unbelievably loud delivery, but it seems to be justified since he plays the scum of the world roles in the ring. The only one that is really affected is Hagen, for this difficult part is hard to combine character with singing. Often, his characterization affects his singing. However, we get to see how evil Hagen really is. His calling of the vassals, however brutal, is bloodthirsty and is terribly exciting. Not for all tastes, but Wieland wagner loved him and he's much better than many others who attempt the role. Gre Brouwenstijn plays freia, sieglinde, and gutrune, and she's consitently brilliant, even in the two smaller roles. Her brother is played by Hermann Uhde, another bayreuth regular, who delivers his usual excellence. He and windgassen make the blood brotherhood scene a height point of gotterdammerung and it really gets crazy in the second act, when siegfried, unaware of, breaks the oath. This is where Varnay shines, even though she's great in walkure and siegfried. Her second act is like a volcanic eruption, always seeming to have more stored up. The immolation scene is hard to beat. By the way, it was flagstad, another great brunnhilde who coached her earlier in her career, and she carries that same air of greatness and interpretative genius to this part. On the conducting...its hard to say that there wasn't anything written by wagner that hans knappertsbusch couldn't conduct well, and this certainly applies here. I can't say there's been a more interesting enactment of the more "boring" parts of wagner, which can happen in narratives. Knappertsbusch may have been lazy, but he still gets magnificent results out of his singers and orchestra, which adds a lot to the success of this ring. I don't think it would be nearly as good if it were conducted by a lesser conductor. Overall, I find this preferable to even solti's ring, which i find overrated, though not bad. the principles here are in much better shape, esp. hotter, who sounds not to good later on, and varnay is much more consistently on pitch than birgit nilsson, as well as windgassen, who seems to have a bigger voice here than later. Greindl is even better than gottlob frick, who's voice weridly seems thin and unfocused. Of course, this doesn't mean its without flaws, it is a live performance, but overall, this is such rewarding listening and a great experience rarely matched.d
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A reference!22 juillet 2002
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a superb 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'. The cast is outstanding: Wolfang Windgassen as Siegmund AND Siegfried sounds fresh and heroic. Astrid Varnay as Bruennhilde is marvelous. At the same level like Birgit Nilson or Kirsten Flagstad. Hans Hotter as Wotan is still a reference. Gustav Neidlinger as Alberich is just perfect. The other cast is also very good. The conducting of Knappertsbusch is gentle and slow. It takes some time to be familiar with it, but after that I prefer it against the pompous and sometimes brutish style of other conductors especially Solti. Because of the live atmosphere it sounds vital and fresh. I always prefer live recordings from Bayreuth, they sound naturally against the synthetical studio recordings. But remember: This is still a mono recording. If you want a stereo one get the Boulez 'Ring'. I know other recordings of the 'Ring': Karajan, Boulez, Solti, Levine and Barenboim, but Knappertsbusch is now my first choice.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Great Stuff!22 décembre 2002
Howard Grady Brown
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I just got this set today; I listened to Act 1 of Gotterdammerung and I am amazed at the quality of the sound. The singers are clearly favored over the orchestra, yes, but what fine singers they are, and Knappertsbusch paces the drama perfectly to my mind and ears. If you demand the most up to date sonics, you stand to miss something far more important: the very soul of this music drama captured live in the house built for it. I know I prefer Knappertsbusch's measured yet maleable approach to Bohm's headlong drive in his recordings from the same theatre.
27 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A very good Ring but not indispensable10 juillet 2004
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a fine Ring allowing for the vintage -- but the cream of the Bayreuth Rings on disc remains that of Clemens Krauss featuring many of the same singers (Varnay is certainly caught in finer voice in 53) -- the conducting is consistently more alert, the recording more transparent and true to life, and the vocalism fresher by all significant principal singers. While you can't really compare cycles of this period with those of the modern stereo era, I certainly think a truer picture of the Ring is present here than in the synthetic Rings (such as Karajan's precious box of chocolates). In modern digital Rings, no one has displaced the Janowski in either sound or naturalness of approach.