Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Hans Hotter as Wotan, Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegmund and Siegfried, Josef Greindl as Hunding, Gré Brouwenstijn as Sieglinde, and Astrid Varnay as Brünnhilde. With the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch (1956). (ADD) UPC #0-17685-40092-6.
Writes critic William H. Youngren in his liner notes: “When I reflect on what was unique about Knappertsbusch’s work, Wagner’s tempo direction ‘Lebhaft, doch gewichtig’ [lively, yet weighty] comes to mind. At his best, Knappertsbusch was able to create impressive masses of sound that moved, even at slow tempos, with an inner rhythmic life that propelled the drama forward yet also, even at fast tempos, seemed never to rush along unduly, seemed always to leave the listener time to experience everything as it went by.”
“The cast would be hard to better at any time, let alone now… Knappertsbusch’s rare sense of Wagner’s scoring, as well as his mastery of the formal architecture, are splendidly apparent.” David Cairns, The Sunday Times (London)
“[Knappertsbusch] was certainly among the greatest Wagnerian conductors of the last hundred years. Listen to his Immolation Scene with Astrid Varnay…and you hear Brunnhildeís apotheosis unfold with an unsurpassed sense of inevitability.” Robert Cowan, BBC Music Magazine
“The Knappertsbusch [set] is a very special event, at its best and its often at its best unrivalled by any of these other readings.” Alan Blyth, Gramophone
“Except for the final scene of SIEGFRIED, more exciting in 1958, this is the most urgent of Hans Knappertsbusch’s four impressive Bayreuth Rings…” C.J. Luten, Opera News
This performance was previously available in a cheap set pressed in Croatia. The present edition was carefully remastered from an original set of broadcast tapes in superb sound.