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Der Ring Des Nibelungen CD


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Some Shortfalls, Naturally, But Thielemann Tips the Scale! April 14 2010
By Gregory E. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As my reviews usually run on and on, I will try to make this one very short, sort of "black and white" versus my lengthy (Wagner-like) Sturm and Drang!

1. We are in generally sad times for Wagner today, due to a really sad short fall of singers who can navigate the parts written for them, and we know this, coming to this or any new recording.

2. Further, as we all know, with the mobility today of singers, there are many places where they can go to and sing for more money than the old traditional houses can afford to pay them...there no longer exists the "loyalty" and "honor" displayed in earlier days when accomplished singers would not think of not gracing Bayreuth's "Boards" with their presence, for the good of "Art"...it was a given...Nilsson, Windgassen, Konya, Grummer, Varnay...they simply would not disappoint the masses who gathered there every summer...it was unthinkable. Thus, even Bayreuth feels the sad pinch of accomplished singers willing to appear there.

3. So, we come to this recorded document of the Ring presented in 2008 at Bayreuth, with Christian Thielemann at the helm....

The man is a true genious, certainly nobody would doubt that. He is most assuredly the brightest star on the horizon, actually he is no longer on the horizon, but is streaking upward to becoming perhaps the first great German conductor of the new millennium. Everything this man touches becomes brilliant, shining like new again, whether it be a work of Strauss or of Wagner, he seems to be a great visionary...a great renewer, and we must be thankful for that, surely.

That said, the state of the singers is not the same story. We have a certainly somewhat uneven cast here, the saddest parts being the Wotan and Brunnhilde, sort of letting the sides down on this monumental work. However, I find on repeated listening that things are really not nearly as bad as one's first impression would lead them to think....remember, we are listening to this set with thoughts/memories of Nilsson, Windgassen, London, Hotter, etc., in our minds, always in sight, and we seem to ceaselessly always compare to them. In truth, these artists represented are singing and doing their jobs under conditions far different than those singers of the recent past. Today we have UGLY productions, Nasty Designs pervade the world that they populate and inhabit on the stage, and I for one refuse to believe that this does not have an effect on what a person's interpretation of a role may be. Plus, the sheer magnitude of maneuvering through something as difficult as Wagner's great multi-part work with today's ideas or "insights" certainly do not have the coherency of past generations. Luckily, on CD we do not have to be subjected to the visuals of productions.

On an overall standpoint, I would suggest reading other reviews here and elsewhere, and if you can, perhaps, listen to pieces from this set.

It is certain that Thielemann "has it" thumbs-down with this recording...you will not hear a better conducted or more beautiful sounding Ring. The singing certainly has its shortfalls, but truthfully, over all, this is still a darned good ring and it has its place in any staunch Wagnerian's collection.

~operabruin
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Caveat Emptor June 26 2013
By J. S. Crow - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The mp3 download of all 14 discs was being offered for $5.99 - a super deal - so being a big fan of opera and Wagner, I jumped on it. Now after downloading it I am finding that some of these tracks are all mixed up and completely out of order. You can see in the list how it has Siegfried Act III tracks before Act II and so forth. And for example, when you click on the track that is titled 'Siegfried: Act III: Vorspiel' it's not that at all. Other tracks such as 'Stark ruft das Lied' and more are similarly mistitled and out of order. Gotterdammerung also has similar issues but not as bad as Siegfried.

I am not sure yet of the extent of the problem as I just discovered it while skimming and listening to excerpts so it could only be limited to this handful in Siegfried. But, I just wanted to warn that it's going to take extra work to sort this problem out and get these titles arranged correctly and change all the metatags to get them in the correct order in our digital music players. *grumble* I wonder if this is one of the reasons it's only $5.99...LOL
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
an orchestral Ring Aug. 17 2010
By Renato Baserga - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The best part of this Ring is Thielemann's conducting. Superb. Heard things that I had not heard for ages, from the times of the Keilberth and other past glories. Listen to the woodwinds and the drums how nice they sound.The singing is not up to Thielemann's level, but then Ring singing has not been great for quite a while. The last Brunhilde I liked was Gwyneth Jones. And the funny part is that with very few Wagnerian singers around,everyone wants to have a Ring. I would not be surprised if next will be the turn of Peoria,Illinois to stage a full Ring. In this Ring, Stephen Gould has a nice timbre, but he has a tendency to alternate piano and ff, that sometimes makes him sound like a dog barking. Albert Dohmen is uneven, he is especially weak as the Wanderer, much better in Die Walkure. Buy it for the orchestra, there are better Ring singers on record.
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Good stuff Nov. 25 2009
By C. Tutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Reviewing a ring cycle is always a slightly comical task because they're such immense undertakings and, forsooth, it takes a long time to soak up and analyse the great expanses - longer than almost any reviewer actually spends before reviewing; this is especially the case with new recordings.

I have several cycles, I have two Levines, which are saggy but pretty, a Boulez, a Barenboim, a Keilberth, and this. I've also heard many others.

So I'll give a basic impression for all the kids to read and take in their stride.

The first thing which struck me about this Thielemann cycle, which is recorded live (with an audience, unlike Barenboim's), was "jeez, the singing's pretty awful". I went to the old tester spots: Alberich burgles the Rhine, Donner's hammer, the flamin' rock, Siegfried meets a bird, Brünnhilde deals some scorn on the boys, and the nuclear strike at the end. The most positive thing was the conducting, which seemed to be a beautiful mix of Bayreuth bombastics and HvK's beautiful sound.

Having listened to the set much more over the past few weeks I've come to think this: The singers are generally weak and ugly (voice-wise), but they sing very beautifully in a dramatic and textual sense. I'm sure Thielemann is aware that he ain't got Hotter, Nilsson, or any other of the 1950s prime singers, but it seems that the people he HAS got have been well clued up in how to sing the Ring with gusto and meaning, despite their physical limitations. Once you get used to the different sound this cast makes as a whole, you stop hearing its shortcomings. You then begin to hear the beautiful flow of dramatic story telling and musical development which unravels over the four `evenings'.

Thielemann's conducting now sounds to me not just apt and comfortable (Barenboim's ring sounds a little pretentious to me, like a mocked-up `Furtwängler meets vintage Bayreuth Toot `n' Clash'), but also ingeniously paced and expressed (on a larger scale, rather than from second-to-second).

This is, probably at least for now, how Wagner is going to sound in Bayreuth -- not bad, just pragmatically interpreted.

Once you get used to it, this is a brilliant ring cycle, exquisitely conducted and with a high dramatic element in place of substantial voicing. I already place it alongside my Keilberth (with its screwy Rheingold) as my reference ring. I don't listen to the others much anymore; this one in effect replaces Barenboim's (being digital), which always seemed to me a little contrived and unnatural in terms of conducting - it seemed purposefully `correct'.

I think this cycle will, in the long term, grow in popularity, but it may be badly reviewed in the press. Buy it if you have the guts.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I love this Ring Nov. 13 2010
By Kinho - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been listening to this ring for about 2 months now. The more I listen, the more I love it.The conducting is first rate. I have 8 other sets. Historical to modern. As far as modern recordings go, This is the best I've heard so far.A great job was done to record this. To each his own when it comes to the Ring, but for me, this recording is most satisfying from begining to end.

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