This live Ring recording might not be as good as the Karajan, Janowski, and Krauss ring, but it's not at all a hopeless wreck.
I guess you can say that Sawallisch is half-Karajan, half-Janowski. While he does stay true to the orchestral score like Janowski, he also puts in a little Karajan-like lyricism. At some points he loses track with orchestra and singers (as does every live recording) so Bohm has more control in his live bAyreuth recording. Wrong notes in this live recording won't matter, as the entire orchestra gets everything going in all four nights at the opera. The strings never surrender to imperfection, and the winds are marvelously aligned. I just wish that some of the singers would keep up with the orchestra.
Speaking of singers, they just don't match with other essential casts. I may be biased, but Robert Hale just didn't do it for me. He sounded dull and tedious, and his "Leb Wohl, du Kuhnes herrlisches Kind" wasn't enough to astound me.
Hildegard Behrens is just like Nilsson and Crespin. While she's not the best, she is definitely another perfect Brunnhilde of choice. She's at her most dazzling when she performs Siegfried. The only problem I had with her are her low notes: too stuffy and too rough.
Honorable mentions go to Robert Schunk as Siegmund and Julia Varady for Sieglinde. They do very well here, especially Varady. They never back down to tiredness, and they (almost) never lose track of the conductor.
Rene Kollo's Siegfried was a disappointment. In Janowski's version he had no flaws whatsoever when he performed in "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung". Here he is not good enough; his tiresome "Forging Scene" is obvious evidence of that.
Ekkehard Wlaschiha is one hell of a vigorous Alberich. I praise him in Rheingold. His performance in Siegfried could've improved with more distrustfulness towards Mime and the Wanderer.
Helmut Pampuch as Mime is just like Peter Schreier and Heinz Zednik: he's very VERY good. Nuff said.
Robert Tear as Loge is on par with Gerhard Stolze and Heinz Zednik. Sometimes he takes things too low, but all is forgiven with his management of character development.
As for everyone else, they do a splendid job. The biggest problems I have with this recording are unintentionally loud noises on the theater stage. Yes, loud stomps and thuds and crashes are heard in other live recordings, also, but this one really irritated me. They were louder than most recordings. Noises aside, Sawallisch's Ring is recommendable if you're looking for live performances. And you could also try Boulez and Krauss. Neuhold I've haven't heard yet, but I heard it's also a great live one.