- Audio CD (Oct 28 1997)
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Compilation, Import
- Label: Universal Music Group
- ASIN: B0000042H7
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
|1. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug: Vorspiel|
|2. Siegfried: Erste Szene: Zwangvolle Plage! Mueh ohne Zweck! (Mime)|
|3. Siegfried: Hoiho! Hoiho! Hau ein! Hau ein! (Siegfried)|
|4. Siegfried: Da hast du die Stuecken, schaendlicher Stuemper (Siegfried)|
|5. Siegfried: Als zullendes Kind zog ich dich auf (Mime)|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
|1. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug - Dritte Szene: Bist du es, Kind? (Mime)|
|2. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug - Dritte Szene: Fuehltest du nie im finstren Wald (Mime)|
|3. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug - Dritte Szene: Her mit den Stuecken, fort mit dem Stumper! (Siegfried)|
|4. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug - Dritte Szene: Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert! (Siegfried)|
|5. Siegfried: Erster Aufzug - Dritte Szene: Hoho! Hoho! Hahei! (Siegfried)|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
|1. Siegfried: Zweiter Aufzug - Zweite Szene: Aber wie sah meine Mutter wohl aus? (Siegfried)|
|2. Siegfried: Meine Mutter, ein Menschenweib! (Siegfried)|
|3. Siegfried: Haha! Da hätte mein Lied mir was Liebes erblasen! (Siegfried)|
|4. Siegfried: Wer bist du, kühner Knabe, der das Herz mir traf? (Fafner)|
|5. Siegfried: Zur Kunde taugt kein Toter (Siegfried)|
See all 12 tracks on this disc
|1. Siegfried: Dritter Aufzug - Erste Szene: Dir Unweisen ruf' ich ins Ohr (Wanderer)|
|2. Siegfried: Zweite Szene: Mein Vöglein schwebte mir fort! (Siegfried)|
|3. Siegfried: Wohin, Knabe, Heisst dich dein Weg? (Wanderer)|
|4. Siegfried: Kenntest du mich, kühner Spross (Wanderer)|
|5. Siegfried: Mit zerfochtner Waffe wich mir der Feige (Siegfried)|
See all 11 tracks on this disc
The #2 on the scale, "Siegfried" is (I believe) one of the most consistant Wagner recordings ever made. There is a superlative cast, an exciting conductor, and a production team that was in the midst of a huge momentum of pushing the envelope in audio recordings.
The recording problems are now legendary, with Ernst Kozub being the original Siegfried (Windgassen was thought to be too far past his prime to be ideal), but with Kozub not being prepared, Windgassen literally stepped in at the last minute to give a commanding performance.
Windgassen was certainly no Melchior, but he was intelligent and hardworking, got along well with everyone, and the only tenor of his generation to sing all the major Wagner roles year after year. The voice is not heroic, or youthful, but Windgassen brought sensitivity and experience to the studio and created a believable three dimensional character which remains one of the best to date.
The great Hans Hotter gives a commanding performance as the Wanderer. This recording has oft been critisized for Hotter developing a wobble above the staff, but when you consider the variableness of his performances due to respiratory ailments, he is in wonderful voice (he also recorded the famous Bayreuth Parsifal and a highly acclaimed Winterreise that year). For my poor ears, Hotter stands head and shoulders above all others, his sonorous voice conveying an ethereal presence, ancient and world weary, full of vast knowledge and experience.
Gerhard Stolze has the ideal voice for the part....acidic, venomous and tremendously expressive. Unfortunately his excessive histrionics, especially in Act 2 are mar what could have been an ideal performance.
Nilsson is at her peak here. She was ill during the final scene, but sang with steely determination (a bit too steely) but with the famous lightning high notes and lovely pianissimos. She never had the velvety warmth of Flagstad, but her hugely commandinding presence is one that hasn't been seen since her retirement.
All the smaller roles Marga Höffgen as Erda, Neidlinger as Alberich and Dame Joan Sutherland complete a glorious cast of a long lost Golden Age of Wagner.
On the podium is the controversial Solti in what is one of his finest moments on record. He drives the Vienna Philharmonic to a frenzy with hair-raising results, especially for the sword forging, and Act 3 when Siegfried climbs Brünnhilde's Rock, and yet coaxes them to the most exquiset serene beauty (Forest Murmurs and just before Siegfried wakens Brünnhilde).
Siegfried is my favorite Wagner opera, and this glorious recording is the reason. Near perfection!
Solti's entire 'Ring' is magnificant and 'Siegfried' is just miraculous. The casting from top to bottom is stellar. Windgassen and Nilsson, of course, give knock out performances, but Stolze is an excellent Mime and Hotter gives a wonderful reading of Der Wanderer. An added bonus - Joan Sutherland, in glorious voice, as the Woodbird. Of course, the Vienna Philharmonic is also an equal star of this set, and Solti does a wonderful job. There are many Solti bashers out there, but his 'Ring' is the only one to show up on every single critics "Best Ring" recordings list.
What I love so much about 'Siegfried' is that all the themes of 'The Ring' are present, each act ends with a triumphant event - happy endings and Wagner are a rarity. You also have excellent music and the most glorious love duet in all of opera, IMHO. They all shine on this set.
There's only two I have that come close - Bohm and Goodall. The issue I have with Bohm is his Mime who screams more than sings. Bohm also has Windgassen and Nilsson at the helm. Goodall, on the other hand, has a truly incredible Siegfried, an excellent cast, and an exceptional orchestra. Some will shy away from this set because it is in English, and that is a shame. Why I rank Solti over Goodall, is Goodall moves through the piece at a much slower pace, which reveals hidden treasures in the score, but somewhat soothes over the energy, IMHO.
Karajan's reading is not in my top 10, simply for the fact that Mime outsings Siegfried and that is bad.
This really is the most magnificant recording of 'Siegfried,' you won't be disappoint.
However - I cannot recommend buy any of Solti's 'Ring' operas individually, as his Gotterdammerung is simply unchallanged. For the price of buying both separately you can almost get the whole cycle, and it's worth it.
Wolfgang Windgassen is past his prime as Siegfried and isn't quite heroic enough for Siegfried, but that matters far less on record than it would in the theater, and he gives an inspired interpretation of the part. He was THE Siegfried of the 50's and early 60's. Stolze's Mime is controversial because of his rather ugly voice, but it provides a sharp contrast with Windgassen and his interpretation of the role is unsurpassed. He is even better, though, on the Karajan DG set, where his Mime is not so caricatured and is more direct. Hotter is in gorgeous voice and sings Wotan with a majesty and dignity that has disappeared in recent times. Neidlinger, as always, is a magnificent Alberich. Böhme is a good Fafner, Höffgen as Erda is a huge improvement over Madeira (who sings the same role in "Rheingold"), and Sutherland's Woodbird (luxury casting at the extreme!) is predictably excellent. Nilsson throws off some thrilling high C's, but I personally prefer Brünnhilde to have a warmer, more lyrical voice, like Helga Dernesch's singing for Karajan. I think Karajan's recording (DG Originals 457 790-2) is the best there is, and at mid price is a real bargain. Overall, though, this Solti is an excellent recording and well worth getting (though Decca should find a way of reducing the price).