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The Keilberth Ring Cycle

Joseph Keilberth (14-CD set at a special price)

The Complete Ring Cycle
Hans Hotter, Astrid Varnay, Wolfgang Windgassen,
Gré Brouwenstijn, Hermann Uhde, Ramón Vinay,
Josef Greindl, Josef Traxel, Rudolf Lustig, Gustav Neidlinger,
Ludwig Weber, Paul Kuen, Georgine von Milinkovic,
Maria von Ilosvay, Toni Blankenheim, Hertha Wilfert,
Jutta Vulpius, Elisabeth Schärtel, Gerda Lammers, Mina Bolotine,
Jean Watson
Chor & Orchester der Bayreuther Festpiele
Joseph Keilberth


Joseph Keilberth (2-CD set)

WAGNER Das Rheingold
Hans Hotter, Georgine von Milinkovic, Rudolf Lustig,
Gustav Neidlinger, Paul Kuen, Toni Blankenheim, Josef Traxel,
Hertha Wilfert, Maria von Ilosvay, Ludwig Weber,
Josef Greindl, Jutta Vulpius, Elisabeth Schärtel, Maria Graf
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Joseph Keilberth


Joseph Keilberth (4-CD set)

Die Walküre
Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, Hans Hotter, Ramòn Vinay, Josef Greindl, Georgine von Milinkovic
Overture; Venusberg Bacchanal (Act I); Wolfram’s Ballad & Duet (Act III)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Wolfgang Windgassen
Orchester und Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele
Joseph Keilberth
Recorded: Festspielhaus Bayreuth 1955


Joseph Keilberth (4-CD set)

WAGNER Götterdämmerung
Astrid Varnay, Wolfgang Windgassen, Hermann Uhde,
Maria von Ilosvay, Gustav Neidlinger, Josef Greindl,
Gré Brouwenstijn, Jutta Vulpius, Elisabeth Schärtel, Maria Graf,
Maria von Ilosvay, Georgine von Milinkovic, Mina Bolotine
Chor & Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Joseph Keilberth


Joseph Keilberth (4-CD set)

The First Stereo Ring Cycle previously unpublished DIE WALKÜRE SBT4 1391 (4 CDs)

Sunday Times CD of the week. A must have acquisition for all serious Wagnerians. Keilberth occasionally lingers lovingly over the erotically charged music. He can whip up storms however in the preludes to each act, with playing of cosmic depth and brilliance from the Bayreuth Orchestra, wonderfully captured in Decca’s early sounds. The closing scene is simply glorious.

Gramophone The second instalment in what is proving to be the definitive ‘Ring’. Hans Hotter, as Wotan dominates this utterly absorbing account of Walküre. As ever his sonorous, wide-ranging voice is matched by his verbal acuity, text and tone in ideal accord. We are here in the highest realm of Wagnerian interpretation. I can’t wait for the first and last parts of the cycle to appear.

International Record Review Ramón Vinay gives his voice an heroic and tragic dimension which he exploits with immediate skill. Wotan, alias Hans Hotter, appears in all his majesty, authority, grandeur, the definitive interpreter of the most complex of all operatic roles. Here he is in marvellous voice throughout the enormous part. Astrid Varnay stupendous and tireless. People may at last recognise that Varnay is the equal of any Brünnhilde there has ever been. Can there ever be another performance mercifully caught in sound that does Die Walküre the fullest justice, that conveys Wagner’s vision so completely as this one?

The Sunday Telegraph Review June 11th 2006. This is the second instalment of the 1955 first stereo Bayreuth Ring of which we were deprived for 50 years by John Culshaw’s politicising. Suffice it to say that those of you who bought the Siegfried need only know that the wonderful standard of performance and recording there is maintained here. Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung follow later this year. It is hard to think of any rival to it as the finest ‘Ring’ on disc. Joseph Keilberth’s conducting alone is enough to ensure that status, with orchestral playing of miraculous expressiveness and tone-colour. Astrid Varnay is again gleaming Brünnhilde, her high notes flying like arrows to their target. As wotan, Hans Hotter is caught in his peerless prime in this role, with no trace of strain. His singing of the Farewell is noble and overpoweringly emotional. The Siegmund and Sieglinde are Ramón Vinay and Gré Brouwenstijn, the former’s baritonal timbre a distinct advantage and the latter’s tenderness melting lovingly. Josef Greindl is a fearsome Hunding and Georgine von Milinkovic an impressive Fricka. For any one of these performances it would be worth acquiring this set. For all of them – well, just rush out and buy it. Michael Kennedy


Joseph Keilberth (4-CD set)

The First Stereo Ring Cycle previously unpublished SIEGFRIED · SBT4 1392 (4 CDs)

Gramophone At the time Keilberth never seemed to receive his due – his command of every aspect of this vast score is unerring in balance, detail and overall Schwung. No opera house or recording has since rivalled the cast assembled here, not even the Decca set, by which time Hotter, Windgassen and Neidlinger were all some ten years older. In 1955 all three are at the peak of their form. Don’t take my word for it: buy the discs and experience Wagner as he was supremely performed in those special days.
Opera The performance is overall an ear-opening vindication of Keilberth. The Testament is essentially a great performance astoundingly well recorded and presented.

International Record Review This amazing performance comes across in all its power because there are no sonic limitations. I’m sure this recording is destined for classic status.

BBC Music Magazine This Siegfried sounds perpetually alive and committed in a way that often eludes studio recordings.

The Independent Magnificent is the only word for it. This is teamwork on an exalted scale. Keilberth was the first among equals in Wagner.

Financial Times The Bayreuth/Decca tapes have awoken from their slumber. A vintage cast is led by Astrid Varnay, Wolfgang Windgassen and Hans Hotter. I can barely wait for the other three Ring operas from this source.

Sunday Telegraph Remastered by Testament, the sound can only be described as sensational, with orchestral playing of supreme quality under the inspired conducting of Joseph Keilberth. I am not exaggerating: there are parts of this score as you perhaps dreamed you might hear them. Wagnerians have to experience this set.
Daily Mail Wolfgang Windgassen is the last truly compelling Siegfried. The real discovery is Keilberth. His fleet-footed yet powerful account of Siegfried reveals what a first class Wagnerian he was.

The Times The revelations are the remarkable early stereo sound quality and Keilberth’s elemental conducting. This Siegfried has an inexorable sweep that will take your breath away. The singing too is of a kind that you just don’t hear today. The classical-record event of the year. Five stars.

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