Brünnhilde - Astrid Varnay Siegfried - Wolfgang Windgassen Hagen - Josef Greindl Alberich - Gustav Neidlinger Gunther - Hermann Uhde Gutrune - Natalie Hinsch-Gröndahl Waltraute - Ira Malaniuk Woglinde - Erika Zimmermann Wellgunde - Hetty Plümacher Floßhilde - Gisela Litz 1. Norne - Maria von Ilosvay 2. Norne - Ira Malaniuk 3. Norne - Regina Resnik
Choir and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival
conductor Clemens Krauss
Live concert recording, Bayreuth Festival, 12th August 1953
CD, MP3 and FLAC information:
CDs: Quadruple set - The Prologue and Act 1 span discs one and two, using a natural break to separate the continuous music into two halves of similar length, with brief fades of background atmosphere anding and beginning these CDs. Acts 2 and 3 fit in their entirety onto CDs 3 and 4 respectively.
FLACs: No fades have been applied to the FLAC files. If you wish to transfer FLACs to audio CD you may of course split the recording wherever you prefer from the tracks you download. If you're listening from a non-CD source replay will be continuous through each act. There is a "fade to black" between acts.
MP3: Purchasers will receive two sets of files within a single large Zip file:
- a single long, continuous MP3 with no breaks within acts, together with accompanying cue sheet for track splitting
- a set of four MP3s which correspond to the four CDs as outlined above, complete with individual cue sheets
Please check our help section for help with FLAC, MP3, Cue and Zip files. Downloads also include PDF files with printable covers and JPG files with front cover artwork, which is also embedded into individual music files.
This recording of Götterdämmerung is another astonishingly well-captured document of Krauss in Bayreuth that was just waiting to be released from the sonic straight-jacket of previous presentations. Computer analysis of the tonal response of the entire 4hr 20min recording, a crucial first step in an XR remastering, revealed a basic shortcoming in both the bass and lower midrange and at the very top of the audible range. Using the immortal Solti Decca recording of Götterdämmerung as a guide - as well as referencing the previous three Krauss Ring operas released by Pristine - I was able to re-equalise the recording to bring out these previously somewhat submerged frequencies, allowing the performance to be heard in its full glory for perhaps the first time.
As is quite usual in this kind of work, the remastering also shone a light on one or two shortcomings of the original tapes, where mild cyclical semi-dropout affected the beginning of the opera for a few minutes, and was detected later in the recording as well, again for a relatively short time. There was one other spot where the tape sounded less than totally smooth, but for the vast majority of the recording there were no such worries. Having dealt with rumble and tape hiss and applied Ambient Stereo processing I was able to sit back and enjoy the experience with minimal further intervention bar the excising of the odd cough and sneeze from the audience.
A truly memorable recording to end one of the great Ring cycles, one that can at last be heard in its full glory. As I've commented before, this Ring can of course be obtained at budget price elsewhere, but without the advances that this remastering has brought to the cycle it can only ever be a somewhat thin and murky second-best listening experience by comparison.
P.S. During the summer festival of 1953 in Bayreuth, Krauss also conducted Wagner's Parsifal. During the weeks that I've been working on the Ring I've had e-mails requesting that, upon its conclusion, I consider tackling this recording as well. I'm pleased to report that at the time of writing work is well underway on Parsifal, and we (just a little tentatively) expect to have this ready for issue quite shortly.
See also our other Ring Cycle operas at Pristine for more performer notes.
notes from Wikipedia
Josef Greindl (born 23 December 1912 in Munich - 16 April 1993 in Vienna, Austria) was a German operatic bass singer.
Josef Greindl studied at the Munich Music Academy with Paul Bender. His debut was in 1936, as Hunding in Wagner's Die Walküre in the State Theatre in Krefeld. He is remembered mainly for his performances in Wagner at Bayreuth, from 1943 onwards. He sang in Wieland Wagner's last Ring. He played the part of King Mark in the 1952 Furtwängler performance of Tristan und Isolde. This vintage recording often appears in critics list of the top 100 greatest recordings, since Kirsten Flagstad was also in the cast. He has also been described as the most credible performer of Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He sang at the Met in 1952-3. In 1973 he became a professor at the Vienna Hochschule. His daughter Gudrun Greindl Rosner is also a singer.
Josef Greindl had a voice like a gravel quarry—massive, wide, deep, rough, and ancient-sounding, grey-timbred rather than black. From the mid 1940s through the late 1960s he was one of the three or four leading performers of Wagner's and Mozart's big bass roles, possessing the size and strength for the former and the dexterity, brains, and extreme range for the latter. He frequently appeared as Fafner, Hunding, and Hagen in the same performance of the Ring Cycle, which made him the only singer in the cast who had to perform all four nights. His earliest recorded singing was at Bayreuth, as Pogner the goldsmith, a character in his fifties or sixties, in 1943 when he (Greindl) was 31 years old. Although he was not as tall as some other big basses, his stage-presence was formidable.
Although he was famous for the low bass parts, his top was very comfortable and he began experimenting with higher roles in the 1960s: Hans Sachs (at which he excelled), the Wanderer in Siegfried, the title character in Der Fliegender Hollander and even Don Alphonso in Cosi Fan Tutte which is a high lyric baritone.
He can be seen on video as Hans Sachs, Hagen (brief excerpts only, sadly), Rocco, and the Commendatore, and as Hunding in a concert performance of Act I of Die Walküre.