Keilberth's magnificent stereo Flying Dutchman
Brilliant, dramatic new stereo remastering of this 1955 Bayreuth classic
Review (from 2006 reissue review):
"Keilberth's 1955 Ring has received rave reviews - can his Dutchman be as good? This enthralling performance has always been a highly recommended version. Its stereo incarnation was available only briefly on LP: when it was issued on CD by Teldec it appeared only in mono...
As with the Ring, Keilberth seemed on high in 1955; once again his reading moves with electrifying concentration from scene to scene. Keilberth had rehearsed Wolfgang Wagner's new production but Knappertsbuch conducted the first three performances (you can hear how different, more pawky his approach is from Keilberth's in various reissues, none in stereo, taken from a Bavarian Radio broadcast). Keilberth achieves a greater unanimity of approach from his players and absolutely superb singing from the chorus (trained by the remarkable Wilhelm Pitz). The orchestra, perhaps because they knew they were being recorded, play their hearts out to create a fusion of notes and rhythm that is really thrilling from start to finish.
The singers are no less inspired. Uhde gives a supreme interpretation of the tortured, yearning Dutchman, on a par with that of Hans Hotter and more evenly sung. His firm, compact, grainy tone is used with his customary artistry to convey the character's longing for salvation, total elation in the love duet, and desperation when he thinks Senta has betrayed him. Phrase after phrase etches itself in the mind in this unmissable portrayal. Incredibly Vamay, who was also Brünnhilde in 1955, brings to Senta a tireless dedication and vision to match Uhde's hero. She fines her large voice down to the more intimate needs of Senta, and only once or twice do the most taxing passages, as her final outburst, slightly strain her resources.
Ludwig Weber's earthy, experienced Daland is another rewarding interpretation. Lustig, who took over Erik from Wmdgassen, makes rather a throaty sound in the manner of earlier German Reldentenors, but he has all the notes and conveys the character's understandable frustrations. The Mary is admirable. All seem under the spell of the work and the conductor in a reading that now has the stereo sound it so richly deserves."
Alan Blyth, from The Gramophone, October 2006 (read full article here)
Notes on the recordings:
I came to transfer this recording almost by accident - I had taken delivery of a new stereo LP replay cartridge and, having fitted it to my tonearm, picked up the nearest stereo record to hand, which happened to be the first disc of the three issued by Decca in the mid-1970s which make up this recording. Having been duly astonished by the sound quality I was hearing from the LP, I decided to record a short section for comparison to the existing CD issue of the same recording, and found the Decca LPs to be far more to my liking, with much more life to them than the rather dead and flat (by comparison) 2006 CD transfer.
As a result I ended up transferring the entire opera from my near-mint pressings and set about the minimal work required to remove occasional clicks, before applying 32-bit XR remastering technology to the transfer. This served to further enhance the already fabulous sound of the LPs. Meanwhile a US correspondent and Wagner aficionado contacted me to point out that the original mono LP issue of the recording had included fanfares and theatre bells which were omitted from later releases but added wonderfully to the atmosphere of a Bayreuth Festival production. As a result these were provided by him, and have now been added to the recording as it was originally released (this first track now presented in Ambient Stereo), prior to the start of the full stereo recording.