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Der Ring Des Nibelungen: 1. Das Rheingold - Wagner - PACO039

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Der Ring Des Nibelungen: 1. Das Rheingold - Wagner - PACO039-CD
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Featuring Hans Hotter as Wotan
Full list of soloists below
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus
conducted by Clemens Krauss

Live concert recording from 1953

XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, January 2010
Cover artwork detail from painting of Rheinmaidens at the Rainbow Bridge by Arthur Rackham

Total duration: 2hr 25:15
©2010 Pristine Audio.


Stunning sonic makeover for this classic Wagner recording

First opera in Krauss' classic 1953 Bayreuth Ring cycle - among the finest ever


  • WAGNER - Das Rheingold WWV 86A [notes / score]

    Wotan - Hans Hotter
    Donner - Hermann Uhde
    Froh - Gerhard Stolze
    Loge - Erich Witte
    Alberich - Gustav Neidlinger
    Mime - Paul Kuen
    Fasolt - Ludwig Weber
    Fafner - Josef Greindl
    Fricka - Ira Malaniuk
    Freia - Bruni Falcon
    Erda - Maria von Ilosvay
    Woglinde - Erika Zimmermann
    Wellgunde - Hetty Plümacher
    Flosshilde - Gisela Litz
    Choir and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival
    conductor Clemens Krauss

Source information:

Live concert recording, Bayreuth Festival, 8th August 1953

MP3 and FLAC download information:

The continuous nature of this Wagner recording is too long for a single CD and so it has been necessary to fade the audio between tracks in order to accommodate the recordings on two audio CDs.

FLAC: 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.

MP3: Purchasers will receive two sets of files, both as Zip files within a single large Zip file:

- a single long, continuous MP3 with no breaks, together with accompanying cue sheet for track splitting
- a pair of MP3s which correspond to the two CDs, complete with individual cue sheets

Please check our help section for help with FLAC, MP3, Cue and Zip files.


Technical notes:

This recording is part of what has long been regarded as one of the key Ring cycles, certainly of the mono era, but also more generally. A review by Steve Taylor at the Wagner Discography website states: is certainly one of the great Rings. What makes it great? Firstly it has to be the cast of singers. I doubt that there has been a greater cast at Bayreuth in all the years since World War II. Astrid Varnay is nothing less than outstanding as Brünnhilde. She clearly has an intimate understanding of the role is an absolute pleasure to listen to.

Wolfgang Windgassen sings Siegfried. It is his first appearance in the role and he is heard to better advantage in other recordings. The thing that makes him special in this recording is his youthfulness. He is at his best in the first two acts of Siegfried but is also able to portray well the more mature character in Götterdämmerung. This is the performance of a major star in the making.

Towering over them both vocally as well as physically is the Wotan of Hans Hotter. He is at his prime here and it is worth buying the set for him alone. His singing in this set often astounds me. To my mind the best Wotan recorded. By the time he recorded with Solti he was past his peak. Listen to this and you will know exactly what I mean! All the other singers are equally fine. Josef Greindl (Hagen), Paul Kuen (Mime) Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich) deserve special mention. Only the Sieglinde of Regina Resnik fails to impress but this is a minor problem.

The conducting throughout is solid and Krauss gives the work the full structure which is needed. If there are any weaknesses in his reading they show up in Götterdämmerung. This was the first and only Ring which Kraus conducted at Bayreuth and he was clearly out to impress. His Parsifal of the same year was a record breaker. It was 23 minutes quicker than the previous record holder, his friend, Richard Strauss. No such haste with his reading of the Ring! It is a tragedy that he was to die the following year and we do not have any more Ring recordings by him.

However, he does go on to comment on the sound, labelling it as merely "acceptable". Meanwhile a correspondent and friend of this site wrote directly to me a short time ago:

"The Krauss 1953 Ring needs you. I think that Krauss' stock is rising, and you have already done him noble service. Now is the time for the killer edition of his Ring. Who better than you?"

I decided to investigate the possibility and started out with a few test settings for XR remastering. Quickly realising that these recordings most certainly could benefit enormously from this type of remastering I decided to bite the bullet and begin work on what we expect to become Pristine's first full Ring cycle.

The results are often astonishing - like the lifting of multiple layers of grime from an old painting to see bright colours resplendent beneath. Gone is the boxiness of previous issues, and in its place is a full and deep bass alongside a greatly extended treble, with huge impact on clarity of both voices and instruments, coupled with great dramatic impact.

Thanks to our download system we're also able to present the opera in a completely uninterrupted format both for FLAC and MP3 purchasers. The CDs are faded in such a way as to slightly overlap at the end of Scene Two and start of Scene Three, but nothing is lost here either.

This opera is of course already available - in its full cycle - on budget-priced CDs. I think when you hear the advances I've managed to make for this release you'll consider it an investment of time and effort worthy of your consideration.


Technical notes by Andrew Rose




Find out more:


CD covers to print:
(NB. Disable Page Scaling before printing)

PACO039 cover

CD-writing cuesheet (save as .cue):
(Use this to split MP3 files - see here)


Download our Full Discography
Printable text listings of all Pristine Audio historic releases
XR remastering by Andrew Rose:
Pristine Audio



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