The conclusion of Krauss's legendary 1953 Ring cycle
A superb Götterdämmerung in excellent XR-remastered sound
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.
Technical notes by Andrew Rose
Find out more:
CD covers to print:
CD-writing cuesheet (save as .cue):
INCLUDED WITH MP3 DOWNLOAD - SEE ABOVE
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