WAGNER The Potted Ring (1926-32) - PABX011

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WAGNER The Potted Ring (1926-32) - PABX011

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WAGNER The Potted Ring - Volume One: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre
WAGNER The Potted Ring - Volume Two: Siegfried
WAGNER The Potted Ring - Volume Three: Götterdämmerung, Motives and Extras
Studio recordings, 1926-32

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This set contains the following albums:

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COATES, BLECH Wagner: The Potted Ring, Vol. 1 (1926-32) - PACO107

HMV's Potted Ring, Volume 1: Das Rheingold and Die Walküre

"This is a set no enquiring Wagnerian, whatever complete version of The Ring he or she owns, should be without" - Gramophone

The present release is the first of three which will bring together the 122 78 rpm sides of extended excerpts from Wagner’s tetralogy which His Master’s Voice recorded in London, Berlin and Vienna between 1926 and 1932. The scope of this project centers around the Ring albums – not every disc of music from the Ring which HMV issued during this period. It is, however, “more than complete” in that two HMV recordings which were not part of the Ring albums, but which feature some of the same performers, have been added: Coates’ Rhinegold Prelude, and Schorr’s Wotan/Fricka duet with Leisner from Act 2 of Die Walküre. The present volume gathers together excerpts from Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; the second will focus on Melchior’s Siegfried recordings; and the final one will feature scenes from Götterdämmerung, as well as an appendix featuring alternate recordings from the series and an outline of motives from the Ring cycle.

While Rheingold got rather short shrift in HMVs plans (only two discs in an album otherwise devoted to Siegfried excerpts), more attention was paid to Die Walküre. The sessions were split between a Berlin cast centering around the Brunnhilde of Frida Leider and the Wotan of Friedrich Schorr, conducted by Leo Blech, and a London cast with Walter Widdop as Siegmund and Florence Austral singing Brunnhilde, primarily led by Albert Coates. Göta Ljungberg appeared as Sieglinde in both, save for a single London side. The Act 1 excerpts were all made in London, while Act 3 was done in Berlin and the second act split between the two.

The recordings capture Leider and Schorr, both considered the finest exponents of their roles at the time (and certainly among the finest of all time), at the height of their powers. A decade later, when Kirsten Flagstad came on the international scene, she was invariably compared to Leider, and not always to the latter’s detriment. And while later singers could bring more psychological complexity to Wotan (Hans Hotter, for example), few could match the combination of legato and authoritative declamation that Schorr brings to the role.

The original recording quality is variable, coming as it does within a couple years of the introduction of electrical recording. The London sessions were distantly miked in large halls, and the singers are often overwhelmed by Coates’ surging orchestra. Some of the Berlin sides can also sound rather dim, depending on the engineering of a particular session. Multiple copies of the finest pressings on which these discs were available (prewar American Victor “Z” and “Gold” label editions) were drawn upon for the present transfer