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Marek Janowski|Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Marek Janowski

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On the surface, this Ring cycle recording -- though a bargain price -- might seem like a poor relation to those by Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, and others, or to the live recordings from the 1950s by the likes of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Clemens Kraus, and Hans Knappertsbusch. The very names constitute big guns in opera, and their respective casts are not exactly weak either. Complicating matters further is the fact that Marek Janowski's Ring was originally released by Eurodisc/Ariola, a European-based label that, while huge over there, never had the profile or prestige of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, orEMI; the fact that it's now on RCA/BMG doesn't exactly help, either, as the latter has lost a good deal of its luster as a major label since the 1980s. But the Janowski Ring also occupies its own place in history -- made over a period of just 29 months between 1980 and 1983, it was the first digitally recorded Ring, and also a true rarity as a Ring cycle recorded in almost perfect cast continuity from start-to-finish. Those technical attributes are fine to cite, of course, but the proof is in the listening, and in that regard the Janowski Ring has proof of its worth all over its 14 CDs. Janowski's conducting is both forceful and precise, keeping the pacing and the dramatic arc advancing in a way that never lags, yet he also leaves room for the work's occasional bits of ironic humor to play out to full effect -- in that regard, he is as profusely aware of the story and dramatic nuances as he is of the musical nuances, and never tries to out-guess or otherwise modify the composer's intent in either department. The cast performs impeccably as well, with Theo Adam an outstanding Wotan and Rene Kolo's lyric tenor ideal as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer's Brunnhilde has proved a tiny bit controversial in the role to some critics, for her supposed lightness, but she is among the most lyrical in the role, an approach and a quality that, if not commonly emphasized, has some validity in the results here. Jessye Norman's Sieglinde is among the finest ever recorded, and Lucia Popp (as a Rhinemaiden) Cheryl Studer (as a Valkyrie) The 14 discs all sound great -- based on the evidence here, Eurodisc got its early digital recordings in the can with a lot more success than RCA did during the early '80s. There was a tendency by most labels to under-record their early digital sides, but this recording shows nothing of that problem; indeed, the textures, ordchestral and vocal, are quite vivid and crisp, and the listening experience is as vivid in its way -- and a lot more sound dramatically -- than the much-vaunted Solti Ring, which was the first such recording ever devised specifically for its ambient sonic/musical environment. This recording, as the first captured in digital audio, is technically the Solti's effective rival. The Solti Ring's producer and guiding force, John Culshaw, used the best technology at his disposal between the late '50s and the early '60s to create a Ring that was fully the product of the recording studio, utilizing stereo separation and dimensionality and the best editing and multitrack facilities of the era to devise an enveloping sound-picture -- the Janowski Ring, produced by Oskar Waldeck, isn't quite as ambitious as that, but it has its moments of sheer, overwhelming impact in the execution. The digital recording, though relatively primitive at the time, has yielded results nearly as compelling as the Solti: sonically flawless and so quiet and close and crisp that it, too, creates an illusion of envelopment, and is all the more bracing for Janowski's forceful yet finely nuanced conducting. The other beautiful part of it is the price; this 14-CD release, as part of Sony/BMG's "Complete Collections" box set series, lists for just $80, or under $6 a disc, and that's $100 less than the remastered reduced-price Solti Ring and $150 to $200 less than those from Levine, Karajan, and others. Indeed, it's more in line with what EMI's Furtwängler live 1953 Ring from La Scala costs, but that set, like most historical Rings, has its technical problems (endemic to live recording in the early '50s) that make it more suited to the experienced listener. There is one other rival at this price level with a heavy veneer of historical importance, the 1954 Clemens Krauss live Ring from Bayreuth as issued by the Gala label, but it seems as though the entire run of the latter release on Gala had a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to oxidize after a few years, so that version is out of the running. The Janowski has none of those technical or manufacturing flaws, and offers sound quality as modern as anything on the market, and at the same price -- that all makes it not only a fully competitive choice for a Ring cycle among experienced listeners, but also the ideal "starter" version for those people just discovering the work and the music and unsure of the kind of financial commitment they want to make to owning it. On the downside, there is no libretto, just a booklet with some notes and a summary of each opera and the individual acts, but obtaining a proper full libretto today is not difficult or expensive.
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Marek Janowski

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Das Rheingold, WWV 86A (Richard Wagner)

1
Vorspiel
00:03:51

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

2
1. Szene: Weia! Waga! Woge, du Welle!
00:01:11

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

3
1. Szene: He he! Ihr Nicker!
00:01:08

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

4
1. Szene: Garstig glatter glitschriger Glimmer!
00:07:04

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

5
1. Szene: Lugt, Schwestern!
00:05:56

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

6
1. Szene: Der Welt Erbe gewänn' ich zu eigen durch dich
00:03:22

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

7
2. Szene: Wotan, Gemahl! erwache!
00:08:11

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

8
2. Szene: So schirme sie jetzt
00:01:43

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Marita Napier, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

9
2. Szene: Sanft schloss Schlaf dein Aug'
00:06:57

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Marita Napier, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

10
2. Szene: Zu mir, Freia! Meide sie, Frecher!
00:01:26

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Marita Napier, Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

11
2. Szene: Endlich Loge!
00:03:24

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

12
2. Szene: Immer ist Undank Loges Lohn!
00:00:32

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

13
2. Szene: Umsonst sucht' ich
00:03:41

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

14
2. Szene: Nicht gönn' ich das Gold dem Alben
00:05:38

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Eberhard Buchner - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

15
2. Szene: Hör', Wotan, der Harrenden Wort!
00:04:39

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Marita Napier, Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

16
2. Szene: Jetzt fand ich's! Hört was euch fehlt!
00:02:42

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

17
2. Szene: Auf, Loge! Hinab mit mir!
00:03:40

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

18
3. Szene: Hehe! Hehe!
00:03:13

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Christian Vogel, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

19
3. Szene: Nibelheim hier
00:00:42

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Christian Vogel, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

DISC 2

1
3. Szene: Wer hälfe mir!
00:04:00

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Christian Vogel, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

2
3. Szene: Nehmt euch in acht! Alberich naht!
00:02:09

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Christian Vogel, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

3
3. Szene: Was wollt ihr hier?
00:02:56

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

4
3. Szene: Die in linder Lüfte Wehn da oben ihr lebt
00:02:32

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

5
3. Szene: Wen doch fasste nicht Wunder
00:03:45

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

6
3. Szene: Riesenwurm winde sich ringelnd!
00:03:16

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

7
3. Szene: Nun schnell hinauf: dort ist er unser
00:03:22

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

8
4. Szene: Da, Vetter, sitze du fest!
00:03:19

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

9
4. Szene: Wohlan, die Nibelungen rief ich mir nah
00:02:09

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

10
4. Szene: Gezahlt hab ich: nun lasst mich ziehn!
00:05:37

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

11
4. Szene: Bin ich nun frei?
00:04:51

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Siegmund Nimsgern, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

12
4. Szene: Fasolt und Fafner nahen von fern
00:02:05

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

13
4. Szene: Halt! Nicht sie berührt!
00:03:21

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

14
4. Szene: Nicht so leicht und locker gefügt!
00:01:56

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

15
4. Szene: Freia, die Schöne, schau ich nicht mehr
00:02:46

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Marita Napier, Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

16
4. Szene: Weiche, Wotan, weiche!
00:05:59

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Ortrun Wenkel, Contralto - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

17
4. Szene: Hört, ihr Riesen!
00:01:50

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Marita Napier, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

18
4. Szene: Halt, du Gieriger! Gönne mir auch was!
00:02:11

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Roland Bracht - Matti Salminen - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

19
4. Szene: Was gleicht, Wotan, wohl deinem Glücke?
00:01:56

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

20
4. Szene: Schwüles Gedünst schwebt in der Luft
00:02:52

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Karl-Heinz Stryczek - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

21
4. Szene: Zur Burg führt die Brücke
00:03:58

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Eberhard Buchner, Tenor - Yvonne Minton, Mezzo-Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

22
4. Szene: Ihrem Ende eilen sie zu
00:00:33

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

23
4. Szene: Rheingold! Rheingold! Reines Gold!
00:03:18

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Lucia Popp, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer - Theo Adam, Bass Baritone - Peter Schreier, Tenor - Uta Priew, Mezzo-Soprano - Hanna Schwarz, Contralto

(P)1980 BMG Entertainment

DISC 3

Die Walküre, WWV 86B (Richard Wagner)

1
1. Aufzug: Vorspiel
00:03:16

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

2
1. Aufzug: 1. Szene: Wes Herd dies auch sei, hier muss ich rasten
00:13:14

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Jessye Norman, Soprano - Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

3
1. Aufzug: 2. Szene: Müd am Herd fand ich den Mann
00:05:00

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Jessye Norman, Soprano - Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor - Kurt Moll - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

4
1. Aufzug: 2. Szene: Friedmund darf ich nicht heissen
00:10:19

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Jessye Norman, Soprano - Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor - Kurt Moll - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

5
1. Aufzug: 2. Szene: Ich weiss ein wildes Geschlecht
00:05:49

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Kurt Moll - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

6
1. Aufzug: 3. Szene: Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater
00:06:19

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

7
1. Aufzug: 3. Szene: Schläfst du, Gast?
00:01:03

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Jessye Norman, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

8
1. Aufzug: 3. Szene: Der Männer Sippe sass hier im Saal
00:05:33

Marek Janowski, Conductor, Main Artist, Conductor - Oskar Waldeck, Producer - Richard Wagner, Composer, Lyricist - Gerald Junge, Recording Engineer - Manfred Melchior, Engineer - Hans Jürgen Oehlke, Engineer - Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor - Jessye Norman, Soprano - Staatskapelle Dresden, Associated Performer

(P) 1981 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

Album Description

On the surface, this Ring cycle recording -- though a bargain price -- might seem like a poor relation to those by Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, and others, or to the live recordings from the 1950s by the likes of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Clemens Kraus, and Hans Knappertsbusch. The very names constitute big guns in opera, and their respective casts are not exactly weak either. Complicating matters further is the fact that Marek Janowski's Ring was originally released by Eurodisc/Ariola, a European-based label that, while huge over there, never had the profile or prestige of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, orEMI; the fact that it's now on RCA/BMG doesn't exactly help, either, as the latter has lost a good deal of its luster as a major label since the 1980s. But the Janowski Ring also occupies its own place in history -- made over a period of just 29 months between 1980 and 1983, it was the first digitally recorded Ring, and also a true rarity as a Ring cycle recorded in almost perfect cast continuity from start-to-finish. Those technical attributes are fine to cite, of course, but the proof is in the listening, and in that regard the Janowski Ring has proof of its worth all over its 14 CDs. Janowski's conducting is both forceful and precise, keeping the pacing and the dramatic arc advancing in a way that never lags, yet he also leaves room for the work's occasional bits of ironic humor to play out to full effect -- in that regard, he is as profusely aware of the story and dramatic nuances as he is of the musical nuances, and never tries to out-guess or otherwise modify the composer's intent in either department. The cast performs impeccably as well, with Theo Adam an outstanding Wotan and Rene Kolo's lyric tenor ideal as Siegfried. Jeannine Altmeyer's Brunnhilde has proved a tiny bit controversial in the role to some critics, for her supposed lightness, but she is among the most lyrical in the role, an approach and a quality that, if not commonly emphasized, has some validity in the results here. Jessye Norman's Sieglinde is among the finest ever recorded, and Lucia Popp (as a Rhinemaiden) Cheryl Studer (as a Valkyrie) The 14 discs all sound great -- based on the evidence here, Eurodisc got its early digital recordings in the can with a lot more success than RCA did during the early '80s. There was a tendency by most labels to under-record their early digital sides, but this recording shows nothing of that problem; indeed, the textures, ordchestral and vocal, are quite vivid and crisp, and the listening experience is as vivid in its way -- and a lot more sound dramatically -- than the much-vaunted Solti Ring, which was the first such recording ever devised specifically for its ambient sonic/musical environment. This recording, as the first captured in digital audio, is technically the Solti's effective rival. The Solti Ring's producer and guiding force, John Culshaw, used the best technology at his disposal between the late '50s and the early '60s to create a Ring that was fully the product of the recording studio, utilizing stereo separation and dimensionality and the best editing and multitrack facilities of the era to devise an enveloping sound-picture -- the Janowski Ring, produced by Oskar Waldeck, isn't quite as ambitious as that, but it has its moments of sheer, overwhelming impact in the execution. The digital recording, though relatively primitive at the time, has yielded results nearly as compelling as the Solti: sonically flawless and so quiet and close and crisp that it, too, creates an illusion of envelopment, and is all the more bracing for Janowski's forceful yet finely nuanced conducting. The other beautiful part of it is the price; this 14-CD release, as part of Sony/BMG's "Complete Collections" box set series, lists for just $80, or under $6 a disc, and that's $100 less than the remastered reduced-price Solti Ring and $150 to $200 less than those from Levine, Karajan, and others. Indeed, it's more in line with what EMI's Furtwängler live 1953 Ring from La Scala costs, but that set, like most historical Rings, has its technical problems (endemic to live recording in the early '50s) that make it more suited to the experienced listener. There is one other rival at this price level with a heavy veneer of historical importance, the 1954 Clemens Krauss live Ring from Bayreuth as issued by the Gala label, but it seems as though the entire run of the latter release on Gala had a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to oxidize after a few years, so that version is out of the running. The Janowski has none of those technical or manufacturing flaws, and offers sound quality as modern as anything on the market, and at the same price -- that all makes it not only a fully competitive choice for a Ring cycle among experienced listeners, but also the ideal "starter" version for those people just discovering the work and the music and unsure of the kind of financial commitment they want to make to owning it. On the downside, there is no libretto, just a booklet with some notes and a summary of each opera and the individual acts, but obtaining a proper full libretto today is not difficult or expensive.
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