Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Testament

Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Testament

Article excerpt

Testament has issued another performance from the second 1955 Bayreuth Ring cycle. I reviewed the second Gotterdammerung in the Fall 2009 issue, noting that Keilberth's ensemble had solidified since the first cycle, with Martha Modl delivering one of her finest performances as the alternate Brunnhilde. Die Walkure is the latest release, with Modl again assuming Brunnhilde and Astrid Varnay now singing Sieglinde (SBT 1432, 4 CDs). This performance is, again, even more secure than its counterpart from the first cycle. Modl's performance isn't quite as impressive as the Gotterdammerung, but still above her norm for that period. Varnay is rather too weighty for the young Sieglinde. The recording seems to have a narrower soundstage, particularly on the orchestra, than the first cycle's Walkure, but Act III is free of the low-level noises I mentioned in my Fall 2007 review of that performance. This Die Walkure is also free of the phase problems I noted in the second Gotterdammerung. As filler, to the last disc, Testament has included excerpts from Keilberth's 1955 Tannhauser--the Overture and Bacchanale (a bizarre Wieland Wagner hybrid of the Dresden and Paris versions), plus two excerpts from Act III with Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau as Wolfram and Wolfgang Windgassen in the title role. …

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