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Discussion: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Furtwängler

Posts: 37
Page: 1 2 3 4 next

Post by Naun July 21, 2011 (1 of 37)
Toshiba EMI, sighted on a Japanese vendor site for a September release. No link in deference to posting rules. Expensive.

Post by Joseph Ponessa July 28, 2011 (2 of 37)
Expensive looks like 27500 yen, which is a fraction of what the Esoteric Solti Ring cost. (My rule-of-thumb is to take off the last two digits from the yen to get the rough dollar price, which goes up and down of course.)
This a series of live broadcasts from the chambers of Radio Italiana (RAI) Roma which were like those in Rockefeller Center. Das Rheingold was broadcast on 26 October 1953, Die Walküre on 29 October, 3 and 6 November, Siegfried on 10, 13 and 17 November, and Götterdämmerung on 20, 24 and 27 November. The last two operas were broadcast one act per night. Radio Italiana invited an audience under the conditions that they were prompt and had no colds.
Excellent source material exists for this recording. The liner notes for the Seraphim Guide to the Ring read: "In 1959 the conductor's widow, Elisabeth Furtwängler, was presented in Rome with a set of discs of the complete Ring by the RAI management. In common with many other radio stations at that time, RAI had had the original tapes cut into discs of approximately 15 minutes duration each side by the Italian record company Cetra. The lasting properties of tape had not been proven but metal parts from the disc process were known to be usable after more than fifty years. ... The Wilhelm Furtwängler Society had been formed towards the end of 1967 and it was one of its prior aims to achieve commercial publication of the Ring. ... The record company technicians would be able to work from new vinyl pressings from the original metal parts."
I have heard the Seraphim Angel LP set complete and the Gebhardt CD set in part, and find both of them magnificent. The Abbey Road team have been doing remarkable work for Japanese EMI with the Furtwängler archives on SACD, and I look forward very much to seeing what they do with this recording, as well as with the studio Die Walküre which is crossing the Pacific en route to me at this time.

Post by jdaniel July 28, 2011 (3 of 37)
Naun said:

Toshiba EMI, sighted on a Japanese vendor site for a September release. No link in deference to posting rules. Expensive.

Just wish I liked Modl over Flagstad....

Post by Naun July 28, 2011 (4 of 37)
Have I missed something, or is Furtwängler now the most prolific SACD recording artist? I count 42 releases totalling about 60 discs. (To see a full listing on this site, you'll need to search both with and without the umlaut.)

He's achieved this distinction without the advantage of being either (a) alive, or (b) in the process of recording a complete series of Bach cantatas.

I'm hoping that the success of these reissues will lead to more historical material being issued on SACD. I'd love to see Klemperer's Beethoven recordings appear in this format, for instance.

Naun.

Post by lennyw July 29, 2011 (5 of 37)
Naun said:

He's achieved this distinction without the advantage of being either (a) alive, or (b) in the process of recording a complete series of Bach cantatas.

:-))))))

Nice thought. He's been successful on 78, LP, CD and now SACD. Talk about flogging a dead (war) horse.

It would be really interesting to have an A/B comparison of the new SACD with the EMI CD box.

Post by seth July 29, 2011 (6 of 37)
Given the price, it's hard to get excited about any of these Furtwangler SACDs.

I know other people will disagree with me, but I believe there's a threshold when recordings are just too expensive, and these Japanese SACDs have crossed them. And it's not like they're doing some kind of super special remastering that is costing EMI tons of money (at least, RCA and Sony were able to produce excellent results and sell their reissues for under $20) -- and these recordings have been in release for so many years that EMI turned a profit on them decades ago.

And my last complaint: it's topsy-turvy that these recordings are being sold for so much when new recordings, that feature equally distinguished conductors and orchestras, that have yet to turn a profit, sell for a fraction of the cost.

Post by Castor August 10, 2011 (7 of 37)
Very interesting and informative documentary on audio-restoration for SACD at the Abbey Road studios of Furtwängler's recordings.

http://youtu.be/PfA61_noOQQ

Apologies if this has already been posted.

Post by lennyw August 11, 2011 (8 of 37)
It has, but it's still interesting. Of course, it would be nice if EMI posted some high-rez FLAC pre and post examples, so one has a true idea of the improvements (youtube's SQ isn't exactly high-end).

Post by snyder December 11, 2011 (9 of 37)
I find it interesting that no one posts on sa-cd.net any review of any of the EMI-SACD-Furtwangler releases, especially there is nothing posted about the Ring on SACD. Is there any reason for that?
I know, that it is expensive but that doesn't say anything about the quality. Maybe it is worth the price?

Post by Polarius T December 11, 2011 (10 of 37)
snyder said:

I find it interesting that no one posts on sa-cd.net any review of any of the EMI-SACD-Furtwangler releases, especially there is nothing posted about the Ring on SACD. Is there any reason for that?

Everyone's busy listening to them, breathless of excitement and with no time for anything else?

At least I am, night after night.

Those Furtwaenglers are all splendidly done and of course totally captivating, but posting a review would, at least for me, be a bit of a stretch; how would you review, say, a Ring set anyway? And not just that it takes too much time off work and listening, but I also, for instance, don't have the earlier versions of it on hand (whether by EMI or Gebhardt or Pristine), so it would be difficult to say anything substantiated about the main thing (everyone knows this Ring is maybe the finest example of Furtwaengler we have on record, and that in general it's one of the undisputed great events in the 20th-century history of music performance).

But I think one can fairly confidently say these have never sounded as good and very likely will never sound any better. The remastering job is simply superb in every respect, giving a very enjoyable listening experience. If you are used to the early '50s' sound, you'll be positively impressed by just about all of these, including the live RAI Ring. And by that maybe even more than any of those other offerings.

I have a big handful of these Furtwaengler releases and, based on their excellent (that is of course comparatively speaking -- these are no modern recordings) sound quality, ordered an even bigger handful of those newer EMI Japan issues which I'm now awaiting with perhaps even greater excitement and anticipation still.

Go for it/them if you don't mind early '50s' mono sound. These have some of the very greatest music making there is on them and they won't be available forever. But the risk is that at least the RAI Ring will leave you mentally and physically hammered for weeks. It's truly phenomenonal in its intensity, inspiration, and sweep, at times sounding like all the elements have been let loose and left improvising on some terrible fundament. For which reason I'm not going to ever write a "review" of Furtwaengler... What he does can't really be spoken of so easily, and you are in any case left completely speechless and emotionally drained after listening to him.

But yes, the sonics are very fine, whatever that means or even needs to mean in this context. Surely better than ever before, even if, as can be seen from the discussions around here as well, there's no discounting the subjective factor; people prefer even the oddest things, like MP3-level sound quality over good CD reproduction, or antique tapes...

But all of it should be heard at least once, and I don't think there's going to be a better opportunity than this to really hear and appreciate what this man achieved with this music.

PT

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