WORKS: Siegfried (excerpts; Gotterdämmerung (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Helen Traubel, Lauritz MelchiorNBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini
CATALOGUE NO: GD60304 AAD mono
This recording is something very special. Toscanini directed the first Italian company performance of Gdtterdämmerung in 1895, and in 1930 he became the first non-German to conduct at Bayreuth.
With the sole exception of Forest Murmurs, all the performances here were recorded in 1941, the first Gotterdämmerung segment having been caught live from an NBC broadcast. Their merits are many. Speeds, while never slack, are not absurdly brisk; and there is a tender lightness to the phrasing light years away from the traditionally Germanic. Neither of the singers is outstanding, and the orchestral playing is hampered by the dim recording. But the sheer quality of the conducting carries everything before it. A must! Simon Cargill