Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (excerpts); Götterdämmerung (excerpts)

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LABELS: Decca Classic Sound
WORKS: Tristan und Isolde (excerpts); Götterdämmerung (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Birgit Nilsson (soprano), Grace Hoffman (mezzo-soprano); Vienna PO/Hans Knappertsbusch
CATALOGUE NO: 452 896-2 ADD 1959/60
This disc brings together some of Decca’s earliest stereo Wagner, made just before and after the famous pioneering Solti Rheingold of 1958. Although some chunks bleed more than others – ‘Isolde’s Curse’ is a case in point – it is a fine document of both Knappertsbusch and Nilsson – who was later to record the complete role of Isolde twice, for Solti and Böhm. The Vienna Philharmonic is also revealed in all its warmth and fieriness in recordings which range from the rich (Tristan, 1959) to the sometimes raw (Götterdämmerung, 1956). Matthew Rye