Gergiev:  Wagner - Die Walkure (4 CD, FLAC)
Gergiev: Wagner – Die Walkure (4 CD, FLAC)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 4 CD box set
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Mariinsky
Size: 874 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

Sieglinde – Anja Kampe
Siegmund – Jonas Kaufmann
Wotan – René Pape
Brünnhilde – Nina Stemme
Hunding – Mikhail Petrenko
Fricka – Ekaterina Gubanova

Mariinsky Orchestra
Valery Gergiev

CD 01
01. Act I i. Vorspiel und Erste Szene
02. Act I ii. Wes’ Herd diess auch sei
03. Act I iii. Einen Unseligen labtest du
04. Act I iv. Zweite Szene: Mud’ am Herd
05. Act I v. Friedmund darf ich nict heissen
06. Act I vi. Die so leidig Los dir beschied
07. Act I vii. Ich weiss ein wildes Geschlecht
08. Act I viii. Dritte Szene: Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater
09. Act I ix. Schlafst du, Gast?
10. Act I x. Wintersturme wichen dem Wonnemond
11. Act I xi. Du bist der Lenz
12. Act I xii. O susseste Wonne!
13. Act I xiii. Siegmund heiss’ ich

CD 02
01. Act II i. Vorspiel und Erste Szene – Nun zaume dein Ross
02. Act II ii. Hojotoho!
03. Act II iii. Der alte Sturm, die alte Muh’!
04. Act II iv. Heut’ – hast du’s erlebt!
05. Act II v. Nichts lerntest du
06. Act II vi. Was verlangst du?
07. Act II vii. Deiner ew’gen Gattin heilige Ehre
08. Act II viii. Zweite Szene: Schlimm, furcht ich
09. Act II ix. Ein Andres ist’s: achte es wohl
10. Act II x. So nimmst du von Siegmund den Sieg?
11. Act II xi. So nimm meinen Segen, Niblungen-Sohn!

CD 03
1. Act II xii. Schwer wiegt mir der Waffen Wucht!
2. Act II xiii. Dritte Szene: Raste nun hier, gonne dir Ruh’!
3. Act II xiv. Wo bist du, Siegmund?
4. Act II xv. Vierte Szene: Siegmund! Sieh auf mich!
5. Act II xvi. Du sahst der Walkure sehrenden Blick
6. Act II xvii. So jung un schon erschimmerst du mir
7. Act II xviii. Funfte Szene: Zauberfest bezahmt ein Schlaf
8. Act II xix. Der dort mich ruft
9. Act II xx. Zu Ross! dass ich dich rette!

CD 04
1. Act III i. Vorspiel und Erste Szene: Hojotoho! Hojotoho!
2. Act III ii. Zu Ortlinde’s Stute stell’ deinen Hengst
3. Act III iii. Schutzt mich, und helft in hochster Not!
4. Act III iv. Nicht sehre dich Sorge um mich
5. Act III v. Zweite Szene: Wo ist Brunnhild’
6. Act III vi. Hier bin ich, Vater
7. Act III vii. Dritte Szene: War es so schmahlich
8. Act III viii. So tatest du, was so gern zu tun ich begehrt
9. Act III ix. Nicht streb’, o Maid
10. Act III x. Leb’ wohl, du kuhnes, herrliches Kind!
11. Act III xi. Der Augen leuchtendes Paar
12. Act III xii. Loge, hor’! Lausche hieher!

The Mariinsky label presents it’s most ambitious project to date – the first release in a complete cycle of Richard Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Recorded in the sumptuous acoustic of the Mariinsky Concert Hall, the cycle will feature a sensational cast, helping create the most finely crafted Ring cycle of modern times. Die Walkure, the first installment, was recorded during sessions and performances in 2011 and 2012 and stars Anja Kampe, Jonas Kaufmann, Rene Pape, Nina Stemme, Mikhail Petrenko and Ekaterina Gubanova. It will be followed in September 2013 by Das Rheingold, with Siegfried and Gotterdommerung completing the cycle in 2014. The Mariinsky Theatre has close connections with Wagner and his music, since the composer conducted at the theatre and was even offered the post of Music Director. It is also believed to be the first place where any of the music from the Ring was performed.

”Valery Gergiev’s recording with a superb cast and the Mariinsky Orchestra… conveys the depth, breadth and weightiness of this masterpiece.” –The New York Times

”This new version is a worthy addition, thanks to the rapturous sweep that conductor Valery Gergiev achieves with the orchestra and to the deluxe cast, headed by today’s reigning Bruennhilde, Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.” –The Washington Post

”Essential listening no matter how many other Valkyries ride over your CD shelves…” –Bay Area Reporter

A Breathtaking Walkure!! You’ll be amazed!!

This is a unique recording, not at all like Levine’s or Solti’s entries, with crescendos blazing across the room where one listens. It is more along the lines of Haitink’s EMI Ring of the early 90s. Every note played with such delicacy, such care, that it seems too prepared at first, but then the opera takes hold of Giergev, posseses him and his genius meets the Wagnerian challenges.

The cast is superb, especially Stemme’s Brunnhilde, Kaufmann’s Siegmund, and Pape’s Wotan. Great praise for Ekaterina Gubanova’s Fricka, moving, plaintive, sorrow-ridden, exquisite.

Nina Stemme’s full bodied notes are a relief after the Voight voice which cuts and cuts the notes off with determination, to accomodate her own worn out instrument. Kaufmann’s voice is immaculate in every way; he is one of the great Wagnerians of this age. Pape’s Wotan takes getting used to, because he does not shout it out all over the world. His interpretation is the Italian influence Wagner tried for in all of his operas but never really achieved. Bellini was Wagner’s favorite, even over Mozart. But Wagner is far away from the mysteries of Norma or Beatrice Di Tenda. Rene Pape,however,is not far from those Italian masterpieces; he understands with breathtaking musical wisdom the value of the smallest bar of music, like Bellini. Nothing is casual, and Pape lets his voice flow over the notes with millions of feelings and vocal colors that place him as one of the best Wotans ever.

Giergiev needs to stop humming along with the singers, a real distarction when listening with earphones. I thought the days of Coiln Davis’ huming along recordings were over. They are not over.

All has not been said, but buy this set and listen for the soft violins, cellos, and French horns. Feel the heat and yet glory in the carefully phrased Walkure declamations of Nina Stemme, and her pleas with her father..so intimate, so right.

One magnificent thrill after another here!

Really, It’s Great

What’s with all this various carping by other reviewers about Gergiev’s conducting here? I think he’s fine, even great. Here’s my take: With this opera Wagner departs from the purely dramatic nature of Das Rheingold and suddenly jumps into psychological and spiritual probing. Therefore, it’s time to tone things down a bit–even a lot–in order to suit the nature of the narrative. And let’s not forget that he has Kaufmann and Pape to carry things along; in short, he doesn’t have to hurry things up, or interject pizzazz, to make up for a lack of great communication from his Siegmund and Wotan. Plus, you will note that in each act the writing is for the lower registers of the singers at the beginning, building slowly to climaxes later in the higher registers. So you want your conducting to agree with that. And, by the way, Gergiev blazes in the climaxes, an effect enhanced by the fact he has been playing it close the vest earlier.

You couldn’t ask for a finer Siegmund than Kaufmann’s, nor a finer Wotan than Pape’s–what’s with all the complaining about a lack of great Wagnerians these days? I like Kampe as Sieglinde quite a bit, especially in climaxes, and Stemme is fine as Bruenhilde, though she never really lights my fire (with apologies to Loge). The various Valkyries are excellent. Sonically, the balances within the orchestra and between orchestra and singers are superb–a real aural treat. And the recording, overall, is sonically excellent (hooray!). The Mariinsky Orchestra plays magnificently to boot. I can’t think of a reason why you should not purchase this recording, really. I don’t think it’s going to be equaled, much less outdone, in our lifetime.

Wagnerian Bel Canto with erratic conducting

I have to concur with the other assessments of Gergiev’s conducting. The tempi are very similar to Furtwaengler’s but without his depth, structural grasp, rhythmic flexibility and intense drama. It most reminded me of Solti’s in the Culshaw Ring which was by far his weakest effort in that cycle. And yet there is more life in it than Levine’s Fliegende Hollaender, a set with an all-star cast let down by DOA conducting. The orchestra (as with Levine) plays beautifully with ample detail.
There is enough here to recommend it because of the stellar cast. Kampe is not quite the possessed, impassioned Sieglinde heard on earlier recordings from the likes of Lotte Lehmann, Leonie Rysanek or Regine Crespin but her singing is lovely. Stemme is a fine Brunnhilde, maybe even a degree warmer than Nilsson, and Kaufmann and Pape give singing lessons as Siegmund and Wotan, respectively, while fully inhabiting their characters. Pape does find the high Es and Fs a challenge but then so did the later career Friedrich Schorr, and Pape’s singing is on that level. So this set does generate drama. I was moved in all three acts, and Pape’s sensitively phrased and legato Farewell wiped me out.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. A quick sampling of Act One confirms this to be impressive.

  2. Gracias, muchas gracias. De los contemporáneos, Gergiev es mi director favorito. ¿Cómo puedo grabar estos discos SACD? Nuevamente gracias. (Thank you, thank you very much. Among the contemporaries, Gergiev is my favorite director. How can I record these SACD discs? Again, thanks. Sorry I don´t speak english.)

  3. Thank you, Whatever! I am very curious about Gergiev’s Wagner, cannot wait!

  4. Thank You. Ae you going to post it in SACD 24/96 ? It would be great!

Leave a Reply