WAGNER Das Rheingold Karajan DVD-VIDEO 0734390

The giants are superbly sung, with Karl Ridderbusch the most velvet-toned of Fasolts . . . Birgit Finnilä is an imposing . . . Erda . . . The orchestra is unfailingly smooth and blended . . . there are many moments of breath-taking beauty, as there are bound to be in a "Rheingold" performed at this level.

[477 7156]: The burnished brilliance of the playing, the finely-spun lines and perfectly sculpted dramatic climaxes -- and Michael Schwalbe's violin solos -- altogether shows one of the greatest Straussian teams at its peak.
[477 7157]: The "Eroica" and No. 4 are potent reminders of the power and pace, the plush string sound and stunning brass . . .
[477 7161]: Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra . . . profits from the super-sophisticated sheen which by the mid-'60s also sustains Karajan's Debussy and Ravel . . . the colours of "La Mer" and "Daphnis" are very seductive.
[477 7163]: Karajan's collection of "Opera Intermezzi" is a real pleasure: fine-spun strings, verismo drama, and space to appreciate the delicate beauty of these gems, from Verdi to Mascagni.
[477 7164]: . . . genuinely moving . . .
[477 7165]: Youthful poise meets urbane sophistication, to the benefit of both, and also of Beethoven.
[073 4386]: You can watch the long line at work in the seamless cello melody of the Third's Poco allegretto -- no 'breaths' between phrases -- while the hard-hitting First and Fourth . . . always rhythmically well define, move naturally to their craggy peak.

Peter Schreier is inspired casting as Loge . . . his voice is agile in just the fight flighty way while carrying a mischievous edge. His "Immer ist Undank Loges Lohn" has a perfect amount of craftiness about it -- here is the Ur-wheeler-dealer . . . Alberich is both literally and metaphorically in his element: his Mime, Gerhard Stolze, is no less impressive in his wheedling whining . . . No Wagnerian collector, I would suggest, should be without this . . . this is an invaluable document of a selection of significant singers.

Les Filles du Rhin, nageuses anonymes, miment comme elles peuvent le chant des excellente Rebmann, Moser et Randova . . . Le Loge de Schreier tient fort bien la rute, Kelemen est supręme . . . on est dans la cour des grands.