Richard Kraus
Kölner Rundfunk-Chor
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester
31 March, 1 April 1949
Erholungshaus Leverkusen
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
AmfortasHeinrich Nillius
TiturelHelmut Fehn
GurnemanzJosef Greindl
ParsifalBernd Aldenhoff
KlingsorRobert Blasius
KundryMartha Mödl
GralsritterChristo Bajew
Günther Wilhelms

Appearing, I believe, for the first time on disc, this 1949 Köln Radio broadcast of Wagner’s last opera has a lot going for it. First and foremost, the cast is first rate. Josef Greindl may not plumb Gurnemanz’s depths with the lyric spontaneity of Ludwig Weber or Hans Hotter’s noble detailing, but he’s in fresher voice here than his Bayreuth portrayals. Bernd Aldenhoff’s ardent traversal of the title role gets better in each act. Martha Mödl, singing Kundry for the first time, partners him. She brings this complex character to three-dimensional life, from both a vocal and dramatic standpoint, be it the wildwoman in Act One or the temptress in Act Two. Robert Blasius brings out the music underneath Klingsor’s venom, and Heinrich Nillius bears Amfortas’ wounds with sonorous dignity. And the Flowermaidens, whoever they may be, are unusually vivacious and disciplined. Richard Krauss keeps a firm and fluent grip on this often-discursive score, not so much from his fast pacing as from his adherence to Wagner’s explicit instruction vis-à-vis tempo relationships. While the voices are too far forward at times, the basic sound is pretty good, resembling a well-worn but serviceable mono LP. Wagnerians with a specialist bent will surely want to check out this release. But if Mödl’s Kundry is of primary importance to you, try to find the 1951 Bayreuth Parsifal on Teldec. The booklet notes are more enthusiastic than informative, and no texts or translations are provided.

Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 4

Jed Distler

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Media Type/Label
Gebhardt, OOA, OD
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Technical Specifications
657 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 1.2 GiB (flac)
Broadcast production