Die Walküre

Carl Leonhardt
Orchester des Reichssenders Stuttgart
3 April 1938
Senderaum Stuttgart
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
SiegmundFritz Krauss
HundingJosef von Manowarda
WotanRudolf Bockelmann
SieglindeMaria Reining
BrünnhildeErna Schlüter
FrickaHelene Jung
HelmwigeTrude Eipperle
GerhildeIrma Roster
OrtlindePaula Kapper
WaltrauteCarin Carlsson
SiegruneMagda Strack
GrimgerdeElisabeth Waldenau
SchwertleitePaula Baumann
RoßweißeMartha Kuhn-Liebel

Here, in Die Walkure, is yet another example of a style of Wagner singing that is virtually lost. Basing their interpretations on an idiomatic way with the words and a tone that is truly Wagnerian yet surprisingly slim in texture, soprano and tenor sing the composer’s music as it was surely intended to be sung: freely, easily without excess of vibrato and emotion yet touching the heart of the matter. Reining is a Sieglinde in the same vein as Maria Muller, an Eva and Elsa not an incipient Brunhilde, and I’m certain that is what Wagner intended. Her reading bespeaks Sieglinde’s keen responses, radiance and infatuation as she meets her twin/lover and comes alive in his presence. It is a remarkable and unforgettable performance that I have long enjoyed on LP. Almost 55 when this broadcast took place, Krauss—a famous pre-war Lohengrin—sings with a voice that closely resembles that of the slightly younger Volker, and evinces his colleague’s eager ardour and faultless phrasing as Siegmund. His account of his long narration is nicely varied in timbre and expression. Just once or twice, as in the passage preceding ”Wintersturme”, one realizes that his voice is coming towards the end of its useful life. Leonhardt is a decent but not particularly inspiring conductor.

Von Manowarda was a Wagnerian bass who was particularly famous in Vienna, where he reportedly sang 88 roles between 1919 and his early death, aged 52, in 1942. Like his colleagues he sings ideally off the words as Hunding, and makes a properly imposing figure of the unloving husband. As ever with Preiser, we are offered no word about the history of the performances, let alone being offered texts and/or translations, a bit mean at full price. Even so, Wagnerians will certainly want the Walkure, Act 1.

Alan Blyth

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Technical Specifications
320 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 480 MiB (MP3)
About 15′ of act 2 are missing.
Broadcast production